By Rob Hellewell

Published on Tue, May 15, 2018

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Pricing in the ediscovery industry has often been nuanced, opaque, inconsistent, and unpredictable, leading to confusion, frustration, and sometimes the feeling of being nickel and dimed. There has often been no clear way to compare and contrast vendors, third-party solutions, etc. But, why? There are several stages to ediscovery, as seen in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), each of which involves separate tasks, and, too often, each task has its own cost component. There are numerous service add-ons, data volume premiums, and even data type pricing (as some data types are harder to collect or require the implementation or purchasing of new technology). All of this, along with the various delivery models for ediscovery services, constitutes a major challenge for corporations, law firms, and vendors alike. As a result of these challenges and the competitive pressure to continuously  demonstrate value, even beyond the technology and workflows, have led to the advent of subscription-based pricing.

What is subscription-based pricing?

Subscription-based pricing is essentially a payment structure that allows you to pay for a specific set of services over a specific period of time (usually monthly or annual) for a set price point. Most payment structures have three to five tiers of services and contracts can range to anywhere from a one to three-year subscription.

Why does this type of pricing work so well in ediscovery?

Subscription-based pricing helps alleviate the pain points mentioned above by providing clients with a more complete and predictable cost for the services they are buying. This transparency alleviates the feeling of being nickeled and dimed, by avoiding unexpected charges or overages. With cost predictability, teams are able to more effectively budget for their ediscovery spend. There is more flexibility and room for growth with a subscription pricing model, (i.e. if you suddenly get a new matter with a greater-than-expected amount of data to host, or if you have less litigation during a certain time of year) as you can more easily move up and down within the pricing model options. Importantly, subscription-based pricing models usually bundle the most useful services together, allowing clients to purchase based on their needs.

Who is the ideal purchaser of subscription-based pricing?

  • Portfolio has sufficient number of matters and activity so that ediscovery work is routinely ongoing
  • Has enterprise-level ediscovery budgeting
  • Wants to leverage large purchasing for discounted pricing
  • Wants predictable pricing

If the above points ring true for you and your teams, get started today. Check with your ediscovery provider to see if they have this offering, do your research on what is out there, and select a subscription-based pricing model based on your needs. Just as there are various service delivery models across the industry, there are various subscription-based pricing models as well.

To discuss this topic further, or if you have questions, please connect with me at RHellewell@lighthouseglobal.com.

About the Author
Rob Hellewell

Vice President

At Lighthouse, Rob counsels the world’s top corporations and law firms in ediscovery and leveraging analytics, data science, and technology to extract critical insights from data. Rob’s expertise includes applying analytics and developing data-driven solutions to reduce risk in compliance and legal matters.

Rob’s education and professional experience combine data analytics and legal expertise. He received his M.S. in Business Analytics from New York University, where his research focused on applying text mining, metadata, and sentiment analysis to detect legal risk in unstructured data sources. He received his J.D. from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. Rob previously practiced in the Antitrust and Trade Regulation group of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he counseled clients in connection with complex litigation and regulatory investigations from the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and other state and federal agencies.