Pricing

The Price is Right. Or is it? You Be the Judge: eDiscovery Trends

Talking about eDiscovery pricing in this industry is like talking about Fight Club, the first rule and second rule seems to be that you don’t talk about it.  Only Rob Robinson could get 81 people to talk about what isn’t talked about in this industry.

But, before I talk about it, I must first issue a “mea culpa”.  Every post for this blog is posted by me (even if not written by me) and I always schedule the posts to hit right after midnight on the day they will be posted.  On Sunday, I wrote the post for Monday and I selected the date and time for the post to issue.  But I forgot to hit the schedule button!!  Doh!!  So, the post didn’t hit our blog site until I noticed it about mid-morning and the daily newsletter wasn’t issued because there wasn’t a new post at “press time”.  Honestly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before.

So, if you missed yesterday’s post about my guest post for our good friends and Kansas City partners at Complete Legal regarding Leveraging Your Services Provider to Meet Today’s eDiscovery Challenges, click here to see it referenced on our blog.  Or better yet, click here to go straight to that guest post.  My bad.

Regardless, this post is about the latest survey from Rob Robinson and his terrific Complex Discovery blog.  The eDiscovery Pricing Survey is a non-scientific and non-comprehensive survey designed to provide general insight into eDiscovery pricing as shared by individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem.  It consists of 15 multiple choice questions focused on information and metrics related to eDiscovery pricing for collection, processing, and review tasks and it is open to legal, business, security, and information technology professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem.  Individuals are invited to participate semi-annually primarily by direct email invitation from Complex Discovery and leading industry educational partners including the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).

As I mentioned, there were 81 respondents for this Summer survey84% of which were providers (Software and/or Services Provider – 38.3%, Law Firm – 32.1% and Consultancy – 13.6%).  That’s 68 providers talking about eDiscovery pricing!  :O

I won’t steal Rob’s thunder in this blog, check out the survey results here.  This is the second eDiscovery pricing survey published by Rob – check out the first survey here.

So, what do you think?  How do those results compare with what you pay for eDiscovery services?  Please share 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.

Are You Making Enough Money as an eDiscovery Professional?: eDiscovery Trends

Geez, if that blog post title doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.  ;o)  The answer is: of course not!  But, how do you demonstrate to your boss that you deserve a raise?  Leave to Rob Robinson and another “mashup” to give you the data you need to make your point!

In his excellent Complex Discovery blog, Rob has just published a 2019 Legal Technology Salary Mashup.  As Rob notes, “the 2019 Legal Technology Salary Mashup shares an aggregation of general salary data points from publicly available research, reports, and industry observations that may be beneficial for use by legal technology leaders as they source and staff talent to support their data discovery and legal discovery business objectives… While not all-inclusive of roles, locations, and data sources, [it] represents one interpretation of publicly available salary information and is organized and presented through the lens of twenty-seven organizational roles, a national salary average, and four regionalized salary adjustments.”  Those regions are West (SF), Southwest (Austin), Midwest (Chicago) and East (NYC).

The organizational roles range from eDiscovery Document Coder (at a US baseline of $51,000) all the way up to Director of Information Technology ($240,000).  Roles include Developer, Product Manager and Project Manager (two tier levels for each of those positions), eDiscovery Sales Manager, eDiscovery Consultant, Marketing Director, Forensic Analyst/Specialist, even Data Scientist.  A comprehensive list.

Rob uses publicly available content from several sources to arrive at the “mashup”:

  • Builtin.com
  • Comparably.com
  • Dice.com
  • ESP Legal
  • Robert Half Legal
  • TechCrunch
  • The Cowen Group
  • The U.S. Government: Social Security Administration
  • TRU Staffing Partners
  • Industry Observer Estimations (Multiple Observers)

So, if you have one of these roles in your organization and you’re wondering how your pay stacks up to others in the industry throughout the country, you can check that out here.  You might find that it’s time to go hit up the boss for a raise!

Also, just a reminder that CloudNine will be the Scarlett sponsor of the Murder in the Manor charity fundraiser hosted by Oasis Discovery to be held May 16th (that’s tomorrow!) at The Mansion on O Street in Washington DC (2020 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036).  CloudNine will be running the Speakeasy, where drinks will be available and a lot of fun will be had.  And, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), which is the largest public, non-profit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets – it’s not too late!  Remember, it’s for a great cause.

