eDiscovery Daily Blog

Does Size Matter? – Best of eDiscovery Daily

Vive la France!  Today is our third full day in Paris and we’re planning to have lunch at the Eiffel Tower, which is really large.  For the next two weeks except for Jane Gennarelli’s Throwback Thursday series, we will be re-publishing some of our more popular and frequently referenced posts.  Today’s post is one that has generated a lot of discussion over the years.  Enjoy!

I admit it, with a title like “Does Size Matter?”, I’m looking for a few extra page views.  😉

I frequently get asked how big does an ESI collection need to be to benefit from eDiscovery technology.  In a recent case with one of my clients, the client had a fairly small collection – only about 4 GB.  But, when a judge ruled that they had to start conducting depositions in a week, they needed to review that data in a weekend.  Without culling the data and using OnDemand® to manage the linear review, they would not have been able to make that deadline.  So, they clearly benefited from the use of eDiscovery technology in that case.

But, if you’re not facing a tight deadline, how large does your collection need to be for the use of eDiscovery technology to provide benefits?

I recently conducted a webinar regarding the benefits of First Pass Review – aka Early Case Assessment (ECA), or a more accurate term (as George Socha points out regularly), Early Data Assessment.  One of the topics discussed in that webinar was the cost of review for each gigabyte (GB).  Extrapolated from an analysis conducted by Anne Kershaw a few years ago (and published in the Gartner report E-Discovery: Project Planning and Budgeting 2008-2011), here is a breakdown:

Estimated Cost to Review All Documents in a GB:

  • Pages per GB:                   75,000
  • Pages per Document:        4
  • Documents Per GB:           18,750
  • Review Rate:                    50 documents per hour
  • Total Review Hours:          375
  • Reviewer Billing Rate:       $50 per hour

Total Cost to Review Each GB:      $18,750

Notes: The number of pages per GB can vary widely.  Page per GB estimates tend to range from 50,000 to 100,000 pages per GB, so 75,000 pages (18,750 documents) seems an appropriate average.  50 documents reviewed per hour is considered to be a fast review rate and $50 per hour is considered to be a bargain price.  eDiscovery Daily provided an earlier estimate of $16,650 per GB based on assumptions of 20,000 documents per GB and 60 documents reviewed per hour – the assumptions may change somewhat, but, either way, the cost for attorney review of each GB could be expected to range from at least $16,000 to $18,000, possibly more.

Advanced culling and searching capabilities of tools like OnDemand can enable you to cull out 70-80% of most collections as clearly non-responsive without having to conduct attorney review on those files.  If you have merely a 2 GB collection and assume the lowest review cost above of $16,000 per GB, the use of an ECA tool to cull out 70% of the collection can save $22,400 in attorney review costs.  Is that worth it?

So, what do you think?  Do you use eDiscovery technology for only the really large cases or ALL cases?   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 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.