Legal review is the largest cost component of a discovery management project. Corporations understand that this is part of the new eDiscovery world and want this cost to decrease – – Makes sense and is totally logical.
There have been countless panels, articles, blogs, advertisements, and debates around how this can be achieved using software alone, stating that its use is the only method that can ultimately lower the document review costs in litigation.
If this were true, then how data is collected, processed and culled before it gets to that point would be a waste of time. Of course we know this not to be true and there needs to be a re-direction of the discussion surrounding this topic.
The management and review of data sets is in fact intertwined to a point that software alone cannot provide the only outcome to achieve reduced costs. It is process that will get you to the point of lower costs. Call it early case assessment or “predictive coding”, but it all boils down to an entire ediscovery process that involves focusing in on what is important and what is not important for further review by a legal team. This is not a new approach. It has been in use for years (and software is a part of the process)!
What is included in a sound and defensible process to lower costs? I have broken it down to four steps.
- A thorough and targeted collection of the data. Develop a strategy that includes the data management experts at the corporate level to assist in identifying where pertinent and relevant data exists. Create a roadmap. This will reduce the amount of data that is collected and will ultimately lower the ESI processing and review costs. If additional collections are required, then with proper methodology and the roadmap, that data can be collected at a later point. Data collection is typically the least costly component of a project so why not spend some time at this level and understand the data sets further.
- ESI processing of the collected data. Simply put,
- The completeness of the processing affects the accuracy of the data.
- The accuracy of the data affects the quality of the review.
- The quality of the review can affect the outcome of the case.
There needs to be more discussion surrounding this topic and the hope is that the courts and corporations will begin to focus more on the necessity of the entire process and not software alone to solve the litigation cost concerns.