So, what do you think?  Are you getting paid what you deserve?  As always, please share 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.

According to Survey, Difficulty Getting Budget is the Top Legal Tech Struggle for GCs: eDiscovery Trends

According a new survey from Clyde & Co and Winmark, the number one reason that General Counsel (GCs) struggle with legal tech adoption and implementation is ‘difficulty in getting budget‘.  But, don’t blame the board for that.  ;o)

According to Artificial Lawyer (‘Difficulty Getting Budget’ No 1 Reason GCs Struggle With Legal Tech), 55 percent of the inhouse lawyers identified ‘difficulty in getting budget‘ as a challenge, which was the most of any challenges identified.  Here is the complete list of challenges and percentages for each:

  • Difficulty getting budget: 55 percent
  • Issues with legacy systems: 45 percent
  • Deciding what to invest in: 37 percent
  • Lack of time: 31 percent
  • Tech not meeting expectations: 25 percent
  • Lack of knowledge: 24 percent
  • Implementation overruns: 20 percent
  • Legal framework for tech not complete: 18 percent
  • Resistance to change from the board: 10 percent

So, over half of the GCs indicate that it’s difficult to get the budget for technology, but only 10% indicate that the board is resistant to change.  Sounds to me like it’s not so much the board holding GCs back as it’s demonstrating return on investment (ROI) on the tech purchase that’s the stumbling block.  Maybe.

The entire 40-page report is available and can be downloaded from here – it has various findings from GCs and board directors regarding risk landscape and responsibility, technology innovation and risk and the role of the GC.  For example, despite the high perceived risk of cyber attack (75 percent from GCs, 79 percent from board members), 42 percent of GCs and 37 percent of board directors do not have a plan in place to address those attacks.

I should note that, when downloading the report yesterday, I received an odd error on the screen that seemed to indicate that it didn’t accept my inputs, but a link to the report was still emailed to me.  Be patient.  :o)

So, what do you think?  Is budget the biggest challenge for GCs with regard to technology?  Please share 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.

Relying on Interpretation of the SCA, Appeals Court Reverses Subpoenas Against Facebook: eDiscovery Case Law

In Facebook, Inc. v. Wint, No. 18-CO-958 (D.C. App. Jan. 3, 2019), the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, stating that “[t]he plain text of the SCA (Stored Communications Act) thus appears to foreclose Facebook from complying with Mr. Wint’s subpoenas”, concluded that the appellee “has not established the existence of a serious constitutional doubt that could warrant application of the doctrine of avoidance” reversing the trial court’s order holding Facebook in civil contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas served by appellee Daron Wint.

Case Background

The appellee was charged with murder in D.C. Superior Court. Before trial, he filed an ex parte motion asking the trial court to authorize defense counsel to serve subpoenas duces tecum on Facebook and a Facebook subsidiary for records, including the contents of communications, relating to certain accounts. Facebook objected, arguing that the SCA prohibits Facebook from disclosing such information in response to a criminal defendant’s subpoena. The trial court approved the subpoena request and held Facebook in civil contempt for failing to comply.

The case was argued back before the appellate court back in October 2018.

Appeals Court Ruling

In the appellate court opinion issued by Associate Judge McLeese, he noted that “In the trial court, Mr. Wint argued that if the SCA were interpreted to preclude Facebook from complying with the subpoenas at issue, then the SCA would be unconstitutional. Mr. Wint has not renewed that argument in this court, however, and that argument therefore is not before us. Rather, Mr. Wint has argued in this court only that the SCA is properly interpreted to permit Facebook to comply.”  He also noted this:

“The SCA broadly prohibits providers from disclosing the contents of covered communications, stating that providers “shall not knowingly divulge to any person or entity the contents” of covered communications, except as provided…The SCA contains nine enumerated exceptions to this prohibition…Mr. Wint does not rely on any of those exceptions, and none of them applies in the present case. The plain text of the SCA thus appears to foreclose Facebook from complying with Mr. Wint’s subpoenas.  The structure of the SCA points to the same conclusion.”

