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Optimizing Your Infrastructure for LAW & Explore eDiscovery

By: Joshua Tucker

It’s safe to say Microsoft isn’t going out of business anytime soon. Last year alone they grew 18 percent, reaching 168 billion dollars*. They are continuously making updates to their software, improving their products and functionality, and purchasing emerging software. They want to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more*, but the power you obtain from the software is up to you. Microsoft does not know your intended purpose or use of their software; all they can do is provide the software and the barebone requirements to make it run.

CloudNine software is no different. Let’s take a deep dive into your infrastructure and how you can optimize it with the CloudNine on-premise processing platforms.

We see that several of our clients run their environments with the most minimal recommended resources. Just like Microsoft can’t know how large your SQL server needs to be, we don’t know the level of demand your client’s data is putting on your workstation. What we DO know is that the number of files per case is growing, the complexity of files is growing, and resources are sparse.

We will cover the areas where we can make vast improvements in the efficiency in the way you are using your CloudNine software.

Your Local Area Network

Let’s use the common “business triangles” as a frame of reference. Examples would be “people, technology, and process” or “team, leadership, and mission”, or, my favorite, “price, speed, and quality”. The more your balanced business triangle, the better. Too much or not enough emphasis on one side and that balance will start to wane.

The eDiscovery version of the business triangle is called the ‘Local Area Network’. The first side of this ‘Local Area Network’ is the hardware or the backbone of your infrastructure. The second side would be the software, or the muscle needed to use that backbone. The third side is your network file server or the brain’s storage area, which will hold all the knowledge that our software is going to discover for you. And finally, the three sides are then connected, like sinew, with your local network speed.

You want to find the sweet spot that balances cost, throughput demands, speed to review, and hardware budget. Let us go ahead and call this the “Goldilocks Zone”.

Real-life case study: About 8 years ago, we were working with a client that had a few virtual machines and a few physical machines. The virtual machines were 4 core and 8GB of RAM. The physical machines were 8 core and 16GB of RAM.  IT wanted to get rid of the physical machines, but there was resistance to letting them go because they were able to process so much faster than the virtual machines. We conducted some testing to find the Goldilocks Zone between the amount of data being processed, the expected speed, and the cost. We created a few virtual machines with 4, 8, and 12 cores and ran tests to determine the correct core count for our company. We determined that an 8-core box with 16GB of RAM was able to process data much faster than a 4-core box with only 8GB of RAM.

After we completed optimizing the processing machines, we ventured forth into the other areas of our infrastructure.

Next, we reached out to our SQL team to see what would happen if we added more RAM and more SQL cores. We saw the same result. As we added more resources, we found that we were able to increase the speed on LAW’s communication with SQL. Faster communication equals a faster read/write, which equated to a faster processing speed. During this testing we also found that the more SQL cores, the more we could horizontally spread out the processing tasks on our LAW machines (i.e., we could have more machines writing to the same database).

Note: Today, I have a simple equation to determine the correct size of SQL:  Take the total number of read/write instances that can be communicating or interacting with SQL. Divide that number by three. The resulting number is the SQL cores needed. For RAM, take the same number of instances and multiply it by four.

After we completed this environment review, we had larger machines, faster read/write capability, and more machines to process on each matter. The Goldilocks Zone for SQL ensures that you have the right number of SQL cores and RAM per instances that have read/write work with SQL.

(For LAW workstations is highly suggested at 8 core and 16gb of RAM. For Explore that was 8 core and 32gb of RAM.)

Note: Your LAN does not have to be local to your office, but SQL, the LAW database folder structure and the workstations all need to be in close proximity to each other. The closer the better.

Software and Upgrades

Let’s go back to our Microsoft analogy. Microsoft keeps improving their product and each version of the operating system has the potential of changing the location or how certain files work. It is imperative that the operating system that is installed on your workstations is supported by the version of the product that you are going to use. If it isn’t, the software could act in a way that is completely unexpected – or worse.

