Professional services firm Deloitte has doubled the size of its computer forensic and electronic discovery group following a merger with Forensic Data.
The Australian firm, which specialises in data recovery, data conversion, electronic discovery and computer forensics, provides consulting services to the legal and government sectors.
Forensic Data also provides professional forensic services, to design and develop proprietary imaging, analytical and recovery software.
Forensic Data staff, based in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, will join Deloitte's existing forensic technology practice.
Even before the merger, Deloitte had the largest independent forensic practice in Australia with a full time team of 125 people and 17 partners.
Deloitte Australia CEO, Giam Swiegers, said the merger will create the largest and most experienced forensic technology team of its kind in the Asia Pacific and is recognition of the ever increasing demand for a forensic approach to the collection and processing of electronic information required for legal or regulatory proceedings.
Forensic Data's founder Nicholas Adamo will be joining Deloitte as a partner.
Adamo established Forensic Data in 1998 and has given evidence of an expert nature in most Australian jurisdictions and has also been involved with investigations in Papua New Guinea, parts of Asia, as well as providing technical expertise for several major investigations with the ACCC, ASIC and Royal Commissions.
"Nicholas has been actively involved in developing and maintaining practice and procedural methods, including developing a host of different software applications for use in forensic investigations," Swiegers said.
"He was also involved in the design, development and implementation of a national standard for data imaging and data conversion of legacy electronic records held by the National Archives of Australia."
Deloitte's forensic Asia Pacific practice leader, Tim Phillipps, said there is an increasing number of class actions, commissions of enquiry and regulatory investigations across the globe.
"We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for technology forensic and electronic discovery support services as regulators and legal firms increasingly rely on the completeness and accuracy of electronic information, such as e-mail, business documents and transaction records related to business activity," Phillipps said.
Lead partner of Deloitte's forensic technology group, David Thompson, aaid the increasing volume and reliance on electronic documents and computerised business systems by organisations has introduced new challenges for the collection and identification of potential evidence required in response to litigation, regulatory compliance obligations or to support internal investigations.
"Our forensic technology team specialises in the collection, preservation and processing of large volumes of data electronic data from complex technology systems for use in legal proceedings," he said.
"Our increasingly sophisticated methodologies can be applied across all industries and issues, whether that be financial crime detection, customer behaviour or supply chain logistics.
"Electronic data collected using normal IT practices and processes has the potential to lack the forensic integrity required for data that may need to be produced in evidence."