Evidence

Four Tips for Successful Meet and Confers

When approaching any challenge or goal, it’s often best to start with the big picture before narrowing things down. By working backwards, you can identify the steps needed to achieve the desired result. This type of thinking can be applied to Rule 26(f) conferences (also known as meet and confers). As mandated by Rule 26(f) of the FRCP, both parties must meet at least 21 days before holding a scheduling conference. The purpose of the meet and confer is to discuss litigation details such as data preservation, privilege issues, the form of production, and expenses. To get the ball rolling, counsel can prepare a list of general questions: What data types need to be collected? How should the scope of discovery be defined? What pace is needed to meet court-established deadlines? General questions like these build a solid foundation for deeper inquiries and concerns. [1]

More Tips for Meet and Confers

  1. Initiate the conference early.

The meet and confer process is not something that can or should be rushed. Negotiation takes time, patience, and multiple attempts. Waiting until the last-minute benefits no one. Instead of frantically rushing to meet deadlines, schedule the meet and confer as soon as possible. Sometimes, counsel is hesitant to meet early because they feel that they don’t have enough information and prep time. Thus, in addition to meeting early, parties should also meet often. Multiple conferences allow the parties to fully understand and iron out the details.

  1. Identify and evaluate the accessibility of relevant data types.

Companies interact with a variety of data types on a daily basis – email, Facebook, Zoom, the list goes on. Producing each one would be burdensome, expensive, and unnecessary. Only focus on relevant data types that are proportional to the needs of the case. Companies also regularly create and destroy large volumes of information. Therefore, you must assess their data retention policies to determine what information is stored and where. Once that’s settled, consider whether the data types are too expensive or inaccessible for production.

  1. Walk in with the right mindset.

Compromise is impossible to reach without flexibility from both parties. At the same time, neither party should feel obligated to concede to all proposals. Meet and confers should be thought of as open dialogues. Discuss, debate, and engage in respectful arguments when necessary. Above all, cooperate by ensuring your suggestions are reasonable and proportional. [2]  If this aspect is a concern, consider hiring a discovery expert. Through their industry knowledge, experts can assess the opposing party’s discovery systems and requests.

  1. Understand your client’s data policies and systems.

Before heading into the meet and confer, try to gather as much information as possible. Ask your client if they have any formal information governance policies. If not, probe further to identify how and where their data is stored. It’s also important to identify the person or department in charge of storing said data. The client’s IT environment must be understood as well. Inquire about the quantity and locations of company computers. Additionally, request information about the company’s software programs, backup schedules, data custodians, etc. [1]

 

[1] Ronald I. Raether Jr., “Preparing for the Rule 26(f) Scheduling Conference and Other Practical Advice in the Wake of the Recent Amendments to the Rules Governing E-Discovery,” The Federal Lawyer, August 2007.

[2] Scott Devens, “Defensible Strategies for the ‘Meet and Confer,’” Bloomberg Law, Oct. 18, 2011.

Increasing Your Technological Competence, Part 2

Collaboration apps, forensic tools, and discovery software are just a few technologies that an attorney must juggle regularly. As old technologies update and new ones emerge, will you adapt or fall behind? At first, keeping up with these changes may seem impossible, but there are multiple steps you can take. Brush up on your knowledge by reading case law, eDiscovery blogs, and regulations on data collection. Learn more about the retention policies for popular social media and messaging platforms. Discuss industry news and trends at conferences or with colleagues. [1] The list goes on. In 2015, the California Bar committee weighed in on the topic, providing a list of 9 skills needed for technological competence. In part 1 of this mini-series, we discussed the first five skills listed by the committee. As the last segment on increasing technological competence, this blog will identify the final four skills.

Explanations of the Final Four Skills

  1. Engage in a competent and meaningful Meet and Confer with opposing counsel concerning an eDiscovery plan.

Industry knowledge and open-mindedness are the key to any successful Meet and Confer. If both sides lack these aspects, compromise will be difficult to achieve. For the knowledge aspect, lawyers must be well-versed in technical skills and ESI investigative practices. Technical skills are useful for resolving processing and production issues. Familiarity with the best practices for eDiscovery will also save you time, money, and headaches.