The data we process can be a threat to our organization (and this does go for everyone!) and the best way to protect yourself is to be up to date on patches and virus software. I highly suggest that you first patch in a test environment, testing each part of the tool and making sure that the patching will not interfere with your work. The more up to date you can test, the more secure your, and your client’s, data will be.

One thing I like about the right test environment is that once your testing is done, you can make an image and deploy that image to the rest of your workstations. It is fast and efficient.

How your processing engine gets metadata to you matters. For instance, there are engines, like LAW, that will expand the files and harvest all the metadata. This type of processing is slower in getting the data in review, but much faster in the final export. There are also engines, like CloudNine Explore, that will hold off on expanding the data but harvest all the text and metadata extremely quickly. This workflow is great for ECA purposes.

How deep these tools dig into your data is also important. You never want a want privileged document produced because your processing engine did not discover it. Find out if your engine is collecting all the natives, text, and metadata that you need for these legal matters, and then come up with a workflow that will accentuate the strengths of your tool.

Having an Investment in your File Storage

The price of data storage has been coming down for years. Which is great news considering the fact that discoverable data keeps growing and will continue grow at an astounding pace. It is estimated that this past year, that each person on the planet created 1.7 megabytes of information each second. Every matter’s data size has increased and with it, the speed to review. All of this must run efficiently, all of it must be backed up, and all of it must be in your disaster recovery plans.

Network speeds matters. It ties your infrastructure together. If the processing machine can’t talk to the SQL machines quickly, or to the network storage efficiently, then it won’t perform at top speed, no matter how many cores you have. Network speed should be considered not only for the processing department, but for your whole company. We highly suggest a gigabit network, and if you are a firm or legal service provider, you might want to be looking at a 10-gigabit network.

Even with a gigabit network, your workstations, SQL server, and file server need to be local to each other. Having one data center or a or central location helps keep those resources working more effectively, getting you a higher return on investment on your machines.

Pro tip! There is a quick and easy way to test your network speed without having to contacted IT. Find a photo that is near 1mb and put it in the source location. Log into one of your workstations, open a window to that source location, and drag that image to your desktop. Then, drag it back. Both times that you move this image should be instantaneous to you. If either move takes a more than one second, then your network speed needs to be improved.


It is our responsibility to figure out what we need to get full capacity out of outside tools. To run CloudNine’s LAW we need workstations that have at least an 8 core and 16gb RAM. For CloudNine Explore workstations, we need 8core and 32gb or RAM and SQL environment that adjusts to number of instances that are interacting with it.

Ensure that your software matches up with the recommended versions for your processing engine. If you are on or are working with an operating system that wasn’t on the list of that processing engine, we know that you could get unexpected results – or worse data. Line up the programs, test before you deploy, and stay up to date.

Know where your data is stored and the speed at which your systems talk to each other. Keep your environment in close proximity.

All in all, in order to get the top speed and performance out of CloudNine’s tools (or our third-party software your purchase), you must invest into the right resources.

Keep working towards your “Goldilocks Zone” – the sweet spot between speed, price, and quality.

If you are interested in having a CloudNine expert analyze your environment and provide recommendations for efficiencies, please contact us for a free Health Check.







eDiscovery in a Pandemic: How to Adapt to Turbulent Times

There’s no question COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on the way we live and work. With the new Delta variant surging among the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, the number of infections is rising once again. Unprecedented challenges are impacting law firms and legal document reviewers as well. 

From March 2020 to January 2021, New York City held only nine criminal jury trials.

For the first time in history, court trials dropped 99%  from the previous year in the country’s largest criminal jurisdictions. This is not an isolated occurrence as courts closed or severely reduced their caseloads to help stop the spread of the virus. This meant cases that should have closed were left open indefinitely, forcing law firms to keep their eDiscovery accounts open for longer than expected. 

