A few weeks ago, along with my Lighthouse colleague Brandon Jessup, Executive Director of Technical Project Management, I spoke at the Washington Association of Corporate Counsel’s fifth annual Technology Summit. Together, we presented a session entitled Metrics that Matter – Understanding Benchmarks of Success and How to Measure Them. In the session, we discussed various measures of success in ediscovery. Since cost containment is always an important factor, we covered some practical tips below:
- Establish client-level standards for ediscovery processes. This both creates efficiency gains at the individual case level and gives effect to client risk tolerance across cases.
- Use a file exclusion or inclusion list at the processing stage to avoid paying volume-based fees for document types that are never responsive.
- Manage access to data and hosting volumes in your review platform. Work with your vendor to set a protocol for when to take offline data that hasn’t been accessed and when to disable accounts that have not been used.
- As much as possible, gain efficiency by combining requests to your vendor to ingest data, produce documents, etc. because many processes entail certain fixed steps regardless of data volume. Making fewer, larger requests is less expensive than making many smaller ones.
- When parties can’t agree on search terms or scope, consider applying a statistical sampling methodology to gain insight to the value of contested information.
- At the outset of a matter, negotiate to revisit contested search terms as information comes to light in review about the percentage of hits for a term that actually prove to be responsive. Seek to eliminate from later review volumes any terms that are over-capturing non-relevant material.
- Invest in technology that reduces end-to-end cost or accelerates fact development.
- Keep workflows as simple as possible. Custom requests and complex workflows are a major driver of ediscovery cost.
- Remember the downstream costs of every document in review, including multiple levels of review, QC steps and the number of documents subject to QC (often by associates), and post-production review for fact development. Client engagement to guide these steps is a significant opportunity for cost savings.
- Engage your vendor to review the ESI protocol before you agree to it. It’s not always intuitive which specifications will become costly to execute.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this topic further, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.