The opinion also noted that Section 2702 (Voluntary disclosure of customer communications or records) and Section 2703 (Required disclosure of customer communications or records) of the SCA “appear to comprehensively address the circumstances in which providers may disclose covered communications. Those circumstances do not include complying with criminal defendants’ subpoenas.”  The opinion also noted that “Authority from other jurisdictions also favors a plain-language reading of the SCA. As far as we have determined, every court to consider the issue has concluded that the SCA’s general prohibition on disclosure of the contents of covered communications applies to criminal defendants’ subpoenas.”

The appellee pushed for an alternative interpretation of § 2702, which addressed only the circumstances in which providers may voluntarily disclose covered communications and did not address compliance with court-ordered disclosures, such as subpoenas. In support of this interpretation, the appellee relied on six principal contentions, which were discussed in detail in the opinion. However, the opinion stated:

“Although some of Mr. Wint’s contentions have some force, on balance we are not persuaded by Mr. Wint’s argument.”

As a result, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s order holding Facebook in civil contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas served by the appellee.

So, what do you think?  Does the SCA, which has been in effect for over thirty years, adequately the rights to request data from providers in 2019?  Please let us know if any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Case opinion link courtesy of eDiscovery Assistant.

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.

Today is the Day for eDiscovery for the Rest of Us!: eDiscovery Webcasts

Does it seem like eDiscovery technology today is only for the “mega-firms” and “mega-cases”? What about for the “rest of us”? Are there solutions for the small firms and cases too? What does the average lawyer need to know about eDiscovery today and how to select a solution that’s right for them?  Find out in our webcast today!

Today at noon CST (1:00pm EST, 10:00am PST), CloudNine will conduct the webcast eDiscovery for the Rest of Us. In this one-hour webcast that’s CLE-approved in selected states, we will discuss what lawyers need to know about eDiscovery, the various sources of data to consider, and the types of technology solutions to consider to make an informed decision and get started using technology to simplify the discovery process. Topics include:

  • How Automation is Affecting All Industries, including eDiscovery
  • Drivers for eDiscovery Automation Today
  • Challenges from Various Sources of ESI Data
  • Ethical Duties and Rules for Managing Discovery
  • Getting Data Through the Process Efficiently
  • Small Case Examples: Ernie and EDna
  • Key Components of an eDiscovery Solution
  • Types of Tools to Consider
  • Recommendations for Getting Started

As always, I’ll be presenting the webcast, along with Tom O’Connor, who wrote a four part blog post series that we have published on the blog in the past couple of weeks.  To register for it, click here.  Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register to get a link to the slides and to the recording of the webcast (if you want to check it out later).  If you want to know what eDiscovery solution options there within an affordable budget, this is the webcast for you!

So, what do you think?  Do you feel like you can’t afford eDiscovery technology?  Please share 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.

eDiscovery for the Rest of Us: eDiscovery Best Practices, Part Four

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including eDiscovery and the GDPR: Ready or Not, Here it Comes (which we covered as a webcast), Understanding eDiscovery in Criminal Cases (which we also covered as a webcast), ALSP – Not Just Your Daddy’s LPO and Why Is TAR Like a Bag of M&M’s?. Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding eDiscovery for the smaller cases titled eDiscovery for the Rest of Us that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog (and will cover later this month in a webcast).  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into four parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part One was published last Tuesday, Part Two was published last Thursday and Part Three was published on Tuesday.  Here’s the final part, Part Four.

The EDna Challenge, 2016

In 2016, Craig Ball revisited the Edna challenge with a new set of parameters and a panel at the annual ILTA conference on which I was privileged to be a participant. The panel sought what Craig called “… a re-examination of EDna options circa 2016 on a bigger budget.” https://craigball.net/2016/04/15/edna-still-cheap-and-challenged/ .

In this new challenge, Edna had a Zip file on a thumb drive containing collected ESI in various formats: 10 custodians with ESI PSTs for six of them, four MBOX take outs from Gmail for the other four and a combination of  word processed documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint documents, PDFs and a few scanned paper documents for all ten. She estimated the contents will unzip to about 10-12 GB with somewhere between 50,000 to 100, 000 documents total.

The goal was to conduct a paperless privilege and responsiveness review of the material in-house, sharing the task with an associate and legal assistant.  All staff had high-end, big screen desktop PC running Windows 8.1 with MS Office 2016 and Adobe Acrobat 11 Pro installed and the office’s network file server had ample space for the document collection.