Making matters worse, law firm clients found themselves unable to pay their invoices as the unemployment rate topped 14.8% in April 2020. While the economy has begun to recover, the unemployment rate still remained high at 5.8% in May 2021. This loss in client income had a predictable downstream effect on legal cases

Another consequence brought about by the lockdowns was the disruption of electronic discovery data collection. Law firms and their clients began shipping hard drives all over the country. New strategies had to be developed around data collection as document review service providers had to order hard drives, copy relevant ESI onto the hard drives, and then deliver them to the client. 

All of these challenges had a direct impact on revenue and forced expense cuts by collections, attending conferences, and certainly inviting clients to onsite meetings.

Ultimately, law firms will have to adopt new solutions or rethink old ones in order to thrive in this new, post-COVID world. The best way to do this? Adopt an agile, remote review process as part of your eDiscovery solution; learn how CloudNine Explore can help you adapt to the everchanging times here.

Be Prepared to Move Your eDiscovery Operations Remote 

When federal, state, and local governments began shutting down courthouses, law firms followed suit and sent their people home to work remotely. While every firm was different, size played a big part in how easy or difficult the transition was. 

For smaller firms, it didn’t take much – just a few tweaks to their infrastructure to allow remote access. Larger firms faced a bigger challenge as they had a lot more pieces to move to give everyone remote access to the shared drives and files they needed to do their jobs. 

In order to prepare for another shutdown or even a natural disaster preventing you from opening your office, CloudNine can help you convert from your standard in-office eDiscovery environment to a remote eDiscovery environment working easily and quickly. 

For firms already accustomed to interacting with the on-prem eDiscovery environment, they’ll automatically have full remote access to CloudNine Explore. They just need to have their network turned on and accessible. 

Some legal teams may not have the on-prem infrastructure in place to support that many users in one project at once, especially those teams that are large and spread. 

For these situations, we offer CloudNine Explore via our cloud so you can allow more users to access your data using our infrastructure at no additional infrastructure cost to them. With internet connectivity, you can access your CloudNine projects from any device, anywhere in the world. 

Add More Value to Your eDiscovery Retainer

Retainers are a good way to ensure clients are capable of meeting their financial obligations to your law firm. While most retainers are based on a specific dollar amount, some are established to run month-to-month or even year-to-year. These multi-year agreements help you establish a consistent revenue stream. To capture the best retainers, you need to have a reputation for being hard-working, committed, fair, and, most important, effective. 

Effective eDiscovery solutions bring value to your services beyond what other law firms have to offer. Highly efficient and secure, CloudNine Explore can eliminate duplicate or irrelevant files so you can focus on the documents that matter. With filtering tools that allow you to reduce the cost of processing by reducing the file size, you offer better value by providing more services for the price of your client’s retainer.

Improve Your ROI Through Your eDiscovery Solution

To help improve your services and increase value to your clients, you’ll want to understand how to maximize efficiency in your eDiscovery. CloudNine models out the cost of the solution versus the return you’ll get on your investment in the form of:

  • Data security
  • Cost reductions
  • Control over your data
  • Processing speed 

Plus, CloudNine partners with you to better understand your goals in order to offer a realistic solution so you know if you commit to X, Y, and Z today, you’re more likely to experience a higher return on your investment tomorrow. 

CloudNine also helps you level the playing field between larger law firms with astronomical budgets and smaller, more cost-conscience firms. By leveraging the solutions offered, you can access the same level of technology and services as larger law firms without investing in the infrastructure to host it. 

Learn how CloudNine Explore can help your firm be prepared for turbulent times, giving you added value to offer your clients, the ability to work remotely more effectively, and the confidence you need to invest in new solutions to get better ROI. Schedule a free demo with CloudNine today.

What Happened in Vegas? It’s No Secret – Read the Buzz

With many reasons to celebrate, CloudNine is still enjoying the excitement of our time Vegas last week. Visiting with valued customers and meeting new contacts are always fortunate opportunities. As an enhancement to those already fruitful conversations, we were thrilled to announce our expanded capabilities through the acquisition of ESI Analyst. Adding modern communication formats such as mobile, chat, social media and more to CloudNine’s powerful and proven applications, fills the market need to manage eDiscovery more effectively, with both modern and traditional data types, on a single platform.

