Finding the right eDiscovery solution can leave a lot of organizations wondering how to even begin the search. What kind of options should be considered, and which are the most important for ensuring a mutually beneficial business relationship? Here are three questions legal professionals need to ask before committing to a vendor.
1. What approach does the vendor take?
Effective ediscovery has to not only fit within a set operating budget, but also needs to address any industry-specific guidelines and considerations. When faced with litigation, it’s absolutely essential that businesses can prove chain of custody to ensure the highest level of defensibility, while also ensuring data integrity.
The best eDiscovery solutions take an end-to-end approach toward every phase of EDRM (electronic data and records management), ensuring that discovery efforts are maximized while the process itself remains reasonably streamlined and manageable (that includes the costs as well). Data collection is more than just searching databases; true ediscovery is an evolving strategy, not a static answer.
2. What level of support and access is offered?
Some vendors may specify that data can only be accessed during certain hours or by a particular methodology, which can make things complicated depending on an organization’s specific needs. Support hours and metrics are another factor that need to be considered. Is the vendor available when litigation teams are working overtime or on weekends? Is support available only through a particular contact person?
The big picture also needs to be considered. Are the services that are offered comprehensive or only partial? Ideally, organizations will most benefit from eDiscovery solutions that handle everything “from soup to nuts,” as the saying goes. This includes not only data collection and management but also review services, analytics and access to more robust services like computer forensics and expert testimony if needed.
3. How flexible and adaptable is the vendor?
EDiscovery is a highly complex process that involves many hands, a wide range of processes and strategies and at a volume level that can be staggering. Any eDiscovery solution has to be flexible and adaptable enough to handle small things like multiple file formats or a large number of OCR conversions, but also major, essential concerns like robust search capabilities, ensuring repeatable and defensible processes, and of course maintaining utmost data security and integrity at every step of the way.
Additionally, the best eDiscovery vendors will be able to seamlessly adjust to be just as effective for large cases as small ones and vice versa. No enterprise is going to see the same level of litigation every time, and changing vendors for each case is obviously impractical.
Finding the Right Solution
Although finding the right eDiscovery solution can be a challenge, asking these three questions offers a good starting point for professional dialogue about the unique needs that each organization faces, and the ways in which potential candidates can strive to meet or exceed those needs.
As 2013 draws to a close, it’s a good idea to take a look back at some of the major trends in social media law over the past 12 months and use them as a possible predictor for what 2014 may hold in store.
1. Precedent-Setting Cases Continue
Since social media is relatively new—Facebook just celebrated its first full decade of existence—new social media case law and ground-setting precedents are springing up right and left. This trend will not only continue throughout the next year, but is likely to further solidify the establishment of social media law as its own specialty.
2. Increased Emphasis on Establishing Boundaries
In the social sphere, where is the line drawn between personal privacy and public activity? This is a question that will continue seeing further refinement over the next year, following in the trends of such cases as Bland v. Roberts, which established the act of hitting the Facebook ‘like’ button as free speech that’s protected under the first amendment.
3. Intellectual Property Crackdown
Social media sites make it a snap to share content that is typically produced by other entities, whether that takes the form of articles, photos or videos. While many companies view this as free advertising, others have concerns over intellectual property infringement. Will 2014 be the year that this aspect of social media law is finally settled?
4. Challenges in Data Preservation
The recent surge in popularity of SnapChat, particularly among teens, is largely due to its ephemeral nature. Users love that they can send a photo that essentially self-destructs in just a few seconds, leaving no trace behind. This growing trend indicates the push toward leaving a smaller digital footprint, or at least a less traceable one. If other social media platforms follow SnapChat’s lead, data preservation will become a tremendous challenge in social media law.
5. Law Enforcement Finally Embraces Social Media
While some law enforcement organizations have found ways to make social media work for them, others are still on the fence... or stuck in the dark ages. With a growing number of cases ranging from custody law to wrongful termination suits relying on evidence gathered from social media profiles and platforms, 2014 might be the year that law enforcement as a whole finally sees the benefits of gathering evidence via social media.
6. More Privacy, Not Less
The last few years have seen an increased blurriness between personal and professional lives, with some employers going so far as to demand Facebook passwords from potential job applicants as part of the hiring process. The tide seems to be turning back toward a demand for privacy from private citizens, which will likely be one of the prime battlefields for social media law cases in 2014.
