One of the primary questions we ask ourselves daily is how to make our clients' e-discovery process more efficient. Clients' solutions tend to dwell on self-collection to reduce the e-discovery budget. And while there are times when self-collection is appropriate, and many clients have the in-house capabilities to self-collect, those efforts typically do not dramatically affect the bottom-line costs of e-discovery. Why? Because the lion's share of costs related to e-discovery resides not in the collection of the ESI (electronically stored information) but in the processing and reviewing of the data.
What are the costs of ESI?
Review costs are estimated for at least 70 percent of e-discovery expenditures, with processing clocking in next with approximately 17 percent. Costs to collect are less than 10 percent of the bottom line. However, the argument for self-collection is that you have less to process and review if you collect less. But there is an inherent risk if you collect less--there is a greater chance of not collecting and preserving all potentially relevant data.
How to think about ESI
Think of the collection phase as the foundation of a house. Suppose the house's foundation is flawed because the homeowner wanted to keep construction costs down. In that case, the repair costs down the line will ultimately cost the homeowner multiples of the original cost of a sound foundation.
How can Lawyers Improve their Data Management?
The solution is to collect wisely or risk added burden of cost in collecting custodian data. Collect all sources of potentially relevant ESI, preserve them, and then use legally defensible filtering methods to narrow the data set before hosting and reviewing. Today's review tools far exceed past review tools regarding data searching and filtering. This eliminates burdensome costs related to unnecessary processing and review downstream. Using this process to collect and review ESI will dramatically affect the litigation budget.
At Duke Advisory, our success is measured by our ability to ask the right questions and provide our clients with "best in business" solutions.