The buzz of our expansion reached the news feeds across multiple social media channels.  A few highlights include:


Demonstrations are being scheduled now to debut CloudNine’s new technology – click to request a time to speak and a member of our team will be in touch to schedule.


Ready to try it out for yourself?  Request a free demo and see how CloudNine can help you.

Focusing on speed, security, simplicity, and services, CloudNine is dedicated to empowering our law firm and LSP clients with proven eDiscovery software solutions for litigation, investigations, and audits. 

Release Preview LAW 7.6

As data volumes grow, fortunately so has computer processing power.  CloudNine LAW and Explore 7.6 will take advantage of this power boost to amplify your speed to review and production.  The import technology behind both LAW’s Turbo Import and Explore uses a computer’s multiple processing cores more efficiently, making processing faster.

The application updates will include over 200 enhancements to build upon the already strong, import speeds of LAW and Explore.  The most notable improvement in LAW will be the introduction of a Turbo Imaging that can be used in parallel with existing imaging.  Turbo leverages near-native imaging technology to create static images of native files without relying on the native application.  This saves time while imaging, because the files don’t have to be opened, printed to image, and then closed.  The module can also take advantage of multiple processing cores, if available.  With imaging speeds up to eight times faster than the traditional imaging license, Turbo Imaging generates production-ready images quickly and easily.

In Explore, users will benefit from improved reporting capabilities.  This builds on Explore’s email threading, near duplicate detection, advanced filtering and integration with Relativity to provide a first-class, early case assessment experience, allowing clients to reduce the volume of data promoted for review by as much as 70%.  The import and ECA processes are all done without creating additional copies of the data until the client is ready to commit an export of potentially responsive content for further review.  This saves clients from storing copies of data that they don’t need, reducing cost and risk associated with managing multiple identical files.

To learn more about these and other enhancements coming in CloudNine LAW and Explore 7.6, please reach out to your account manager, or email us at to schedule an overview and demonstration.  We’re excited to give you a preview of these updates and plan a wider release in the week of September 13th, 2021.


Focusing on speed, security, simplicity, and services, CloudNine is dedicated to empowering our law firm and LSP clients with proven eDiscovery software solutions for litigation, investigations, and audits. 

Ready to try it out for yourself?  Request a free demo and see how CloudNine can help you.

Answer the Unknown Challenges of eDiscovery Review

When it comes to document review in electronic discovery, choosing a solution can be a daunting task. To make an informed decision, you need to know what challenges await you and how to overcome them. 

The three biggest challenges to address when looking for a document review platform are:

  • Security
  • Volume 
  • Cost

By better understanding these challenges and their impact on your operations and bottom line, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best eDiscovery software solution for your business.

Is My eDiscovery Data Safe and Protected?

The benefits of storing eDiscovery data in the cloud are many but, digital security and remote access top the list of concerns among legal teams and legal service providers (LSPs) for these reasons:

  • Lack of control over their data
  • Concerns about handing data over to a third party
  • Worried about their data integrity

Utilizing a company dependent on public cloud solutions like Azure or AWS, means you can’t specifically tell your client where your data actually is as it can be stored across multiple cloud locations.

Another topic, more relevant since the COVID-19 pandemic, is security for remote document review. Creating additional access points can cause worry about your network being vulnerable to data breaches.

Can My eDiscovery Software Handle the Volume and Variety of Records?

Investigations and litigation can create a lot of digital records, often soaring into the terabytes. This is compounded by the variety of digital records being used as evidence in legal proceedings, including:

  • Emails
  • Instant messages
  • Digital images
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Text messages
  • Social media posts
  • Websites

This volume and variety of data can have a detrimental impact on your operation if you don’t have the digital space to process or store it all. 