  1. Perform data searches.

Before conducting a data search, litigants must decide their search method: keyword searching and/or predictive coding (TAR). As the traditional approach for document review, keyword searches are often seen as the safer choice. Though filters and queries can be used to refine the searches, studies have shown that TAR is more effective and cost-efficient. In fact, litigants who opt for TAR over keyword searches save 50 to 70 percent in review costs. [2] Though both approaches can be used at once, the order of usage is important. In FCA US, LLC v. Cummins, Inc., No. 16-12883 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 28, 2017), Judge Cohn only permitted keyword searches after the TAR process was finalized. [3]

  1. Collect responsive ESI in a manner that preserves the integrity of the ESI.

While selecting the form of production, you must consider how the data and metadata will be presented. Typically, native files are preferred over static TIFF or PDF images because they preserve the document’s metadata. Though the requesting party may call for a specific form of production, the court can deny requests and issue sanctions for noncompliance. The integrity of the ESI is also impacted by the means of data collection. To ensure that the correct metadata fields (creation date, modification date, etc.) are shown, collect the evidence through appropriate forensic and eDiscovery software.

  1. Produce responsive, non-privileged ESI in a recognized and appropriate manner.

Through respectful communication and cooperation, parties must negotiate an ESI protocol that details production and review specifications. These specifications must include the required media types, format of production, and preferred review software. After agreeing on the most efficient methods and tools, disclose the negotiated discovery plan to the court. [2]

 

[1] Matthew Knouff, “How to Gain & Maintain Technology Competence — Element 1: Education — Part 1 of 3,” ESI Survival Guide, March 30, 2021.

[2] Hon. Joy Flowers Conti and Richard N. Lettieri, “E-Discovery Ethics: Emerging Standards of Technological Competence,” The Federal Lawyer, 2015.

[3] Doug Austin, “Court Determines TAR Without Keyword Search Culling First is Preferable: eDiscovery Case Law,” CloudNine. https://cloudnine.com/ediscoverydaily/electronic-discovery/court-determines-tar-without-keyword-search-culling-first-preferable-ediscovery-case-law/?pg=ediscoverydaily/ethics/increasing-your-technological-competence-part-2/

Increasing Your Technological Competence, Part 1

From the CloudNine family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season! As a gift of knowledge, this article will focus on defining and maintaining high levels of technological competence. To effectively represent their clients, a lawyer must actively update their knowledge on legislative changes. The American Bar Association referred to this skill in Rule 1.1 as “competence.” The rule originally called for lawyers to possess the “legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” [1] In 2012, the ABA expanded the definition through an amendment concerning technological competence. According to Matthew Knouff from ESI Survival Guide, 39 states adopted this rule in some form by March 2021. South Dakota, Rhode Island, Oregon, New Jersey, Nevada, Mississippi, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii, Georgia, and Alabama are the main exceptions to this trend. [2] Though Rule 1.1’s amendment laid out the framework, it didn’t provide instructions on how lawyers should build their technological competence. To achieve this duty, the California Bar committee issued an opinion, outlining 9 necessary skills. Since this opinion was crafted through examinations of federal cases, these skills could be applicable to various states.

Explanations of the First Five Skills

  1. Initially assess e-discovery needs and issues, if any.

In fear of the cost and rules of e-discovery, some lawyers try to avoid the practice altogether. By doing so, lawyers disadvantage their clients by missing out on relevant ESI. Instead of yielding to eDiscovery trepidation, conduct an initial assessment to determine the cost, timeframe, and data types needed for the investigation. Consider the value of the claims in comparison with the costs of processing and production. Determining which data types must be collected and how much time is allotted for the process. These examinations can act as a starting point in assessing the proportionality of the production request.

  1. Implement or cause to implement appropriate ESI preservation procedures.

To accomplish this skill, lawyers should acquaint themselves with their client’s IT setup. Once the preservation responsibilities have been established, clients and custodians should be informed with clear, written instructions. It’s important to follow up with clients and custodians to ensure that they are complying with the preservation requirements to avoid spoliation sanctions. If requesting ESI from opposing counsel, send a preservation letter that identifies what data should be preserved and where it can be found.

  1. Analyze and understand a client’s systems and storage.

Get familiar with your client’s IT environment and staff. It’s beneficial to request data maps of complex systems and speak directly to the IT staff. Through this knowledge and ease in communication, lawyers will gain a better sense of where relevant ESI may lie. After determining the location of the data, one can access how difficult and/or expensive it will be to access the information.