When taking a hard look at policies for information governance, corporations need to follow a certain set of metrics for the most comprehensive approach toward Big Data management. This includes not just last month’s transactions but also today’s emails, last year’s social media posts and even a strategy for the files sunk fathoms into deep storage. Here are 10 rules for properly managing information governance in corporations.
1. Begin Assessment Early
The sooner companies start a thorough evaluation of their information governance needs, the faster an effective data management strategy can be designed and implemented. The first step in this process is an assessment, which will help ensure that any IG policies actually meet the unique needs of the company.
2. Prepare the Troops
Before rolling out a plan for information governance, corporations have to let employees know exactly what to expect and how to prepare themselves. Policies should be clear well before any new metrics are rolled out. Plus, employees in different departments may be able to offer valuable feedback about their specific departmental IG needs for even greater efficiency.
3. Cross-Reference Existing Regulations
Always double-check prospective strategy against applicable industry regulatory guidelines before developing any data management policies. For example, HIPAA requirements have a big impact on information governance; corporations who must maintain HIPAA compliance need to keep these rules in mind as they establish data management goals.
4. Assemble the Right Team
Information governance should not be thought of just as the responsibility of the CEO. Instead, assemble the departments and individuals who are best prepared to help organize and implement effective IG policies. Delegate as needed to those whose natural talents lend themselves to this type of project.
5. Outsource as Needed
At the same time, don’t get too hung up on the idea that everything must be addressed in-house. There are plenty of resources out there designed specifically to help corporations with their information governance. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of these, and outsource to an expert if needed.
6. Implement in Stages
As tempting as it may be to flip a switch and have every single department on board with data management overnight, that simply isn’t reality for most information governance. Corporations often find better success rolling out the implementations in stages, either by department or location. This allows for feedback and changes on future rollouts that can improve efficiency overall.
7. Plan Ahead
One of the biggest challenges in information governance is to keep the future in mind as well as the past and present. Assessment and implementation are only steps in the ongoing process of information management. Schedule review and future assessment dates ahead of time to stay on top of the changing times.
8. Maintain Documentation
Throughout the process of planning out the right approach toward information governance, corporations should maintain scrupulous records on procedures and processes in case those notes are necessary for future reference.
9. Check with Industry Peers
Other corporations are in the same boat and facing similar challenges. Learn from their experience by brainstorming on which resources have been most helpful for them, then adapt those tips accordingly to allow for individual variance among different enterprises.
10. Consult the Experts
When it comes to information governance, corporations may feel stubborn about the need to take care of everything themselves. However, not every company is equipped or prepared to handle data management on its own. Call in the experts if needed to better assess vulnerabilities and develop a customized approach to data management that works seamlessly for daily business needs.
It’s virtually impossible these days to conduct business without emails flying like crazy. From exchanging quick communications to sending projects and even legal documentation, email is a quick and easy solution for collaborating across the miles... or even to the next cubicle over. It seems odd, then, that there are still companies who fail to recognize the importance of establishing a policy for handling digital communications. Here’s a closer look at the seven reasons why businesses need an email archive policy.
1. Human Resources Benefits
Archived emails can prove invaluable for any human resources department. There are a number of occasions when these records could be not only relevant but essential: protection against internal email misuse, tracking workplace harassment or other in-house investigation, and even protecting the company in case of unlawful dismissal claims. A solid email archive policy means that applicable data will be stored and retained indefinitely against future HR needs.
2. Liability Protection
Of course, HR isn’t the only department that can benefit from scrupulous email retention. Virtually any type of liability, whether brought against the company or filed on the company’s behalf, is likely to revolve strongly around email correspondence.
3. Better eDiscovery Managed Services
On a related note, for companies who need to comply with a request for ediscovery, managed services like an email archive policy can prove invaluable. Just having the policy at all can offer protection against spoliation claims, and a system that’s organized and secure means that necessary discovery items can be found intact and more quickly and easily.
4. Compliance with Document Retention Guidelines
Not only can email archives produce the evidence a company’s legal team needs to win its case, but a good retention policy also serves as defense against claims of spoliation in accordance with any document retention guidelines during ediscovery. Managed services help protect archived emails from unauthorized access or alteration in order to preserve integrity.
5. Streamlined Storage Management
It’s not uncommon for businesses with internal IT departments to manage storage needs by quota. Adopting a more comprehensive email archive policy instead means that users won’t be forced to delete potentially critical emails in order to make more room. This not only preserves important data, but also eliminates the need for large amounts of on-site physical storage.