The more documents you have, the more infrastructure you need to support it. This can compromise your software performance which could affect your ability to navigate, search, report, export, or produce required information, in a timely manner.

If that happens, new eDiscovery projects could be delayed or canceled outright while you complete your current project. Delays could also lead to missed deadlines which could cause your clients to be sanctioned or fined by the courts.

Are eDiscovery Tools Cost-Effective?

Simply put, some eDiscovery software can be expensive. Many include a lot of features and functionality you may not even need but, you are charged generously for it. 

When looking for an eDiscovery solution, it is important to take the following into consideration in order to get the most cost-effective solution:

  • Is the pricing flexible, allowing you to pay only for what you need?
  • How much archived data is stored on the cloud vs. on-prem? Often a hybrid solution will provide you with the most cost savings. 
  • What support is included within your contract? In order to reap the most cost-saving benefits, it’s important to have your team well-versed in the eDiscovery tool.

The eDiscovery Solution – CloudNine Review

Secure, powerful, and cost-effective, CloudNine Review simplifies eDiscovery enabling you to upload documents quickly and to begin reviewing data within minutes. 

CloudNine Review utilizes a private cloud environment so you know where your data is at all times, giving you better audit controls and the assurance your data is intact. To protect client data, CloudNine cybersecurity safeguards are always up-to-date and constantly monitored.

Another safeguard to protect your data on the CloudNine platform are access controls allowing only authorized staff to review specific documents:

  • User-based permissions
  • Project-based rights
  • Document-level rights

By utilizing our private cloud platform, you have access to all of your data anywhere, anytime, without having to log into your network VPN. 

Also, CloudNine Review carries greater bandwidth so you’re able to get your data much faster. As an example, the first day for a new project can look like this:

  • Registered online and began uploading data
  • Uploaded 27 GB of PST email files
  • Processed 300,000 documents (emails and attachments)
  • A reduced document set by 61% with deduplication and irrelevant domain filtering

Imagine being able to accomplish all of that in just the first 24 hours.

The best part is you get what you pay for. CloudNine’s transparent pricing model includes multiple pricing methodologies so you’re never caught off-guard.

Beginning with a predictable upfront cost and low storage fees, CloudNine pricing models are designed to keep your costs down while providing the essential services you need.  To learn about our flexible pricing options, click here to speak to one of our eDiscovery experts.

  • All-in Model – one ‘all-in’ price with no hourly rates for self-service
  • Flex Model – low monthly storage costs for long-running litigation

Plus, you only pay for what you use if your case ends or becomes dormant. Older, dormant case data can be archived and saved at your own location using CloudNine Concordance to help you keep costs low and your data safely archived for the future.

Focusing on speed, security, simplicity, and services, CloudNine is dedicated to empowering our law firm and LSP clients with proven eDiscovery software solutions for litigation, investigations, and audits.

Ready to try it out for yourself? Request a free demo and see how CloudNine can help you.

GDPR is Here! Is Your Law Firm Fully Prepared for It? Maybe Not: Data Privacy Trends

Unless you live under a rock, you know that the deadline for compliance with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come and gone (it was May 25 – almost three weeks ago now).  So, does that mean your law firm is fully ready for it?  Based on the results of one survey, the odds are more than 50-50 that they’re not.

In Legaltech® News (Not Just Corporate: Law Firms Too Are Struggling With GDPR Compliance, written by Rhys Dipshan), the author covers a recent Wolters Kluwer survey which was conducted among 74 medium (26-100 staff members) to large (100-plus) law firms.  The result?  Less than half (47 percent) feel fully prepared to address the new GDPR requirements.  Another 16 percent of respondents said they were somewhat prepared and more than a third (37 percent) had made no specific preparations.

