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Building a Business Case for eDiscovery Automation

| Written by Imogen Fraser-Clark

Legal professionals have found themselves in a uniquely difficult position this year.

As if the combination of rising workloads and static headcounts wasn’t enough, law firms and general counsel alike are under pressure to be more efficient, in order to combat rising eDiscovery costs.

So how can these seemingly contradictory challenges be resolved?

The answer is simple: automation.

Unfortunately though, it’s not enough to know that automation is the answer. You need to secure buy-in from senior management, and it will take more than just your word to influence such an investment decision. This means building a case that doesn’t just insist on the benefits of automation, but proves them to be irrefutable facts. That’s why we’ve put this checklist together for you.

Read on and build your business case for eDiscovery Automation.

Building a convincing business case for a new innovation is all about quantifying the impact it can make.

Not just relaying reported benefits, but presenting some compelling evidence that shows them to be true. Proof of the tangible impacts this change has realised for other organisations.

eDiscovery automation has numerous benefits, but three of them are key from a business perspective:-

  1. Speed and efficiency
  2. Cost savings
  3. Reduction of error

We’ll look sequentially at each key benefit of eDiscovery automation, delving into the details, and backing up each point with some data.


Benefit 1: Increased speed and efficiency

Speed_linesWith many legal teams under pressure to get more done with the same (or fewer) resources, this is probably the most pertinent point.

Rather than a completely exhaustive manual review, advanced eDiscovery technologies can help you reduce your case load and get to the relevant documents faster.

  • According to data from Thomson Reuters, eDiscovery automation can reduce the time it takes an average lawyer to locate a key document from 51 minutes, to 16 minutes. 
  • Tools like Continuous Active Learning can eliminate the need to review 50-90% of documents in an average collection
  • And even basic application of AI and Machine Learning tools (such as Concept Clustering) can increase review speed by 15-20%.


With the proportionality of litigation processes being more heavily monitored and sanctioned than ever before, any technology that saves you time and money, and allows you to produce more proportionate responses, is well worth investigating. 


Benefit 2: Financial savings

eDiscovery costs continue to skyrocket year on year due to the exponential growth of data volumes and formats.money_calc

Without adequate technology to streamline and automate eDiscovery, it can be alarmingly easy for these costs to spiral out of control.

70% of eDiscovery costs are tied to document review.

This means that, by virtue of making the review process faster and more efficient, with less need for human input, eDiscovery automation can open up huge cost savings.

A report as far back as 2015 found that, for a relevance-based review of 90,000 documents, the cost of Technology Assisted Review was over $57,000 (or £42,000 GBP) less than manual review.


Benefit 3: Reduction of errors

errorsMany parts of the litigation process require long hours of repetitive work to be completed.

Unfortunately, this makes for a higher chance of error. And we all know how serious the consequences of such errors can be.

Automation improves the accuracy of the collection and review processes by understanding the logic behind certain coding or grouping decisions and replicating them at scale.

A study from the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology proved the impact of automation on reducing manual error, with some significant results.

In the study, two control groups – one using Technology Assisted Review, and one using completely manual review methods – reviewed a set of data against the same standards.

The group that automated part of the process with eDiscovery technology were significantly more precise than the manual review group, who reportedly missed between 20 and 75% of all relevant documents.

The study attributed the majority of these missed documents to ‘inarguable error’ rather than subjective opinions on relevance.

Now that you know the core benefits of eDiscovery automation and the impact they can make for your team, why not learn about some of the technologies that we use at Altlaw?