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Computer Forensics Examiner

"How much does the services of a Computer Forensics Examiner or a Computer Expert Witness cost?"

We look at end results and I'd rather be up front with potential clients than have surprises down the road. The Intelligence Group encourages that you ask any expert what is their fee structure and if possible the estimate to complete. Firms, depending on location and other factors may charge $350 to $500 per hour and more, depending on the matter, type of litigation and / or availability. This generally does not include incidental expenses such as travel, hotels, meals and incidentals, not to mention that some experts require $5,000 - $10,000 retainer, before they will even look at a matter. The Intelligence Group's retainer is $4,000.

Rather than be shy about costs, let's be candid. Simply stated, most cases require a analysis of documents and if counsel plans to file a pre-trial motion for dismissal and for testimony at the hearing, budget at least $10,000. There are pleadings (complaint, answer, reports, depositions, etc.), which require review or may require our assistance in helping your legal counsel prepare these documents. There is consulting time with legal counsel and yourself, regarding significant issues, travel and other expenses, such as mileage or rentals. Please review our schedule of fees or feel free to ask us questions.

"I don't have the cash for an Expert.  What are my alternatives?"

Look at a model of "resources vs. cash" as an alternative.  We honor Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, with a small transaction fee.  There are other sources such as real estate, loans against 401k's and IRA's that can also be used as potential resources.

"Why do I need an expert witness?"

A wise attorney once said, "You'll probabaly win with one, but surely lose without one."  Example- In a recent case, Computerlegalexperts.com was able to discover who was downloading contraband images and provide not only the identity, but the credit card information and other evidence that was pertinent to the case.  The respective charges were subsequently dropped.

In another matter, an attorney represented that pornographic pictures on a computer belonged to a Defendant in a civil matter.  Through analysis of the files in question, they did not belong to the Defendant.

"Why did you recently raise your rates for service?"

The Intelligence Group's investment in computer forensic hardware and software pays dividends for our clients.  Believe it or not, with the higher labor rates, the Client's total expenditures may actually be less for a case than four years ago.  Lazer Express recently made a major capital investment the infrastructure, in the form of equipment and software.  The estimated result of this investment exceeds an estimated 45%+ of labor hours saved, as compared to four years ago.  Simply stated, even though The Intelligence Group's rates have increased, the end result is that you will have a higher earned value or have more money left in your pocket during or at the end of your matter, due to advances in technology.

"What drives the costs for my matter?"

There are several phases of the computer forensic process and we utilize the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) approach as a foundation towards our approach to computer forensics:

1. Assessment- Since each case is somewhat unique, the review of all available hardcopy reports and an assessment of all and digital media is necessary prior to the data acquisition process, in order to maximize the effect, while minimizing the client's costs. During this period, upon request of the client, we will layout a series of milestones and associated activities in order to fairly budget and provide an evaluation in order for client or counsel to make a choice (or choices).

2. Acquisition- Digital evidence, by its very nature, is fragile and can be altered, damaged,or destroyed by improper handling or examination. Examination is best conducted on a copy of the original evidence. The original evidence should be acquired in a manner that protects and preserves the integrity of the evidence.(NIJ)  One example is that hard-drives, a two-step process is executed to ensure data integrity. We use the Logicube Portable Forensic Lab and the Logicube Talon for both speed and accuracy.

3. Examination- The purpose of the examination process is to extract and analyze digital evidence. (NIJ) We utilize forensics software which examine various parts of the computer's hard drive for exculpatory data. Depending upon the matter, there may be multiple hours (or if there are movies, a few days to a week), for processing the material for extraction and testing purposes. We have found some pretty amazing things after restoring the movie files.  We utilize various software tools that are recognized by the courts as to accuracy and content.

4. Analysis- The interpretation of the recovered data and putting it in a logical and useful format. (NIJ) - Consultation with client and counsel with the preparation of deposition and trial preparation materials.