Barry Ader, vice president of product management and marketing at Wolters Kluwer, noted that part of the reason why many law firms were unprepared for GDPR was because they thought there would be an extension to the deadline. “Many of the law firms kind of half expected that there would be a delay, and they wouldn’t have had to solve the problem by May 25,” he said.  Ader also noted that the lack of preparation was also a sign that “law firms just don’t have the necessary skills, people, and budget to figure out how to handle GDPR.”

Other notable results:

  • Fewer than half of respondents (43 percent) had assigned a Data Protection Officer, a requirement of many organizations under GDPR. However, nearly 60 percent had assigned an individual, team or outside consultant to lead GDPR compliance efforts. And, approximately 72 percent of those surveyed were also investing in cybersecurity solutions due to the new regulation.
  • With regard to employee training on security, the survey found that only 43 percent of law firms conducted security and privacy training annually, while 24 percent had done training in the past three years. An additional 15 percent said that while they did not currently train employees, they were planning to do so in the near future. Amazingly, 17 percent of respondents did not conduct training and had no plans to train at all.

If you’re a client of a law firm, you may want to check to see if your firm can demonstrate full preparedness for GDPR.  If you believe this survey, chances are greater that they can’t do so than they can.

So, what do you think?  Is your organization fully prepared for GDPR?  Please let us know if any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Law Firm Sues Insurer Over $700K in Lost Billings Due to Ransomware Attack: eDiscovery Trends

Ransomware attacks, and what to do about them is one of the topics we’ll be discussing at our webcast on Wednesday, May 31.  For more info on where to register, click here.

A small Rhode Island law firm has filed a lawsuit against its insurance company after the insurer refused to pay $700,000 in lost billings following a ransomware attack on the firm that locked down the firm’s computer files for three months.

According to the Providence Journal (‘Ransomware’ locks down prominent Providence law firm, written by Katie Mulvaney), Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd. is suing its insurer, Sentinel Insurance Co., for breach of contract and bad faith after it denied its claim for lost billings over the three-month period the documents were frozen last year by the so-called “ransomware” attack.

According to the suit, Moses Afonso Ryan’s computers became infected with the ransomware virus last year as a result of a lawyer clicking on an email attachment. The virus disabled the firm’s computer network, along with all of the documents and information on the network. As a result, lawyers and staffers “were rendered essentially unproductive,” according to the suit.

The firm ultimately agreed to pay the cybercriminals the $25,000 ransom in bitcoins, cyber currency that is virtually impossible to trace, to unlock its files.  However, the process took three months as the firm negotiated the terms, established a bitcoin account and had to re-negotiate the deal and pay additional bitcoins after the first set of decryption tools failed to work.

During this data seizure period, the firm alleges its 10 attorneys were left unproductive, resulting in a loss of $700,000 in billings to the firm.

In its answer to the complaint, Sentinel denies an unjustified refusal to provide coverage under the law firm’s business owner’s policy and says it has paid the law firm the policy maximum of $20,000 for losses caused by computer viruses, which are covered under a computers and media endorsement.  The insurer says it has no legal obligation to cover other ransomware losses. The firm’s loss in business income does not meet its policy requirements, according to Sentinel.

A copy of the suit filed by Moses Afonso Ryan and the answer filed by Sentinel are available from ABA Journal.

So, what do you think?  Do you know how to protect yourself from a ransomware attack?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Ransom Image Copyright © Touchstone Pictures

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

What Are the Biggest Challenges for Law Departments in 2016? This Report Has Some Answers: eDiscovery Trends

According to Consilio’s Law Department Benchmarking Report, a survey encompassing data from 119 company’s law departments ranging in revenue from 2 to 10 billion dollars which was released on Tuesday, over 50 percent of law departments find that increasing or changing regulatory requirements pose the biggest challenge in 2016.  That, and other, findings can be found in the report, which is now available.

The sixth annual survey aims to help general counsel (GCs) better understand the effectiveness of their operating processes and was conducted in partnership with The General Counsel Forum.  We covered last year’s survey here when it was issued by Huron Legal (which, as you probably know by now, was acquired by Consilio a couple of months ago).