6. Improved Data Management
A study conducted by Osterman Research found that the majority (75 percent) of companies’ intellectual property is all available in emails and through messaging systems. This sobering figure indicates in and of itself the importance of properly managing electronic communications. An effective email archiving solution offers features like auto-archiving, data compression and controlled access for better management of sensitive data, allowing for much improved data management tactics.
7. IT Savings
Last but never least, implementing a suitable email archive policy typically translates into major company savings on IT costs. Of course, this is all dependent on the caliber of the email archive solution itself. For example, outsourcing to a managed services provider is typically far more cost effective compared to creating an email archive system that’s developed and managed internally.
The rapid increase in the need for effective information governance is responsible for creating complex concerns both in terms of storage capacity and in security. Cloud-based email archiving is one solution that’s risen to the forefront as an option to better organize and secure business communication, particularly during ediscovery. Managed services like cloud-based email archiving offer five primary benefits to businesses.
1. Lower Cost
Cutting directly to the bottom line, it’s no exaggeration to say that email archive solutions can save a bundle due to a variety of factors. For one, there are no concerns about needing particular hardware or software; just like any other cloud-based solution, connecting to emails is available any time, from anywhere. This also means the elimination of equipment maintenance and upgrade fees, not to mention the high cost of maintaining a data center. At the same time, these savings don’t impact functionality; the majority of cloud-based email archive solutions offer infinite storage, which translates into total adaptability for each company’s unique needs.
2. Flexible Storage Management
One critical driver that’s essential for effective email archiving is whether a cloud-based system can actually improve management of that data. Cloud-based solutions easily flex up or down according to the needed capacity for a completely scalable answer to virtual storage needs. This is typically offered at a fixed per-mailbox fee, negating the need for constant hardware or software upgrades to find a system that’s able to keep up with internal company changes.
3. Improved Knowledge Preservation
Email has become the primary form of business communication as well as the go-to method for file transport. As such, the practice of sending emails, which used to be considered fairly casual, is now a virtual repository of important company data that needs to be preserved. With cloud-based email archiving, information is preserved in the cloud; even a hard drive crash won’t cause the loss of all that hard work and shared knowledge.
4. Streamlined Ediscovery
With regards to ediscovery, managed services like cloud-based email archiving have become a huge benefit. It’s rare for ediscovery requests not to apply to email; cloud-based archiving means that concerns over data location and preservation are largely mitigated. Not only is information more reliably backed up in the cloud, but the type of integrated search and organization functionality that’s typically included in a cloud-based email archiving system make locating relevant data far simpler during ediscovery. Managed services like email archiving also offer the capacity for better fulfilling any applicable document retention requirements during the discovery process.
5. Multilayer Security
Data security needs to be addressed at three levels: physical equipment, data encryption and application. Keeping all three security levels up-to-date and compliant with current guidelines can be challenging and expensive with an internal IT department. Cloud-based email archive solutions often allow for higher levels of security than companies can steadily maintain on their own, keeping both intraoffice and customer communications secure and protected.
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In an increasingly technological world, enterprises can no longer afford to ignore the importance of digital records management. It’s not enough to simply convert paper files into PDFs and toss the physical records into a storage unit. If faced with ediscovery, managed services give businesses the tools they need for effective discovery and defense. Yet, adopting an effective strategy is not as simple as it sounds. Here are five mistakes to avoid when it comes to digital records management.
1. Not Having a Plan in Place Before Starting
While a sense of urgency is a great motivator, attempting to implement a records management plan in a big hurry can be disastrous. It’s a much better idea to set up a well-defined program before making a single move; to do otherwise could mean serious backtracking down the road. One option to avoid this possibility is to work with an ediscovery managed services provider who can help design more effective records management parameters before putting any decisions into action.
2. Waiting Until Under the Gun
Companies who put off the development of a comprehensive digital records management strategy until after they’re already involved in litigation have waited way too long. Coming up with an effectual approach takes time, and also some trial and error. Attempting experimentation while racing to keep ahead of the legal process will mean a slapped together strategy with holes big enough to drive a truck through. Instead, organizations should construct a program while they still have the luxury of time and can afford to play around with the specifics a little. To do otherwise is just asking for trouble.
3. Doing Too Much, Too Soon
Trying to deploy a company-wide records management program all at once often does more harm than good. Most organizations find better success by slowly rolling out new guidelines to one department or location at a time. Then, on a smaller scale, any factors that aren’t working can be caught early on and rectified, allowing for more effective fine-tuning and a better end product by the time the entire enterprise is using the new system. In many ways, this goes back to having a plan in place before starting, per Item #1 on this list.