  1. Advise the client about available options for collection and preservation of ESI.

The scope and cost of preservation might be huge when dealing with larger companies due to their larger volumes of data and longer lists of custodians. However, lawyers should not concern themselves with burdensome collections unless the information is proportional to the case. During Rule 26(f) conferences, consult opposing counsel on the scope of discovery in relation to the costs of collection and production. If the parties determine that the discovery request is disproportional, seek guidance from the court.

  1. Identify custodians of relevant ESI.

After identifying the custodians who possess relevant data, categorize the list into two categories: primary custodians and secondary custodians. As the terms suggest, primary custodians have more direct involvement with the information than secondary custodians. To save money, counsel can decide to initially search for primary custodians within a limited time frame. If necessary and proportional, the search can be expanded to encompass secondary custodians. [3]

 

[1] Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1

[2] Matthew Knouff, “How to Gain & Maintain Technology Competence — Element 1: Education — Part 1 of 3,” March 30, 2021.

[3] Hon. Joy Flowers Conti and Richard N. Lettieri, “E-Discovery Ethics: Emerging Standards of Technological Competence,” The Federal Lawyer, 2015.

Understanding and Managing eDiscovery Costs

For a medium-sized lawsuit, eDiscovery costs can range anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 million dollars. [1] 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. [2] 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. [3]

Cost-Saving eDiscovery Strategies

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. [4]
  4. 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.
  5. 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. [5]

 

[1] “Reducing eDiscovery Costs” Whitepaper, Canon Discovery Services, 2018.

[2] Sarah Gayda, “How Law Firms Can Proactively Reduce eDiscovery Risk & Cost,” Iltanet, May 21, 2021.

[3] Nicholas M. Pace, Laura Zakaras, “The Cost of Producing Electronic Documents in Civil Lawsuits,” RAND Institute for Civil Justice, 2012.

[4] Lisa Prowse, “Review is Not the Most Expensive Part of E-discovery,” KMWorld, October 29, 2020.

[5] Scott Carvo, Madelaine C. Lane, and Janet Ramsey, “Creative Ways to Cut Down on E-discovery Costs,” Grand Rapid’s Business Journal, September 4, 2020.

Document Review in a Remote World

COVID-19 has transformed the document review process. Traditionally, document review was conducted in person by experts at review centers. As COVID-19 rates increased, fears for individual health and safety mandated the transition to remote review. Though remote review became a sudden necessity, it’s not a new concept. The transition began long before the pandemic at a slow but steady pace. More and more organizations transitioned their discovery to the cloud after recognizing the financial and security benefits. Even without the pandemic-induced acceleration, the trend would have accumulated more momentum with time. Nonetheless, organization that were unprepared or on the fence were suddenly faced with new challenges and security demands. No one knows if remote review will be the new “normal.” It’s too soon to judge the permanency of the change. For now, organizations should recognize the benefits of the opportunity and adjust their review procedures accordingly.

The Benefits of Remote Review

  • Through remote operation, document review has become more flexible than ever. Talented experts from various states can provide their expertise. Organizations with remote review are not restrained by geographical limitations when seeking qualified providers. The geographic freedom also eliminates the need to pay for a provider’s travel and lodging.
  • Providers have shown increased morale and productivity due to greater flexibility with their hours and breaks. They are also spared from commute expenses. Through happier employees, organizations can raise the efficiency of their review process.
  • Through remote review, organizations gain cloud scalability. Resources and storage space can be altered to quickly meet changing demands.
  • By reducing the production of discoverable copies, remote review can offer some security advantages. Organizations can also strengthen their  security by using multifactor authentication tools. [1]
  • Remote review minimizes the risks associated with employee movement. The workforce is like a revolving door; new employees constantly join and leave their jobs. Though this cycle is normal, it often leads to the accidental corruption or destruction of valuable data. Since remote review is convenient and flexible, it often improves employee retention. [2]

Tips on Handling Document Review

  • Optimize communication among counsel, reviewers, and clients through collaboration tools and teleconferences.
  • Collaborate with your team to create a comprehensive plan tailored to your security and operation needs. This plan should address topics such as staffing, training, and oversight measures.
  • Before establishing a review plan, ask your providers about the quality of their review space and security measures. [3]
  • Consult with your clients and partners as you draft your remote review policies.
  • Keep your data secure through a VPN, multifactor authentication tool, and/or an access program. [4]

 

[1] David Greetham, “Remote eDiscovery: Pandemic Accommodation or Improvement,” Above The Law, May 29, 2020.