As noted in Consilio’s press release announcement of the report, while 58 percent of law departments have an internal data-privacy program, just 21 percent take the same precautions with information shared externally when managing vendors. The lack of risk-assessment programs makes sensitive data vulnerable to hacking and other cyber threats.

“As security concerns become more commonplace, law departments are working to ensure proper data security measures are implemented to protect sensitive company information both internally and externally,” said Bret Baccus, managing director, Consilio. “We’re seeing more companies use objective, metrics-based measurements to assess outside counsel and other providers’ security capabilities. Those metrics are being used to select third-party vendors based on the risk level in sharing confidential information and data.”

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Spending continued to increase, although at a lower rate than the prior year – at 7 percent from 2014 to 2015 as compared to an increase of 2.2 percent from 2013 to 2014.
  • Law departments are becoming more sophisticated in spend management, with 67 percent of respondents using matter-level budgets and 74 percent having, or planning to implement, structured programs for conducting rate negotiations.
  • The top department initiative planned over the next three years was formalization of outside counsel performance review process (with 46 percent of respondents either already implementing or planning to implement within the next 2-3 years), followed by development of an enterprise information governance program (38 percent) and tracking of department metrics and performance indicators (36 percent).
  • As law departments look to effectively manage costs and workloads, many are more often outsourcing discovery work to non-law firm vendors. Over 75 percent of companies with over $10 billion in revenue reported using alternative service providers for document review and data processing/hosting, with 44 percent of companies between $2 and $10 billion reporting the same.
  • Discovery management programs are fairly common at the largest companies, but relatively few companies with revenue under $10 billion have them, even though for companies with any volume of litigation those programs can reduce risk by improving consistency and defensibility and save money by limiting the need to “reinvent the wheel” with each new case.

The highlights of the Law Department Benchmarking Report are available for download here.  For more information about the complete report, please contact Bret Baccus ( or 7132225910) or Jaime Woltjen ( or 312-880-3737).

So, what do you think?  Are you surprised by any of these trends?  Please share any comments you might have with us or let us know if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

P.S. — Happy Birthday to my wife, Paige!  I love you honey!

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Legal Salaries on the Rise? That’s the Half of It: eDiscovery Trends

Robert Half, that is.

Robert Half’s 2016 Legal Salary Guide features salary ranges for more than 100 positions in the legal field and provides some other interesting statistics, as well.  According to the Guide, average starting salaries for lawyers at law firms are expected to increase 3.5 percent in 2016.  And, salaries for experienced litigation support and eDiscovery directors and managers are expected to rise even more than that.

The salary figures in the 2016 edition are based on a number of sources, most notably the thousands of full-time, temporary and project placements Robert Half’s staffing and recruiting professionals make each year. Here are some breakdowns:

  • Lawyers: Starting salaries for lawyers with 10-plus years’ experience are expected to increase 0 to 4.7 percent from 2015 (depending on the size of the firm). A lawyer with 10-plus years’ experience at a large firm (75+ lawyers) is expected to hit an average range of $194,250 to $279,500 annually.  First-year associates’ salaries are expected to increase 2.2 to 2.7 percent increase over 2015 projections.  Corporate in house counsel are expected to see average compensation gains of 2.2 to 3.7 percent over 2015 levels, with the more experienced in house counsel trending toward the top end of that range (average range of $185,250 to $259,750 annually).
  • Paralegals/Legal Assistants: Starting salaries for paralegals/legal assistants are expected to increase 0 to 4.0 percent from 2015. Senior legal assistants with 7+ years of experience are expected to make as much as $96,750 annually at large law firms.
  • Litigation Support/eDiscovery: Starting salaries for litigation support/eDiscovery directors and managers are expected to increase from 4 to 5.7 percent annually from 2015. The top end of the salary range for litigation support/eDiscovery directors with 10+ years of experience is $130,500.  Document coders also see an increase – 3.6 percent over 2015.