4. Not Thinking Outside of the Box
Every department or branch has different needs when it comes to records management; assuming that an off-the-shelf strategy is going to work for all of them is just wishful thinking. Instead, it’s a better idea to find an ediscovery managed services provider who can customize a solution that’s designed to adapt to unique requirements, even within the same organization. Off-the-shelf products typically lack the flexibility to form a realistic records management program in the real world.
5. Failing to Consider the Full Lifecycle
Far too many digital records management policies forget that they need to address not only data that’s already in existence, but also the creation of new data and how to handle deep storage. Planning ahead for migration paths is essential to the success of ediscovery managed services over the long term. Identifying lifecycle elements in advance ensures that the necessary factors will be incorporated into the system to address all aspects of digital records management from inception to beyond.
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More than 40 members of the Phoenix Valley’s legal community joined forces during the month of September to donate 75,149 meals to the hungry of Arizona during the first annual “Object to Hunger” Food Drive to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.
Sponsored by TERIS, "Object to Hunger" achieved its goal to help St. Mary’s during 19 days in September – Hunger Action Month – to help feed the one in five Arizonans, one in seven seniors and one in four children who are in danger of going hungry each day and give St. Mary’s a much-needed boost heading toward the holiday season.
Congratulations go to the winners of the friendly competition, who earned “Managing Partner” status during the Object to Hunger Food Drive. The firm of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy collected the most meals of any firm with 16,216 meals while the 15-member firm of Osteen & Harrison PLC collected 5,850 meals to claim the most meals per capita. Gallagher & Kennedy achieved “Equity Partner” by donating close to 14,000 meals.
In all, 20 of the 42 teams collected more than 1,000 pounds during the drive – using a point system of pounds of food and dollars collected.
TERIS and the winning teams were joined from teams from Baird, Williams & Greer, LLP, Ballard Spahr LLP, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bryan Cave, Burch & Cracchiolo, Burns Barton, Campbell Yost, Clare & Norell, Christian Dichter, Fadell, Cheney & Burt, Fennemore Craig Foundation, Gammage & Burnham, Gordon & Rees, LLP, Greenberg Traurig, Helene Fenlon, PLC, Hymson, Goldstein and Pantiliat, PLLC, Jaburg & Wilk, P.C., Jackson White, P.C., Jones Skelton & Hochuli, Kutak Rock LLP, May Potenza, Baran & Gillespie, P.C., Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P, O’Conner & Campbell, Ogletree Deakins, Polsinelli Shughart, Quarles & Brady, Renaud Cook Drury, Mesaros, PA, Resnick & Louis, Ridenour, Hienton & Lewis, P.L.L.C., Ryley, Carlock and Applewhite, Sacks Ricketts & Case, Sacks Tierney PA, Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP, Slattery Peterson, P.L.L.C., Snell & Wilmer, Squire Sanders (US) LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP and students from Peoria's Centennial High School DECA organization.
“Community service is a core value at TERIS, and we are floored by the amount of participation from the law firms,” said Richard Saldivar, Principal TERIS. “Their enthusiasm for this project is inspiring and makes me proud to be part of the Phoenix legal community.”
More than $9,500 was pledged during the drive – and each donated dollar allows St. Mary’s to distribute enough food for seven meals into the nine Arizona counties it serves.
“St. Mary’s is very excited that the legal profession is banding together in September for the inaugural ‘Objection to Hunger’ food drive,” Food Bank President and CEO Beverly Damore said. “With the holiday season just around the corner, the need for non-perishable items to feed those struggling with hunger remains at an all-time high. Our thanks to Richard Saldivar and TERIS for taking the lead in this inspired effort to support our community.”
ABOUT THE FOOD BANK: Now in its 46th year of serving Arizona, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that alleviates hunger by efficiently gathering and distributing food to 300 partner agencies at 400 locations that serve the hungry. Serving two-thirds of our 15 counties, the organization is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks, and is committed to volunteerism, building community relationships, and improving the quality of life for Arizonans in need. In Fiscal Year 2011-12, the Food Bank distributed 63.7 million pounds of food to families and individuals and garnered more than 370,000 volunteer service hours.