The specific goals were:

  • Efficient workflow
  • Robust search
  • Ability to process relevant metadata
  • Simple document tagging and production identification
  • Effective tracked deduplication
  • Review may take up to 90 days, and the case may not conclude for up to two years.  All review, hosting and production costs must be borne by the budget.

Edna didn’t own a review tool and was willing to spend up to $5,000.00 total for software, vendor services, SaaS, etc.  Craig’s only restrictions on responses were “She won’t spend a penny more.  You can’t loan her your systems or software.  You can’t talk her out of it.  Pricing must mirror real-world availability, not a special deal.”

The good news was that the increase in budget accompanied by the shift to Web based solutions made a dramatic change in the responses. As one independent analyst noted, if kept to 3 months hosting, more than 70% of the companies he worked with could meet the challenge. Brad Jenkins, CEO of CloudNine (the host of this article) noted that the CloudNine software would allow Edna  “… access to a complete eDiscovery platform for processing, review, and production. She can upload her data for automated native processing, review her data in CloudNine’s integrated review tool, and produce her data in almost any format.”  All for under the limit of the challenge.

What’s Next?

The next step in the market of technology for the rest of us is growth of Internet based tools.  We are now seeing even more budget conscious solutions in a SaaS environment, solutions that work with common native format files where you host your own data with programs installed locally that are able to accommodate smaller data collections.

Some of these are well-established companies such as Relativity or Ipro Tech and others are newer companies such as CloudNine, Digital War Room, Logikcull, CS Disco and Everlaw. Some of them also incorporate some form of front-end analytics to significantly reduce the amount of data to be processed as well as TAR or predictive coding technology to enable faster review of documents.

Conclusion

But the ultimate solution is more than just knowing the rules, avoiding e-jargon and understanding the technology. In our estimation, it is the process not the technology.

We are not alone in this appraisal. Technologist John Martin once commented, “It’s the archer not the arrow.” Craig Ball says, “The key consideration is workflow”.

The fact is that technology is not the key to successful management of e-discovery in small cases. Rather, the single most effective way to keep eDiscovery costs low is to work with your opposition in a cooperative manner so you can stipulate to the use of low cost solutions.

We all must change to the new paradigm of working in the digital world. In the words of The Hon. Lee Rosenthal, former Chair of the Standing Committee of the Judicial Conference, “Litigation habits and customs learned in the days of paper must be revisited and revised. The culture of bench and bar must adjust.”

Craig Ball described it as “throwing down the gauntlet in the Edna Challenge when he said, So, how about it e-discovery industry? Can you divert your gaze from the golden calf long enough to see the future and recall the past? Sam Walton became the richest man of his era by selling to more for less. There’s a fast-growing need…and a huge emerging market.  The real Edna Challenge is waiting for the visionaries who will meet the need and serve this market.”

I think we’re very close to being there.

So, what do you think?  Do smaller litigation cases get shortchanged when it comes to eDiscovery technology?  As always, please share 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.

eDiscovery for the Rest of Us: eDiscovery Best Practices, Part Three

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including eDiscovery and the GDPR: Ready or Not, Here it Comes (which we covered as a webcast), Understanding eDiscovery in Criminal Cases (which we also covered as a webcast), ALSP – Not Just Your Daddy’s LPO and Why Is TAR Like a Bag of M&M’s?. Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding eDiscovery for the smaller cases titled eDiscovery for the Rest of Us that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog (and will cover later this month in a webcast).  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into four parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part One was published last Tuesday and Part Two was published last Thursday.  Here’s Part Three.

The Ernie Challenge

To answer the question of what to do for the cases larger than $1,000 but less than the major litigation cases, I drew up the “Ernie Challenge,” with advice from Craig Ball and DLA Piper senior counsel Browning Marean.  Named for my good friend Ernie Svenson, then a solo attorney with a general practice in New Orleans, it was posted on its own blog site at  https://theerniechallenge.wordpress.com/ .

Ernie is very tech savvy and often calls me when he has an EDD question involving what we call the “tweener” cases, those that fit in between the range covered by the Edna Challenge and mega cases suitable for the larger brand name products that dominate the EDD world.