[2] Antonio Rega, “Understanding the E-Discovery Implications of Employee Status Changes,” Today’s General Counsel, April 7, 2014.

[3] Jonathan Hurtarte, “Insight: Covid-19 and E-Discovery Challenges With Remote Document Review,” Bloomberg Law, May 11, 2020.

[4]  SKJ Juris, “Impact of Covid-19 on Remote Document Review,” SKJ Juris, 2020.

How to Maintain eDiscovery Data Integrity

Emails, text messages, legal documents, written letters, faxes, and more: your eDiscovery team sorts, reviews, and analyzes all of these documents and more during the span of a legal case. When handling these confidential documents, it is important to keep these documents safe and secure. 

As a vital part of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), any data collected is done so with the intent to capture it exactly as intended or as it was actively being used. This ensures the searchability and traceability of your data so it can be properly collected, indexed, and documented for use in litigation.

To simplify this for eDiscovery, data integrity means ensuring the legal data you collect is accurate and consistent throughout its lifecycle. Maintaining eDiscovery data integrity is not only vital for the privacy and protection of your clients, but also for the integrity of your legal investigation.

At CloudNine, we take data integrity very seriously. Read on to learn about our recommended best practices for maintaining data integrity during your eDiscovery process or learn how we put those best practices into play with CloudNine Explore here.

Protecting the Quality of Your eDiscovery Data

Data types are constantly evolving. By 2025, the number of IoT devices deployed globally will surpass 25 billion. 

The variety, velocity, and complexity of electronic evidence multiply with each new generation and innovation of data technology. While email, spreadsheets, and documents are still the primary form of data collected, social media, streaming data, and data products continue to rise in prevalence. 

This rise in data types means your vigilance must increase with the introduction of each new technology or update with the average U.S. civil case collecting 130 GBs of data the average U.S. civil case collecting 130 GBs of data

To protect your clients and your firm, know the factors which can affect your eDiscovery data integrity:

  1. Mistakes due to human error: Your eDiscovery data integrity can become jeopardized any time human involvement is required. Data can be input incorrectly, duplicated, or deleted. Protocols, methods, or procedures can be ignored or designed incorrectly.   
  2. Transfer errors: If your eDiscovery data isn’t transferred properly from one database to another or if one is damaged or compromised, your file could become fragmented or corrupted. 
  3. Viruses or malware: Any outside software that can infiltrate your network has the potential to alter, erase or steal critical data.
  4. Compromised hardware: Any time your network experiences a significant failure like a computer or server crash, your hardware can become compromised. This could cause your eDiscovery data to be corrupted or inaccessible.

To ensure the quality of your eDiscovery data, you need to adopt a proven data collection solution that can operate efficiently, securely, and in a forensically sound manner. This means there’s no question concerning the quality of your data or any copies made. It also needs to be able to:

  • Work with modern data types
  • Work with a variety of data types
  • Pull many different fields of data

When you are able to easily and securely perform eDiscovery data collection, your legal team will be able to take on more cases and increase margins for your LSP. Learn more about this in our eBook: 4 Ways Legal Service Providers Can Build Value and Boost Margins.

Best Practices for Ensuring eDiscovery Data Integrity

To ensure eDiscovery data integrity for your clients, implement the following best practices:

  1. Understand Your eDiscovery Solution: Knowing the capabilities and limitations of your data collection software allows you to use it in the most efficient manner possible.
  2. Validate the Data: Confirm the data you collect is correct before you upload it to your server. 
  3. Implement Access Controls: Only necessary personnel should have access to the data so there’s less chance of data being compromised or corrupted.
  4. Maintain an Audit Trail: Any change to the data can have an impact on your litigation, so you need to know who touched what files when they accessed them, and what they did to them. 
  5. Backup Your Data: Regularly scheduled and reliable data backups are essential in the event of data loss. 
  6. Deploy Cybersecurity Measures: From timely software patches to limiting physical access to computers and servers, all known security vulnerabilities should be monitored and secured to prevent outside interference.
  7. Workforce Training: Every member of your team that has access to the data should be trained to follow data integrity guidelines to ensure the reliability of the data.

