It is widely accepted that the eDiscovery portion of trial preparation is by far the most costly. This is due to several factors, the most notable being the cost of hosting huge quantities of ESI (electronically stored information) in a safe and secure environment for processing, and the fee-earner time required to review said hosted data.
Now we know these costs are unavoidable, you will always need to host data securely and always have to spend time reviewing this data. What is avoidable, however, are the further costs incurred due to inefficiencies within your system. Today we will be looking at 4 ways you can save money on your eDiscovery projects and why these methods provide results.
Outsource to expert providers
One of the biggest efficiencies you can capitalise on when it comes to your eDiscovery processes is ensuring expert support and advice throughout your project. Why spend time designing workflows, getting to grips with complex technology or, we shudder to think, just doing it the old-fashioned way, when you can have tailored solutions crafted by the best minds in the business?
Expert providers do come with a larger initial cost - you need to access their platforms and services and, if they're good at what they do, it probably isn't cheap. However, utilising expert help can massively reduce the run-time of your project, ensure your data is kept in the most secure facilities available and help mitigate internal and external factors that could delay your project and subsequently increase your costs.
Reducing the run-time of your project by utilising the latest technologies supplied by providers etc. is the most effective way to minimise project costs. A shorter run-time results in fewer hosting and man-hours required. As these are the largest contributing factors to your bills, you can spare a good chunk of your budget AND have your project completed in a timely manner, all to your client's benefit.
Utilising expert providers also ensures your data is stored in the most secure platforms available. This helps eliminate worries surrounding data breaches and the repercussions of data being tampered with which can be incredibly costly in terms of GDPR and court reputability.
Make use of technology
When working with outside providers you are able to access all manner of cutting-edge eDiscovery tools and technologies. These technologies are all created to boost efficiency and save you review time.
There are a plethora of tools within the RelativityOn platform that our PMs make use of to cull documents and speed up review, Concept Clustering, Email treading and Active Learning just to name a few!
By using these tools to swiftly cull documents that aren't relevant to your case, remove duplicate documents and system files and feed your reviewers more relevant documents quicker, you can cut down the time spent reviewing documents. This enables your fee earners to prioritise other higher-value casework while technology handles the tedious repeatable processes.
The area that is hardest to monitor when it comes to eDiscovery spending is project support. After completion of the project set-up, project management is a dynamic service that is tailored to your specific project needs, and as such, is incredibly hard to predict. Here at Altlaw, we do have an application within the platform that allows you to monitor your project-support costs in real-time which you can read more about here!
With this being said, project management is also one of the few areas of a project that you have true control over. As you request each instance of support, it is wise to consider what preparation might be made pre reaching out to your project manager, that will enable them to complete their tasks more swiftly.
An excellent example of this is devising lists of keywords for setting up saved searches to filter your documents. Ideally, a project manager will be presented with 10 to 15 high-quality keywords that are both relevant to the case and niche enough to not pull out unnecessary documents. (Choosing a word like 'privilege' or 'liability' which is in the footer of every email within your document set is not a good example of a high-quality keyword.)
The keyword devising process is often a collaborative exercise between yourself and your project manager. This means that quite a bit of valuable project management time is spent advising on appropriate keywords before the necessary searches can be run. By having a good understanding of your case matter and what keywords are most likely to produce relevant documents before reaching out to your project manager, you can save money by eliminating some of this deliberation time.
This methodology applies to most interactions between yourself and your project manager. Jobs need doing and you will need your project manager's support in completing them when handling complex technology, but by making their tasks a little easier you can save yourself valuable time and money.