5. Documention and reporting- Prepare reports as needed of the examination.

Please note, there are other factors, which in every matter such as case complexity, which is driven by the acquisition of hard drives, travel, meals, incidentals, availability of evidence and so forth plays an active role.

"What are your 'discriminators'?"

1. Court qualified- Federal and State / Commonwealth.

2. We can aid counsel in the development of questions for interrogatories, depositions and trial.

3. We build our reports in parallel with the analysis, giving you more "bang for the buck."

4. We use a Portable Forensic Lab, featuring the Logicube Talon, to mirror the disks at the maximum possible speed, up to 3 GB per minute, in a forensically correct manner to preserve the evidence, sector by sector, byte by byte, bit by bit. Although the attorney is YOUR advocate, we are aggressively unbiased in our approach to presenting facts and our opinion is based upon these facts.

5. In an effort to reduce pre-processing time, our new computer system went on-line in February of 2007, with the release of AccessData's Forensic Toolkit 2.0.  This computer is an Intel-based Dual Core CPU-type architecture, 1066 MHz bus, 4 GB DDR-2 memory, ATI video card with 500+ Mb of memory, more cooling fans than required, with a high-end processor heat-sink to ensure operability and stability for the operation and application software that is specifically designed towards this architecture and SATA hard drives, to name just a few features. Simply stated- It's equivalent to a Porsche 911 Twin-Turbo Cabriolet among the Chevrolet Corvette's and Ford Mustang's that are on the race-track. More speed and memory, means faster pre-processing time and less out-of-pocket costs to the client.

6. We are prepared to work with counsel and provide statutes and case law research which enables the client to have an attorney who is prepared at the time of the trial.

7. Maturity and Experience: At Computerlegalexperts, we have the training (theory), but it is imperative to have practical experience.  Our experience includes the areas of Administrative Law, UCMJ, Criminal, Civil and trial experience. Our IT experience started in the days of the DEC-10, DEC-Rainbow 100, Kaypro, Timex Sinclair, Commodore-64, TRS-80, IBM PC, IBM PC-XT, IBM PC-AT, and then some but continued through the various network software, applications and back-up and recovery programs.

"What makes YOU different than any of the other 'Vulture's out there?"

Candor, integrity and we aren't "Vultures." The Intelligence Group is a professional organization who understands that some of lesser means needs a sliding-scale in order to afford a competent computer expert witness or computer forensic examiner. At Computerlegalexperts.com, we, unlike other entities, openly publish our rates, but the total actual costs are dependent upon the matter, dynamics of the litigation and the work to be performed. Is it an individual, criminal, corporate, or an administrative matter? What is the "scope of work" that you will require? Does it require on-site services or can it be performed with the use of a courier service? Is there any extra expenses that may be incurred by reason of constraints placed upon the parties by the court? We believe in a no-nonsense and clarity approach to our efforts.

Since we do have the education and experience with the legal and justice systems, respectively, YOU as the client need to make the final determination. If you want to spend your resources on a "technician" who is "feeling their way around" or someone with the experience and the "bleeding edge" tool-set to acquire data, review the data, state a solid opinion, based upon the acquisition of the accurate data and not limit it to just a peek at the hard-drive, we should be your first choice .

As the Client, maybe you'll need a second or independent opinion? Depending upon the intensity of the matter, there may be a need for researching reports, preparation of documentation for court hearings and or trial, execution of writs, testimony at deposition or trial and so forth. Also, "vultures" live off of the carrion of animals. As long as your litigation is ongoing, you're still alive and we will do everything possible to treat your matter with dignity and respect!

How come your rates are so low, considering your location?

  • We know what we're doing in the areas of Computer Forensics and Digital Evidence Acquisition.
  • Why money doesn't necessarily buy quality.
  • We work aggressively for our clients in delivering facts.
  • We enjoy what we do, by delivering results.
  • We understand Zinn's axiom of: "It doesn't take any talent to spend other people's money!"
  • Low overhead.  We use the Bob Parson's model of providing a value-added service.