PR Web: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/11/prweb11293599.htm
By now, it’s clear to the majority of businesses that information governance and cloud computing together to represent the wave of the future when it comes to data management as well as e-discovery. Yet, with technology changing faster than anyone can really keep up with, how can organizations be sure they’re making the strategically correct decisions when it comes to their individual approaches? Keeping an eye on the eight hottest trends in IG governance in the cloud can serve as an excellent metric to help gauge your actions accordingly.
1. Increased Need for Data Security
The need for data security is drastically increasing as more organizations are shifting their back-end operations to the cloud. In response, companies can expect security compliance requirements to see significant expansion in the upcoming years.
2. Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS)
Integration platform as a service offers managed service providers (MSPs) the ability to address the joint problems of data integration and information management for businesses as they make the transition from on-premise procedures to operating fully in the cloud.
3. Data as a Service (DaaS)
Along with IPaaS, the market emergence of DaaS represents an attempt to manage aggregated data sets from a number of different sources. This improves the usability factor and helps increase availability. More data providers will be coming online, and more cloud service providers will be selling DaaS to their clients.
4. EDiscovery Fully in the Cloud
While gathering data from the cloud is nothing new in terms of electronic discovery, many sources predict that both information governance and major eDiscovery platforms will shift completely into the cloud, both for collection and processing of data. Concerns over hardware stability, third party data centers for staging, and shifting massive amounts of data will all fall by the wayside.
5. Prices Will Drop
As IG in the cloud continues its impressive level of momentum, the associated costs are likely to reduce dramatically. This means a related decline in electronic discovery costs as well, offsetting the early days of exorbitant per-gigabyte pricing that used to be considered the business standard. As the market need for cost-effective information governance and electronic discovery becomes more pressing, the number of companies demanding service will force the price-point to drop to a more reasonable level.
6. Expansion of IG Will Include Social Media
In the minds of most decision-makers, information governance applies to business-related data, financial records and other such practicalities. Yet, the prevalence of social media as a rich source for discovery indicates that information governance policies are likely to include social media by default before too much longer.
7. Predictive Coding Moves Front and Center
Despite the many debates over predictive coding, its likely adoption for mainstream use just makes sense. As integration improves, more litigators will learn to appreciate the inherent value and possibility present in predictive coding; this will lead to a more widespread acceptance through the court systems as well.
8. Semantic Search Will Gain Popularity
In the same vein as predictive coding, semantic search functionality is also going to pick up steam in the coming years. Semantic search often forms the foundation of eDiscovery technology platforms; as those in the legal industry realize the benefits of semantic search over older and less efficient alternatives, courts will reward these efforts with greater legitimacy as well.
9. Increasing Availability of End to End Solutions
For both electronic discovery and information governance, more vendors will deliver end to end solutions that provide support where companies need it the most. On the flip side, more corporations are becoming aware of the necessities of information governance, which in turn will create a higher market demand for vendors who are able to provide end to end solutions.
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Streamlined, comprehensive information governance is one of the most critical tools for businesses to master. In today’s era of Big Data, managing everything from old records to last month’s data transactions to the most recent social media posts is not only possible but even expected. Yet, while companies are starting to move more toward recognizing the need for organized data governance, many are still forgetting an important detail: ensuring that their methods are conducive to potential electronic discovery efforts down the road.
An information governance assessment is critical to taking the current pulse of any data organization efforts that are already in place, as well as planning ahead strategically for data storage and management needs that are flexible and adaptable for your future evolution. Here are 10 tips to help complete your assessment with the greatest accuracy and efficiency.
1. Start as soon as possible. The earlier you can begin gathering evidence and data for your assessment, the less stressful it will be. It’s better to recognize that this is a time-consuming process and give yourself the needed leeway for a thorough assessment rather than get rushed and end up cutting corners that leave you with a patched-together IG strategy that doesn’t truly meet the needs of your business.
2. Inform your staff. Letting your employees in on your plans as soon as possible will ensure that things go more smoothly. They can also offer valuable insight into daily operations or ways to improve efficiency that can contribute to the development of your IG strategy.
3. Concentrate your efforts. Although this may seem like such a large project that it needs to be spread out in small bits across several days (or weeks), the results are usually more consistent and comprehensive if you set aside time for a more methodical “fell swoop” approach.
4. Don’t fly solo. No matter how much you may like handling things all on your own, this is one time where you want to call on the help of some extra eyes and ears. Recruit some talent to help you with your assessment according to the old adage that many hands make light work.
5. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Not everyone has a head for this kind of thing. If you’re not the organizing kind, don’t be afraid to delegate out the most vital tasks to team members who really shine this capacity. You can even set up a dedicated team or committee to take care of your IG assessment from start to finish.