The Ernie Challenge posited a case with roughly 1 terabyte of data to collect and a final amount of 200 gigabytes of data to review, most of that e-mail with the balance being various types of financial data. We also asked for some form of web review tool to work with the clients’ counsel and contract staff in a separate location.

There were several problems in meeting this challenge. First of course was pricing. Many, if not most, eDiscovery vendors at that time had their roots in the per unit commodity pricing days of photocopying and imaging. The standard practice was to charge hundreds of dollars per GB to process the data (which included culling, deduping, and de-nisting of the data set then preparing it for loading into a review software); then charging again — by both GB and user — on a monthly basis to review the data.

As a result, a simple license plus annual maintenance or a monthly subscription fee model for eDiscovery products didn’t exist. Instead, we had to sort through hundreds of products priced by varying and often widely divergent methods.

$X per GB for processing, $X per page for OCR, $X per document for near duplicate detection, $X per page for Bates numbers, $X per user and per GB to host and so on. Each is performed for different units with different unit pricing that can run from a penny to $500 per unit

For example, if a client paid for a forensically sound data collection of 800 GB (the size of the hard drive of one typical computer) and that data set eventually yields 200 GB of reviewable material, a typical eDiscovery company would charge $200 per GB for the processing ($160,000) plus $50 per month per GB ($10,000) and $90 per month per user for the hosting. If the case were to last 18 months, this cost alone would be just under $350,000.00. And if we accept the commonly cited statistic that the review process will account for 60-70% of the total project price, then we’re looking at a project cost that will eventually be close to $1,000,000.00.

For 200 GB of data!

To avoid the shock of those costs being immediately apparent, vendors often using pricing sheets in response to an eDiscovery RFP that looked like the menu in a Chinese restaurant … without English subtitles. And very few people had the experience, let alone the patience, to sort through those sheets. I myself was often called by clients to help them in that process because the separate bids they receive to an RFP don’t even appear to respond to the same proposal!

So, if your case was only worth $400,000 and after analysis and discussion with your client, you believe you cannot spend more than $10,000 for ESI processing and hosting services over the anticipated 18-month life of the case, you had a problem.

And if your case fell within the scope of the EDna Challenge, a small case with an eDiscovery budget of less than $1,000, you had an enormous problem.

By 2011, the question was paramount but we began to see some glimmer of hope. Craig Ball, in an interview at Legal Tech New York with Doug Austin ( https://cloudnine.com/eDiscoverydaily/electronic-discovery/eDiscovery-trends-craig-ball-of-craig-d-ball-pc-2/) said “…  I’m seeing some behind the firewall products, even desktop products, that are going to be able to allow lawyers and people with relatively little technical expertise to handle small and medium sized cases.”

And that is the essence of our Small Case Dilemma. Where are those programs? Are there really applications that attorneys can use themselves to process and host data? Is there really a way to process and review a couple of hundred GB of data for a reasonable price?

By 2012, the products Craig Ball mentioned had materialized. In the book we wrote as a follow up to our ABA TechShow session (Electronic Discovery for Small Cases (ABA, 2012), Bruce Olson and I listed several, including:

And at the same time, pricing began to drop substantially. Not only did unit pricing lower dramatically but we also began to see drop a trend away from the unit pricing model towards a flat fee or “all in” pricing. These sort of bundled flat rate prices, whether it be “per gigabyte,” “per drive,” or even “per case,” cover all the variables currently priced by the big boys as separate line items.

This development stemmed from two factors: (1) increased pricing competition among vendors and (2) newer cheaper technology. Faster processing products were being sold directly to corporate legal departments and law firms while the cost of hosting is being driven down by non-legal services such as Amazon and Microsoft. These developments give clients the option of using an in-house solution that cost far less than the prices stated above which then caused vendors to drop their prices accordingly.

We’ll publish Part 4 – The EDna Challenge, 2016, What’s Next and Conclusion – on Thursday.