How CloudNine Explore Helps You Ensure eDiscovery Data Integrity

Data integrity is the foundational element to your eDiscovery processWith CloudNine Explore, you can ensure you get it right through our innovative approach to eDiscovery data collection:

  • Navigate through data to determine risk, scope, and cost up-front
  • Review new data with automated and in-person processes
  • Securely upload, process, and preserve data critical to your investigation or litigation
  • Step-by-step and advanced user workflows
  • Data, domain, file type, and additional filtering
  • Search term testing and reporting
  • File copies are created when exported
  • Provide information as required for legal production or continued investigation

Make your cases defensible and your firm profitable with eDiscovery solutions from CloudNine. With easy-to-deploy solutions that protect your eDiscovery data integrity, CloudNine is flexible and adaptable to meet any eDiscovery needs you have. Schedule a free demo today. 

Assessing the Proportionality of Modern Data Types

The Costs of eDiscovery

As time passes, the definition of electronically stored information (ESI) must expand to accommodate emerging data types. As discussed in our recent article, (Don’t Get Spooked by Communication Applications!), these changes can be intimidating and uncomfortable for some legal teams. Since modern data types are unavoidable in eDiscovery, litigators must adapt and address any subsequent challenges. Financing the production of newer ESI types is a looming concern for many firms. From a financial perspective, each gigabyte of reviewed data costs about $18,000. [1] Meanwhile, 300 million photos are posted to social media every day, and 16 million texts are sent every minute. [2] In addition to paying for production, responding parties must  have adequate access and resources to manage the information. If responding parties cannot juggle these duties, they should speak with the judge and requesting party about the proportionality of the evidence.

Proportionality and Amendments to Rule 26(b)(1)

Before requesting the production of digital evidence in a legal trial, the proportionality of said evidence must be evaluated. In other words, the costs and benefits of production must be weighed. Proportionality is far from a new concept in eDiscovery. Most of its factors and considerations were first added to Rule 26(b)(1) of the FRCP in 1983. On December 1, 2015, the rule was amended slightly to require that the scope of discovery be “proportional to the needs of the case.” [3] Six factors should be considered when evaluating the proportionality of ESI:

  • The importance of the issues at stake in the action – This guideline measures the importance of the non-monetary losses or gains that a party might acquire due to a case (i.e. time, resources).
  • The amount of controversy – This guideline focuses on the money that a party may gain or lose.
  • The parties’ access to relevant information – The need for a formal discovery is determined based on a party’s access (or lack thereof) to relevant information.
  • The parties’ resources – A party’s technological, administrative, and human resources are assessed to determine if they are capable of handling the discovery process.
  • The importance of the discovery in resolving the issues – This guideline relates to the discovery’s importance in resolving the case.
  • Whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit – The burdens and benefits of discovery are compared. There is no fixed ratio to determine the proportionality. [4]

Proportionality Best Practices

  • Parties should engage in discovery planning early on. Discussions on the relevance and proportionality of the request should be held as soon as possible.
  • Prior to Rule 26(f), meet in person (or over the phone) to develop a discovery management plan.
  • Ask the judge to hold Rule 16(b) case-management conferences.
  • If you anticipate proportionality disputes or the production of voluminous data, start the discovery process by producing the most accessible and relevant information . [4]

 

[1] Patrick E. Gaas and Tiffany Harrod, “How to Proactively Control E-discovery Costs,” Tech Brief, AGC of America.

[2] Bernard Marr, “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-blowing Stats Everyone Should Read,” Forbes, May 21, 2018.

[3]Rule 26. Duty to Disclose; General Provisions Governing Discovery,” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School,

[4] Bolch Judicial Institute, “Guidelines and Best Practices for Implementing the 2015 Discovery Amendments Concerning Proportionality,” Third Edition, 2021.

Don’t Get Spooked by Communication Applications!