6. Check your efforts against necessary guidelines. Industry-specific guidelines, like HIPAA compliance, will have a different set of standards. Double-check your processes and goals against these guidelines to ensure that all of the necessary metrics are being met.
7. Make use of existing resources. You’re not the only one conducting information governance assessments, which means there are plenty of resources out there like templates and other handy tools. You should also check with industry peers to get a feel for methods that have worked for setups that may be quite similar to yours.
8. Document everything. Keep notes on all your processes in case they need to be referred back to later on. Be sure that notations are standardized across all other team members who are assisting you with the assessment process.
9. Schedule review dates right now. The assessment isn’t a static, stand-alone process; committed action plans are required. Scheduling review dates as part of the assessment ensures that there are hard follow-ups for verifying that everything is right on track.
10. Ask for help if needed. It’s just information governance; there’s no need to be a hero. If you’re confused or struggling, ask for help, either from an internal source whose skillset is better suited for the project or from an outside organization with a higher level of expertise.
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It’s human nature, or at least the nature of every good business owner, to look at the bottom line first. When this bottom line is the total cost of your e-discovery fees, the answer may look overwhelming. How can electronic discovery fees stack up so quickly, and what’s a reasonable benchmark to aim for when looking at vendor fees?
$3.3M Is Reasonable in Context
In Tampa Bay Water v. HDR Engineering, INC., $3.1M was awarded to an e-discovery vendor for costs related to the trial. The grand total may look intimidating as a whole; looking at the separate components can help shed light on that number.
The electronic discovery vendor in the case processed and hosted 2.7 million different documents for review. The case docket spanned not only the large trial itself but also the preceding three years of litigation. The case docket logged 678 entries, including motions to dismiss, motions for protective orders, motions to quash, motions to strike and dozens of other motions as well.
When attorney’s fees were awarded in this case, they too were large: $9.2M, plus another $7.8M for additional costs incurred. The total value of the case came to $30M; when taken in context, the $3.1M from e-discovery fees is only about 10 percent of legal costs incurred. From that perspective, the discovery fees no longer seem unreasonable.
Totals in Context
Like so many things, context is essential when trying to make sense of e-discovery vendor fees. Most companies see only the end results (in other words, their invoice), a number that, in and of itself, doesn’t shed light on all the background involved, namely the lengthy and time-consuming process of gathering and sorting electronic evidence. Without context, it's definitely tempting for companies to feel like they’ve been overcharged. Yet, looking at what the full process of what, exactly, electronic discovery entails may shed some light on the fees incurred.
A study conducted by the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology estimated that each gigabyte of data examined costs $30,000 or more in e-discovery fees. This number includes both external costs associated with outsourcing, and internal costs to the client in developing and maintaining an information governance program, sometimes very hurriedly and in response to litigation. Each step of the process requires the time, talent and expertise of a team that includes not just lower-level legal researchers but often upper level management, in-house counsel and experienced IT personnel. Electronic discovery fees are a premium rate, because companies are paying for a premium and comprehensive service.
Before the era of electronic data, the costs of physically sorting and processing relevant documentation were just as cumbersome, albeit on a different price scale. The real change lies not in the process of discovery, or even in the manner of its execution, but rather in the vast volumes of data that are now being stored and transmitted on a daily basis… data that must be sorted and organized in the event of litigation.
Electronic discovery is here to stay, just as electronic data processing and storage have become a permanent fixture of daily business life. However, there are some strategies that can be adopted to lower the costs of e-discovery to a more manageable state.
Incorporating tools like predictive coding and technology-assisted review to help reduce the manual aspect of review can cut down on the time investment of the electronic discovery process. As long as the human touch is still needed, streamlining remains difficult. Working with a smaller team that deploys more comprehensive technology can more quickly extrapolate applicable data, which means a lower cost for discovery fees.
Businesses that create a sensible information governance program will also notice cost advantages when it comes to e-discovery. Better management of data helps organizations and their in-house counsel more quickly and efficiently access any information that could be relevant to a case.
Because electronic discovery is, by its very definition, the sorting and collection of relevant electronic data, it’s easy for outside parties to assume that this process should be as quick and efficient as other computing processes. Yet, the e-discovery process absolutely has to incorporate the human touch in order to be effective. Looking at the numbers of legal assistants, digital forensics experts and hours spent in a day sorting through terabytes’ worth of data, e-discovery vendor fees become quite reasonable in context.
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