Facing a new legal or regulatory matter where you have to review terabytes of data? If so, you’re probably wondering how to justify the potential cost of such a project—and how to avoid breaking the bank!
The key is to not go it alone. By partnering with an experienced eDiscovery provider, you can devise a strategy that will reduce your costs in the most expensive stage of any eDiscovery project: review.
Here are seven ways to trim your budget by outsourcing your next eDiscovery project.
1. Conduct early case assessment.
Stop and smell the roses—or the data—before rushing into the processing and review stages. Early on in the case, work with your eDiscovery specialist to assess whether there are potential challenges within your data, such as foreign language documents, encrypted files, or unusual file types that may require special processing. A proactive approach allows you to devise a thoughtful strategy and avoids the additional expense of remediation.
2. Target the right data.
Spend time up front working with an eDiscovery provider that can use tools like technology-assisted review to identify what documents you need to preserve and collect. Yes, you’ll increase your early costs, but you’ll end up saving significantly more through the collection, processing, review, and production stages.
3. Negotiate wisely.
Once you’ve identified the potentially responsive data for your matter, it’s probably time to sit down with opposing counsel to discuss narrowing the field of requests, dates, and custodians, negotiating keywords, and applying technology to ensure that you’re on the same page. By ironing out issues at the initial Rule 26(f) meet-and-confer conference (or the state court equivalent), you can avoid expensive discovery disputes down the road. Take the time to prepare thoroughly with your eDiscovery provider, and consider bringing him or her along to the conference. That way, if opposing counsel later questions your approach, your provider will be able to testify about your negotiations and explain the details of your workflows, so you won’t have to play the dual role of counsel and witness.
4. Choose the right tools.
Not all cases require the full champagne and caviar approach to eDiscovery. If a case doesn’t call for the use of more expensive methods, such as technology-assisted review, an ethical service provider will suggest a more cost-effective approach. But by starting with a full-service eDiscovery provider that is well-versed in a range of analytics tools, you’ll be prepared to winnow your universe of documents in larger, more complex matters.
5. Gain access to experienced, yet lower-cost, review resources.
More sophisticated eDiscovery providers often have a pool of contract reviewers at the ready to review documents. These providers can help you scale reviews quickly, and they have access to resources in lower-cost locales, including overseas, that can dramatically reduce the cost of review. Plus, they have project managers who can closely oversee foreign reviewers to ensure that their results are accurate and defensible. Using these resources can expedite a first-pass review and end up saving significant amounts of money: on average, a review by a contract attorney costs $1 per document, while associate review can cost five times as much.
6. Avoid reinventing the wheel.
When you consistently partner with an eDiscovery service provider, over time, the provider gains critical knowledge about your organization and its data, allowing the provider to recommend more efficient, repeatable approaches to eDiscovery. When you apply this institutional knowledge across all of your matters, the consistency and defensibility of your processes will increase, while your costs will drop precipitously. Going one step further, if you share your litigation history with your eDiscovery provider, including your recent budgets, your provider can recommend ways that you can better allocate resources and suggest opportunities to decrease spend.
You can also work with your provider to leverage coding across matters. Your provider can help you create a data repository where you can store commonly used data so you only have to collect, process, and review that data once.
7. Study the metrics.
Don’t wait until the project is over to assess your results. A legal services provider should continuously monitor the statistics of every stage of the process and make recommendations to improve efficiency. Your provider should also be able to provide real-time dashboards and reports that deliver up-to-date metrics including review rates, estimated time to completion, and the like. That way, you can make needed adjustments on the fly and cut unnecessary costs.
How Will You Save Money on Your Next Project?
Even though some of these steps admittedly require a greater outlay of funds up front, don’t be deterred. Outsourcing your next eDiscovery project and implementing these steps can add up to a lower bottom line for your next eDiscovery project—and every project that follows.
To learn how iDiscover can help you discover more for less, please get in touch.