Since Halloween is approaching, it’s time to reflect on a scary part of the discovery process: handling communication applications. As a newer form of digital evidence, communication apps can be a legal team’s worst nightmare. Ephemeral messaging apps like Wickr and Signal make conversations disappear like ghosts in the night. Slack and Microsoft Teams have sunk their teeth into the communications of most corporations. Social media apps have entranced us with a spell, prompting our fingers to type a new DM or tweet every other hour. It’s easy to view these applications as monsters in the discovery process. They have revolutionized the world of e-discovery, expanding it to more than just emails and electronic files.  Whether you love them or hate them, communication apps aren’t going anywhere. In fact, their popularity is only rising. Approximately 2.5 billion people use at least one messaging app on their mobile devices. This number is expected to reach 3 billion by the end of next year. [1] Here’s another chilling statistic: in 2020, 41 million application messages were sent every minute. The volume of communication app data is frighteningly large, but its relevance is undeniable. Regardless of case type, (criminal, personal injury, defamation, etc.) litigants should consider its production. Within each channel and group chat lies a plethora of information that could make or break a case. Still afraid? Here’s a list of challenges and solutions for managing communication applications.

Understanding the missing context:

Messages sent on communication applications are often short and sent with little context. Bits and pieces of conversations might be spread out across multiple platforms and group chats. When handling a case, legal teams should identify all relevant communication platforms to connect the missing dots. Litigants should also consider deriving context from atypical sources such as emojis, liked messages, images, and GIFS. [2] These humorous icons and features can reflect the sender’s tone, a difficult thing to gather over text. Remember, images and emojis aren’t supported in all native file types, so it’s important to find an eDiscovery provider that will reconstruct the conversations. [3]

Managing large volumes of data:

Producing and reviewing voluminous data is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. By creating comprehensive retention policies, businesses can proactively determine which data types and channels should be preserved. Within the policies, companies should outline the procedures for labeling, storing, and deleting records. [4] The deletion of unneeded data lowers the risk of massive data accumulation.

Remembering each application’s retention policies:

Applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams will retain all messages unless configured otherwise. Similarly, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger store data until the account has been deleted. [5] If the account owner deletes or unsends a message, the data will still show on the recipient’s phone. Some of these platforms contain “Recently Deleted” features that make recovery much easier. The policies for collaboration and social media applications are rather straightforward. Ephemeral messaging apps are a bit different; however, the auto-deletion features can be adjusted to the user’s discretion. Auto-deletion settings should be turned off during or in anticipation of litigation.

 

[1] Damjan Jugovic Spajic, “Text, Don’t Call: Messaging Apps Statistics for 2020,” Komando Tech, December 11, 2019.

[2] Erin Tomine, “Chat Messages and eDiscovery: How to Ease the Burden and Get the Full Picture,” Conduent, July 7, 2021.

[3] Matthew Verga, “Discovery from Slack: It’s Complicated,” Xact Data Discovery, June 19, 2020.

[4] Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, “Electronic Discovery and Data Retention Policies,” Internet Lawyer Blog, May 18, 2020.

[5] “Data Policy,” Instagram Help Center, 2021.

eDiscovery Cost Recovery: A Case-By-Case Assessment

Cost recovery is a critical consideration to the eDiscovery services you provide. Without it, you won’t have an accurate view of your financial status. While today’s turbulent times may put your LSP under more pressure to budget your money more wisely, the truth is you’re always under pressure to make your bottom line and recover eDiscovery costs as quickly as possible. 

As an LSP, you report to clients who need to know they will receive a good ROI when they hire you. On the flip side, when you hire vendors, buy equipment, or lease software, you need to see that quick ROI as well. 

One way to accomplish this is to adopt eDiscovery software solutions that add real value to your business. To do so, you need an eDiscovery solution providing high quality service so you can collect fees from your clients before the solution costs you more than you can charge.

Consider the cost difference a few decades make:  In 1981, the price of a 1GB hard drive was $500K. Today, it’s less than $0.03. 

For eDiscovery data processing, the cost to process 1GB was $2000 just 15 years ago. We process the same data for less than $100. 

By adopting a solution like CloudNine Explore, you can keep your expenses down to offer more value through a cost-effective solution to your clients. This means they’re able to pay you quicker and more dependably so your cost recovery is easy to manage.

