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Mortgage-backed securities task force? That’s so 2005.

There is an abundance of mortgage-backed securities related litigation in the financial services industry. In the e-discovery world, some are responding with task forces, committees and research.

At DiscoverReady, this expertise is already part of our DNA.  Since 2005, our financial services practice group has tracked metrics on regulatory and litigation matters, helping clients manage expectations in terms of volume of documents collected, processed, review and produced, as well as timelines for those projects.  We have collected client-specific rosters of repeat custodians, including roles, typical correspondents and interesting conversations on key dates for those custodians.

When I arrived here in June of 2008, the financial services industry was reeling from the February lockup of the auction rate securities (“ARS”) market.  That summer, the DiscoverReady team assisted numerous clients with responses to requests from regulators – ranging from state attorneys general to the SEC – arising out of the stalled ARS market.

The chaos of that summer – and our invaluable experience helping clients through it – led us to establish the financial services practice group. Since then, this battle-tested group has provided leadership and insight to our clients and their counsel. Our process for researching embattled financial products and creating a resource database is a unique and unmatched resource for our clients. In fact, our approach has quickly become a common practice in the industry.

Starting with the ARS matters, we have trained an army of reviewers to protect our clients against the intense scrutiny that comes with the territory.  This corps of reviewers is a critical piece to the financial services practice group.  (In the New York office, 90% of reviewers on current projects have been with us for 18 months or more.)  Our reviewers are educated on the environment in which the products at issue were born, and the players who put them together.

This constant, ongoing work on complex financial services matters gives our reviewers an important advantage. Each review we handle adds to our institutional and individual knowledge, making us that much more prepared for the next one.

Our proprietary set of tools helps jumpstart the process.  We have created templates explaining the genesis of myriad products, giving reviewers the knowledge base to review documents for the project at hand as well as other regulatory sensitivities and litigation exposure.

Today, the news is rife with reports of litigation brought by the government and private litigants related to residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”).  Many of our competitors have announced task forces to address clients’ needs in responding to these requests.  We are not launching a new service offering at DiscoverReady – we’ve been doing this for years.  DiscoverReady brought to market the idea that document review companies could add greater value for clients through subject-matter expertise. Nowhere is that premise more proven than in our financial services group.  So, while task forces are formed and meetings scheduled, we are busy helping clients navigate these complex and high-stakes matters.  Just like we have been doing for years… 

Maureen O'Neill