In 2004, a technology firm in southeast Michigan that was working mostly with corporate clients took on a job for an attorney that ended up changing the company’s focus entirely.
“I had the opportunity to work for a law firm recovering data off of a backup tape,” said Mark St. Peter, managing director and CEO of Computing Source. “My work became pivotal to these attorneys.”
St. Peter said he realized legal firms were seeing their traditional paper-driven industry drastically evolve to a digital-driven one, and many of the attorneys did not have the technology skills necessary to assist their clients in this new realm.
“We started offering assistance to lawyers who needed help with the technology aspects of lawsuits,” St. Peter said.
The firm took off as a result.
The first growth surge occurred between 2004 and 2010, with 2006 and 2007 serving as particularly pivotal years.
St. Peter said changes in 2006 to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure had a dramatic impact on the firm, as did Michigan’s decision in 2007 to require anyone working in the area of evidence recovery to be licensed.
St. Peter said he is one of only 600 certified computer examiners in the country.
“We started to grow mostly in computer forensics,” he said.
From 2012 to 2013, the company experienced another significant growth spurt, thanks to a decision it had made a few years earlier.
“In 2010, we got into copying and scanning,” St. Peter said. “There is still quite a bit of paper, including maps, ledgers, receipts. We got into that section of the business and we started to grow quickly.”
At the end of 2012, St. Peter was operating with a staff of 15, but in 2013, he added 25 employees. He said copying and scanning along with e-discovery drove the company’s growth in that year.
In 2013, Computing Source also acquired two new businesses, further growing its list of services for clients.
The first acquisition was Evidence Express, which provides “demonstratives” in court cases — better known as the big blow-up boards used to show evidence and documents to jurors and judges.
The company also acquired a video unit.
Today, the company offers a host of services in the categories of investigation and forensics, production and discovery, professional services, and presentation and trial assistance.
In addition to expanding its services, Computing Source also added two offices in 2013, one in Chicago and the other in Grand Rapids. The company already had offices in Madison Heights, Detroit, Birmingham and Ann Arbor.
By 2014, St. Peter said Computing Source had become an employer to more than 100 professionals.
And the company is continuing its trajectory of growth in 2015.
Computing Source recently announced the launch of its new court-reporting division, which will be incorporated into its existing video deposition service.
Erik Schwartz, Computing Source’s director of trial services, will lead the division.
“With his extensive courtroom experience and presentation expertise, Erik is the perfect person to lead this division,” St. Peter said.
Schwartz, who initially partnered with Computing Source as a trial presentation consultant before joining the company and being promoted to his current role, is responsible for launching the court reporting division in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Chicago, as well as driving its day-to-day operations.
Schwartz has more than 10 years of experience working in the litigation support field. He is a National Court Reporters Associate-credentialed trial presentation consultant and holds a paralegal certification from Boston University. He has participated in more than 75 trials in more than 25 courthouses across the country.
Schwartz is rapidly recruiting and hiring qualified court reporters to staff the division, according to the business.
The court reporting division provides attorneys with on-demand, around-the-clock access to court reporters equipped with real-time tools allowing lawyers to review and annotate their depositions concurrently.
Computing Source expects the added convenience of online scheduling and a secure repository will better accommodate the fast-paced needs of the legal industry and will allow clients to easily book a deposition and receive their transcripts quickly.
With the company’s video deposition services, clients can also access the video portion on their computer or tablet via secure proprietary streaming software.
“With the addition of this service, Computing Source is the only company in the Midwest region that gives our partners one number to call for every vendor need they will have during the lifecycle of their case,” Schwartz said.
In addition to the court-reporting division, Computing Source also has opened one of the Midwest’s largest secure data centers. It is located in the Madison Heights headquarters.
“Our mission from day one at Computing Source has been to build a seamless, sustainable and all-inclusive model that offers a solution for every single need an attorney will have at every step of their case’s lifecycle,” said St. Peter.
“I am proud to say our all-in-one, A-to-Z vision is fully realized.”
St. Peter said typically firms have had to work with multiple vendors for each service, which is time consuming and more costly than working with an all-in-one firm.
“The cost savings is a big benefit,” he said.
Computing Source works with all different types of legal clients, from larger law firms that might have some of the services they need in-house but are looking for overflow help, to midrange firms and sole proprietors.
The firm also works with the courts, serving as a neutral, with corporations’ internal law departments, and with police and law enforcement agencies. It’s even provided services to the FBI.