The On-Prem vs. Cloud Storage Dilemma 

 While there are many benefits to cloud storage, the cost isn’t as black and white as it once was. Traditionally, if you rented a server versus purchasing one, your initial investment was cheaper. 

Renting a server may be a smart investment if you have no plans to utilize the server long-term. However, as you continue to rent that server, the costs are going to add up, costing you more than if you just purchased the server.  

Renting data storage space from a provider today can be just as expensive as purchasing a new server because providers typically do everything to ensure the server is up-to-date and backed up. While this does make cloud servers a little more robust, you’ll be paying for that service which makes it more expensive from day one. 

CloudNine Explore allows you to securely upload and store relevant data in a single on-prem server. This allows you to have more access and control over your data while lowering your data storage costs. 

Providing Value with eDiscovery System Speed and Accessibility

Speed means everything in eDiscovery. The faster you import the data, the quicker you can move from processing to storage and review. One of the keys to shorter processing time is the use of automation – the greater the automation, the higher the output. 

CloudNine Explore allows you to use automation and leverage multithreading technology so you can use all available processors within the machine to get the most efficiency out of it. 

That’s incredibly useful as oftentimes LSPs utilize unused surplus equipment they have in their inventory to run eDiscovery processing. CloudNine Explore is a great solution in this scenario because it’s flexible and compatible enough to be used on older technology. This reduces the need to buy new equipment. 

Infrastructure Costs and Document Review Services

Infrastructure requirements vary from software to software. Many of the available eDiscovery solutions on the market are complicated and rigid.  And, providers didn’t build their platform with eDiscovery in mind. They built it for other purposes but eventually, they reassigned it to handle eDiscovery. This leaves them with too many restrictive and complicated requirements on their infrastructure. 

The infrastructure supporting CloudNine Explore wasn’t forced to be something it wasn’t. It allows CloudNine Explore to run on anything from simple laptops to state-of-the-art servers. It runs best on a server with some serious horsepower, but it’s still friendly enough to give you the ability to process and cull with less infrastructure investment – whether that’s in the cloud or on your server.  

An eDiscovery software that provides you with the infrastructure flexibility, gets your LSP one step closer to recovering costs quickly.  Learn how to boost margins even more in our eBook here.

Reducing eDiscovery File Size

Many of our competitors offer filtering technology allowing you to reduce your data file size. The only problem is how they’re able to filter your data. Most often, you have to send them the data first, only to cull it down later. Regardless of the smaller file size, you still have to pay to process the entire data file upfront. 

CloudNine Explore allows you to filter and organize the data upfront, culling unnecessary files so you can process only the data you want. This gives you the flexibility and power to control the processing and upfront storage costs. 

Some common filter types include:

  • File type – This lets you focus on specific file types like .doc, .csv, .pdf, .mov or .m4a.
  • Domain – This allows you to search emails to find the ones sent by a specific domain source.
  • Language – This filters documents containing specific languages. Explore currently supports 144 languages including Unicode characters like Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Cyrillic. 

Breaking Down eDiscovery Software Costs

CloudNine Explore has lower software costs for the simple reason that we developed them with a lower price point in mind. Also, we offer loyalty discounts to our clients when they renew their license agreements. We also discount prices when you bundle Explore with other CloudNine solutions like Review.  

While CloudNine is less expensive than a lot of our competition, in the end, it’s all about how you use the solutions. The more efficiently you use the tool, the more value you get out of it and that’s what matters most. 

To see how Explore can help your LSP recover costs quicker and more effectively, schedule a free demo with CloudNine today.

Insourcing Vs. Outsourcing Your eDiscovery Review Process

While eDiscovery may seem a tedious process, it’s critically important to your courtroom success!  A ruling may be made solely on the content found in one corporate executive’s email.   The requisite rests in the confidence of a trusted system to collect and review relevant documents so both sides can build their case. 

However, when it comes to processing the data collection, many organizations differ on the best method for eDiscovery

Whether you decide to insource or outsource your eDiscovery, CloudNine Review is made can assist you in closing cases quickly. 

Discovering The Differences Between Insourcing and Outsourcing eDiscovery

Insourcing is defined as the delegation of operations or tasks within an organization to an internal unit. This refers to both the technology and the people performing the tasks. 