So, what do you think?  Do smaller litigation cases get shortchanged when it comes to eDiscovery technology?  As always, please share 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.

eDiscovery for the Rest of Us: eDiscovery Best Practices, Part Two

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including eDiscovery and the GDPR: Ready or Not, Here it Comes (which we covered as a webcast), Understanding eDiscovery in Criminal Cases (which we also covered as a webcast), ALSP – Not Just Your Daddy’s LPO and Why Is TAR Like a Bag of M&M’s?. Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding eDiscovery for the smaller cases titled eDiscovery for the Rest of Us that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog (and will cover later this month in a webcast).  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into four parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part One was published on Tuesday.  Here’s Part Two.

eDiscovery: The Early Years

The first formalized changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were made in December of 2006 as the culmination of a period of debate and review that started in March 2000. Prior to the codified changes, there were several prominent lawsuits touching on the subject, most notably the matter popularly known as the Zubulake case. (Zubulake v. UBS Warburg, 220 F.R.D. 212 (S.D.N.Y. 2003))

Throughout the case, the plaintiff claimed that the evidence needed to prove the case existed in emails stored on UBS’ own computer systems. Because the emails requested were either never found or destroyed, the court found that it was more likely that they existed than not. The court found that while the corporation’s counsel directed that all potential discovery evidence, including emails, be preserved, the staff that the directive applied to did not follow through. This resulted in significant sanctions against UBS.

That case and the subsequent rule changes effectively forced civil litigants into a compliance mode with respect to their proper retention and management of electronically stored information (ESI). The risks that litigants then began to face because of improper management of ESI include spoliation of evidence, adverse inference, summary judgment, and sanctions. In some cases, such as Qualcomm Inc., v. Broadcom Corp., 548 F.3d 1004 (Fed. Cir. 2008), attorneys were even brought before their state bar association to answer to charges of misconduct.

At roughly the same time, the EDRM was started to deliver leadership, standards, best practices, tools, guides, and test data sets to improve electronic discovery work flow processes.  The original EDRM project (it is now owned by Duke University School of Law) came up with the following chart to show a general work flow for eDiscovery projects.

The problems faced by these new rules was the multiplicity of data in electronic formats. Examples of the types of data included in e-discovery are not just documents but e-mail, databases, web sites, instant messaging and any other electronically stored information that could be relevant evidence in litigation. Also included in e-discovery is “raw data”, which Forensic Investigators can review for hidden evidence.

Litigators may review material from e-discovery in one of several formats: printed paper, PDF images (with or without searchable text) or as single- or multi-page TIFF images. The original file format is also known as the “native” format.

The EDna Challenge, 2009

In 2009, noted e-discovery consultant Craig Ball wrote a fascinating article in Law Technology News called  “E-Discovery for Everybody.”  That column came to be known as the “EDna Challenge” (Craig likes visual puns) because in it, Craig posited a solo practitioner named Edna with an e-discovery budget of $1,000 and asked how she could possibly perform any e-discovery on that amount.  He then solicited a wide-ranging number of answers from a variety of consultants and vendors and compiled them into the article, which is now posted on his website at http://www.craigball.com/E-Discovery%20for%20Everybody.pdf .

Craig asked people to suggest a program or programs with the following criteria:

  1. Preserve relevant metadata;
  2. Incorporate de-duplication, as feasible;
  3. Support robust search of Outlook mail and productivity formats;
  4. Allow for efficient workflow;
  5. Enable rudimentary redaction;
  6. Run well on most late-model personal computers; and
  7. Require no more than $1,000.00 in new software or hardware, though it’s fine to use fully-functional “free trial” software so long as you can access the data for the 2-3 year life of the case

The problem as Ball defined it still exists now:

“The vast majority of cases filed, developed and tried in the United States are not multimillion dollar dust ups between big companies. The evidence in modest cases is digital, too. Solo and small firm counsel like Edna need affordable, user-friendly tools designed for desktop eDiscovery — tools that preserve metadata, offer efficient workflow and ably handle the common file formats that account for nearly all of the ESI seen in day-to-day litigation. Using the tools and techniques described by my thoughtful colleagues, Edna will get the job done on time and under budget. The pieces are there, though the integration falls short.”

However, Craig did offer a little future optimism here:

“One possible bright spot was the emergence of hosted options. No one was sure the job could be begun–let alone completed–using SaaS on so tight a budget; but, there was enough mention of Saas to make it seem like a possibility, now or someday soon.”

And what about cases that fall between the Edna budget limit of $1,000 and major litigation like Pension Committee, a $550 million case arising out of the liquidation of hedge funds? (Pension Committee of the University of Montreal Pension Plan v. Banc of America Securities, LLC, 685 F.Supp.2d 456, 465 (S.D.N.Y.2010)?

