eDiscovery Daily Blog
Understanding and Managing eDiscovery Costs
For a medium-sized lawsuit, eDiscovery costs can range anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 million dollars.  This price has been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19 on communication data. According to the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), the pandemic has created a data explosion by encouraging frequent usage of chat applications. Meanwhile, the levels of email and other data types have remained constant.  As time passes, the list of communication types will continue to expand with new collaboration tools and social media platforms. On one hand, these changes have made communicating with loved ones and coworkers easier than ever. On the other hand, the influx of modern data types has created an expensive headache for legal teams.
Current Approaches to the Problem
To handle litigation costs, companies often try to cut labor costs, increase review rates, and group documents together. However, each of these approaches can only do so much. For instance, it’s risky for companies to save money through temporary attorneys or LPO companies. Though the strategy is cost-efficient, it creates new challenges surrounding logistics, data security, attorney-client privilege, and oversight. The second method was increasing the speed of review. This method holds some promise, but its efficiency depends on the type of review. Automated review is great at accelerating the process, but human review speeds are harder to manage. At best, an expert review can review 100 documents per hour. Yet, the benefit of speed comes at the chance of comprehension errors. Grouping documents isn’t an efficient solution either. The technique uses computerized technology to categorize similar documents together. Though this method is good for organizational purposes, it does nothing to minimize the volume of data. 
Cost-Saving eDiscovery Strategies
- Don’t spend too much time on search term negotiations. It’s easy for opposing parties to lose time and money while fretting over each search term; however, this practice forces counsel to work overtime to meet deadlines. Consequently, companies will have to pay higher attorney fees. The best solution would be to agree on a handful of search terms and run the data through machine learning systems for review.
- Avoid overusing issue coding. Though issue codes are useful for organizing documents, excessive issue coding makes the review process slower and more expensive. Consider limiting the codes to 8-10 per document.
- Eliminate unnecessary attachments from important documents (i.e. company logos and icons). These attachments can be eliminated manually or through a modern data processing system. 
- Engage in the discovery process as soon as possible. By contacting legal counsel early on, companies can reduce the time and money needed for processing and review.
- Stay prepared for the possibility of litigation by instructing employees on storing and accessing important documents. This method will save time and money by making the documents easier to find. 
 Sarah Gayda, “How Law Firms Can Proactively Reduce eDiscovery Risk & Cost,” Iltanet, May 21, 2021.
 Nicholas M. Pace, Laura Zakaras, “The Cost of Producing Electronic Documents in Civil Lawsuits,” RAND Institute for Civil Justice, 2012.
 Lisa Prowse, “Review is Not the Most Expensive Part of E-discovery,” KMWorld, October 29, 2020.
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