The costs of e-discovery continue to rise as companies and individuals compile more and more data in this past-faced digital world. Every case, small and large, can benefit from an e-discovery lifecycle plan. Although each case must be analyzed separately and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach that will make sense for every matter, at least three variables should always be considered at the outset of any lawsuit or potential lawsuit.
1. Early Case Assessment. Most expenses incurred throughout the e-discovery lifecycle can be minimized at the outset. Know your relevant time frames, custodians, document types and retention policies well before you send or receive discovery requests. With this knowledge, you can best approach opposing counsel and the court to seek protections and set protocols based upon proportionality.
2. Project Management. The best made plans can become costly when the left hand is not speaking with the right hand. There should always be a point person from the law firm, client and any outside vendor or IT specialists (the e-discovery executive team) to ensure proper communication and execution. Each point person is then responsible for managing his/her internal team. It is critical for the e-discovery executive team to sit down at the outset and come up with a strategy that everyone can fully vet for potential problems and agree upon moving forward. The team must then meet regularly to discuss progress, glitches and insights to keep the larger teams on schedule and informed for effective and efficient delivery of results. You would be amazed how much expense is directly related to lack of communication, coordination and misunderstandings.
3. Technology. There are numerous technologies and vendors available to reduce costs. The following are just a few types available for consideration: de-duplication (and near duplication), word/phrase searching, sampling, bulk redactions, predictive coding, analytics, mapping, platforms and review tools including reports and trackers with real time information on progress. Each matter requires different technology to maximize cost savings. It is important to know your options and alternatives in advance and rely upon those with e-discovery experience to provide thoughtful guidance.