The guide also provides salary expectations for office managers, legal secretaries, legal specialists and contract and compliance administration positions for both law firms and corporate legal.  Not surprisingly, they’re all up.

Other notable statistics:

  • Lawyers’ top responses to the question “Aside from compensation or bonus, which of the following provides the best incentive for legal professionals to remain with a law firm/ company?” were as follows: Challenging work or variety of assignments (39 percent), Professional development opportunities (26 percent), Flexible work arrangements (20 percent).
  • 71 percent of lawyers said blended or hybrid paralegal/legal secretary positions are more common today than they were two years ago.
  • The top two practice areas that are expected to generate the greatest number of legal jobs in the next two years in the US are: Litigation (33 percent) and General Business/Commercial Law (26 percent).

The survey guide also provides an adjustment for various US cities across the country (obviously, salaries are much higher in New York (140 percent of the reported numbers for the different positions) than in Duluth, MN (79.6 percent).  For example, the top end of the salary range for litigation support/eDiscovery directors with 10+ years of experience in Houston (107.5 percent for my hometown) is actually $140,287 (just sayin’).  So, you can adjust the numbers based on local variances.  The guide even has a Canada section, eh?

The FREE 36 page PDF guide is available here.  Check it out.  Maybe you need a raise?

So, what do you think?  Do the numbers surprise you?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

eDiscovery Throwback Thursdays – How things evolved, part 3

So far in this blog series, we’ve taken a look at the ‘litigation support culture’ circa 1980, and we’ve covered how databases were built and used.  We’ve come a long way since then, and in the past couple of weeks we’ve discussed how things have evolved — we’ll continue that this week. First, though, If you missed the earlier posts in this series, they can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve talked about the form in which document collections were stored and the evolution – first in paper form, then on microfilm, then microfiche, and then as digital images.  Database content has evolved too.  Early databases included coded information only.  In the mid 1980’s, litigation support professionals starting thinking about and talking about OCR (optical character recognition) technology, mostly because one of the main-stream litigation support vendors promoted the advantages of full-text databases.

The primary advantage was, of course, the availability of all words on a document for searching.  There was a price-tag though, because the starting point was still paper.  Text was captured in an OCR scanning process.  Like image technology, full-text took a while to catch on in our industry.  The biggest hurdle initially was a lack of confidence in the results – with good reason.  At the time, searching the internet wasn’t mainstream, so the average litigation team member wasn’t comfortable with employing a less-than-rigid search method.

In addition, search technology was less advanced than it is today, so there was a greater burden on the user to get a search right.  And, OCR technology wasn’t as advanced either, so there were a lot of errors in the scanning process – errors that affected search results. Over time, however, these things changed.  Average business people became more and more comfortable searching text (thanks in large part to Google); search technology advanced; and OCR technology advanced.

Eventually, including full-text in a database became the norm, and even started replacing coded information.  Another factor that contributed to the evolution of full-text was the cost to store data.  It used to be expensive.  I remember sitting in meetings where attorneys debated on things like using abbreviations and punctuation in databases because of the expense of storage – they looked for every way they could to cut down on the data that was stored.  As storage costs went down over the years, it became easier to justify including full-text in databases.

These changes — databases that included images and full-text, coupled with advanced search technology – made a huge change in how litigation databases were used.  Databases were no longer a ‘back-office’ tool – they were used directly by attorneys, and they provided attorneys with very, very fast access to their documents.  By the mid 1990’s litigation databases were not only main stream, but they were regularly portable.  Not only did attorneys have almost-immediate access to their documents – they had that access even when not in the office.

This brings us up to the 1990’s, at which point electronic discovery quickly emerged as the next big advancement.  I won’t cover the evolution of it in this series… CloudNine has documented that well here in its eDiscovery Daily Blog.

This post concludes the Throwback Thursday blog series. I hope you enjoyed this look back at the way things used to be in our industry!

Please let us know if there are eDiscovery topics you’d like to see us cover in eDiscoveryDaily.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.