We’ll publish Part 3 – The Ernie Challenge – next Tuesday.

So, what do you think?  Do smaller litigation cases get shortchanged when it comes to eDiscovery technology?  As always, please share 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.

eDiscovery for the Rest of Us: eDiscovery Best Practices

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including eDiscovery and the GDPR: Ready or Not, Here it Comes (which we covered as a webcast), Understanding eDiscovery in Criminal Cases (which we also covered as a webcast), ALSP – Not Just Your Daddy’s LPO and Why Is TAR Like a Bag of M&M’s?. Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding eDiscovery for the smaller cases titled eDiscovery for the Rest of Us that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog (and will cover later this month in a webcast).  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into four parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Here’s the first part.

Introduction

With the high number of eDiscovery vendors and the huge amount of ED conferences, webinars and seminars, you might ask why we would talk about eDiscovery for “the rest of us”.  eDiscovery was initially seen as the exclusive domain of large firms with large cases in Federal court.  But the fact is that firms of all sizes now must know how to handle electronic discovery efficiently and cost-effectively. Why?

First, most attorneys in private practice are employed by law firms with fewer than 20 lawyers and, in fact, half of all U.S lawyers in private practice are solo practitioners.  Smaller firms mean smaller cases. With the increase in digital activity by people in all areas of their lives, we are now seeing e-discovery become an issue in domestic disputes, employment cases and even criminal matters. All case types handled by small firms.

And the initial Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing ESI have now been emulated in over 2/3 of the states with even an agreed-upon e-discovery exchange protocol between the offices of the U.S. Attorney and the Federal Defenders for criminal cases finding its way into state matters. Coast-to-coast, from California to Florida and from states as populous as New Jersey to mostly rural states such as Louisiana and Alabama, e-discovery is now a local issue.

Indeed, when Bruce Olson and I first gave a presentation called eDiscovery for Small Cases at the ABA TechShow in March of 2010, we didn’t expect much of a turnout.  But the room was packed and we both realized we had struck a nerve.

Why?  Bruce and I called it the Small Case Dilemma.  We’ll explore that issue and others in this paper, as follows:

  1. eDiscovery: The Early Years
  2. The EDna Challenge, 2009
  3. The Ernie Challenge
  4. The EDna Challenge, 2016
  5. What’s Next?
  6. Conclusion

We’ll publish Part 2 – eDiscovery: The Early Years and The EDna Challenge, 2009 – on Thursday.

So, what do you think?  Do smaller litigation cases get shortchanged when it comes to eDiscovery technology?  As always, please share 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.

eDiscovery for the Rest of Us: eDiscovery Webcasts

Does it seem like eDiscovery technology today is only for the “mega-firms” and “mega-cases”? What about for the “rest of us”? Are there solutions for the small firms and cases too? What does the average lawyer need to know about eDiscovery today and how to select a solution that’s right for them?  We will discuss these and other questions in a webcast at the end of the month.

On Wednesday, May 30 at noon CST (1:00pm EST, 10:00am PST), CloudNine will conduct the webcast eDiscovery for the Rest of Us. In this one-hour webcast that’s CLE-approved in selected states, we will discuss what lawyers need to know about eDiscovery, the various sources of data to consider, and the types of technology solutions to consider to make an informed decision and get started using technology to simplify the discovery process. Topics include:

  • How Automation is Affecting All Industries, including eDiscovery
  • Drivers for eDiscovery Automation Today
  • Challenges from Various Sources of ESI Data
  • Ethical Duties and Rules for Managing Discovery
  • Getting Data Through the Process Efficiently
  • Small Case Examples: Ernie and EDna
  • Key Components of an eDiscovery Solution
  • Types of Tools to Consider
  • Recommendations for Getting Started

As always, I’ll be presenting the webcast, along with Tom O’Connor, who is currently writing an article on the topic that we plan to publish on the blog in the next couple of weeks.  To register for it, click here.  Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register to get a link to the slides and to the recording of the webcast (if you want to check it out later).  If you want to know what eDiscovery solution options there within an affordable budget, this is the webcast for you!  It’s not a “Festivus for the rest of us”, it’s eDiscovery for the rest of us!

So, what do you think?  Do you feel like you can’t afford eDiscovery technology?  Please share 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.