Every general counsel wants to get eDiscovery costs down. Uncontained costs simply aren’t sustainable in their budget-constrained environments. The good news is both technology and process improvements can help lower costs. To get you started, here are some quick tips for key cost areas.
Get Content Maps
Information governance (IG) plays a crucial role in preservation and collection efficiency. For example, content mapping, an IG basic, helps legal teams quickly identify employees and potentially relevant data that must be preserved under a legal hold. Be prepared with a content map, so you can improve your legal hold process.
Use Tiering Strategies
Consider a “tier” collection approach. Collect data from the custodians and data sources that are most likely to be case-relevant. You can do more collections later if needed.
Similarly, concentrate initial interviews and early case assessment (ECA) on top tier custodians and documents. This improves ECA with faster, focused information for decisions on strategy. Also make sure you have good processes for culling down data during ECA. Less data means you won’t pay for legal review of completely irrelevant data.
For all collection tiers, consult counsel on whether internal IT or forensic experts should collect data. Carefully weigh what data requires expert forensic imaging as this is very expensive. Make sure you document the chain of custody across IT, forensic experts and legal during the collection process.
Eye Big Expenses
The biggest culprit in eDiscovery cost is document review. Experts estimate that review is 70% of total eDiscovery costs. Focus process improvement here and you will see results. For example, bake in steps to carefully consider: (a) internal vs. external reviewers, (b) technology assisted review, (c) reviewer metrics and (d) quality controls.
Processing massive amounts of data into reviewable formats is a significant driver of eDiscovery costs. As such, it’s a good idea to pool data when requesting review or production processing. Otherwise, you repeatedly pay for technical processing services.
Legal review is 70% of eDiscovery costs
Don’t forget implementing a process to ensure you have the production specifications early on. Take native and tiff format, image color and privilege redacting costs into account in your budgeting.
The effort you spend planning, refining and measuring your eDiscovery process will net you recovered time and reduced costs. For more tips and in-depth guidance on eDiscovery process refinements read our recent article.