Outsourcing is when you transfer the day-to-day responsibility of those tasks outside your organization to an external service provider. This external service provider provides both the technology and the personnel required to perform the tasks. 

Depending on your organization’s core competencies and business model, insourcing may not be the best choice to handle your eDiscovery tasks. For example, law firms do not focus on providing technology solutions to their clients, so it may be difficult to justify the financial commitment of building an entire infrastructure and hiring a technology team.

However, many organizations may still prefer to insource their eDiscovery. Ten years ago, cloud services were still in their infancy so insourcing was the only real option. While small and mid-sized organizations struggled, larger firms invested in the infrastructure needed to win their cases.

Today, those with the infrastructure still in place choose to contain insourcing because it’s already paid off, which means no additional hosting or processing fees. But for new organizations just getting on their feet, investing in eDiscovery infrastructure may be a costly risk.  Maintaining infrastructure is costly for organizations with internal eDiscovery resources as well.  A cloud-based solution reduces the cost burden for new and established organizations seeking eDiscovery solutions.

How Insourcing and Outsourcing eDiscovery Affects Your ROI

For firms that insource their eDiscovery review, there’s a huge investment of money and time into making an eDiscovery environment a viable solution, such as:

  • Infrastructure Development
  • System Maintenance
  • IT Support Staff
  • Review Attorneys

When you outsource your eDiscovery process, you only pay on a per-project basis.

When you insource your eDiscovery process, you are paying to keep your infrastructure running and up-to-date on the latest technologies, which will require maintenance and labor. With ransomware hackers running rampant, labor shortages from COVID-19, and necessary system upgrades to keep your network from crashing, costs can become erratic and drastically change from month to month. 

Outsourcing makes it easier for your law firm to control costs since you are only concerned with paying for what you need when the cases come along.

The success of your eDiscovery review process lies in your ability to recover costs quickly, learn how to optimize your cost recovery in our eBook, which you can download here.

Are the Benefits of Insourcing Worth the Cost?

When it comes down to it, there’s really only one primary benefit to insourcing your eDiscovery review. It gives you complete and total control over your data processing. You do not have to worry about where your data is being stored or if you can access it on your schedule. It’s on-prem and ready whenever you need it. 

Let’s consider insourcing from a financial standpoint. If you want to develop your own insourced eDiscovery solution, this is what you’re looking at: 

  • The profit margins for hosting and processing fees have eroded significantly in the past 10 years. It used to cost $500 to process a single gigabyte of data. Today, it’s only around $30.
  • You will probably have to develop a custom piece of software or build a new hosting platform, which means you will need to hire at least one developer if you don’t have one on the payroll already. And according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a software developer is around $108,000 a year. This doesn’t include the additional burdens on IT to keep the system up-to-date and secure.
  • Of course, you could hire a software development company to develop new software or hosting platform but that won’t be cheap, either. It’ll be somewhere in the range of $50K and $250K
  • And don’t forget about the legal team you’ll need to assemble to do the actual eDiscovery review. 

Overall, you’re looking at a hefty investment. There may not  be enough financial incentive to justify spending the money to develop your own internal infrastructure. 

An Outsourced eDiscovery Solution That Makes Financial Sense

CloudNine Review offers outsourcing eDiscovery solutions that are fast, easy to use, and, most important, cost-efficient. Simply upload your documents and begin the review process in minutes, earning yourself an impressive ROI with these benefits:

  • Unlimited Users: Unlike other eDiscovery providers, we don’t charge you for every single user you add to the database. It’s a flat fee, allowing you the freedom to add as many users as you need.
  • Flexible Infrastructure: Our network is designed to handle hard-working organizations like yours. Our infrastructure can support a thousand attorneys reviewing the same data collection simultaneously. If you wanted to do that in-house, you’d be investing a lot of time and money to spin up the additional infrastructure to handle it. 
  • No Long-Term Contracts: Just pay for your eDiscovery services at a month-to-month rate. No hidden agendas or commitments. 

There’s also no difference in the quality or legality of documents collected and reviewed, as the processes are the same. The only difference is who did the work – an in-house group or a trusted provider like CloudNine. 

If you’re ready to hand over your internal eDiscovery tasks to a dedicated company that specializes in streamlining your discovery, investigation, and audit processes, reach out to CloudNine and request a free demo today.