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eDiscovery

Are you struggling to control eDiscovery costs? Here are some practical tips to consider

Are you wrestling with consumption-based eDiscovery costs? You’re not alone. The process of eDiscovery is notoriously expensive, and for good reason. With burgeoning data volumes, increased data complexity, and a stringent regulatory landscape, the costs quickly spiral out of control. These costs aren’t just a “necessary evil”; they represent a significant operational challenge that can drastically affect your bottom line.

This article aims to break down the multi-faceted aspects contributing to the overall eDiscovery cost. Then, it will delve into different approaches for accounting for these costs. Finally, it will offer practical eDiscovery cost control tips to streamline the process and achieve cost-efficiency.

What the Statistics Say About eDiscovery Costs

According to the Civil Litigation Survey conducted by IAALS (Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System) of the University of Denver, 66 percent of participants agreed that discovery was conducted in at least 70% of the company’s cases.

Most respondents (62%) reported that the cost of pretrial litigation for a typical company case has increased, and they pointed “eDiscovery” as a primary factor influencing the litigation cost.

As per ComplexDiscovery research, document review holds the major share (66%) in eDiscovery costs, followed by data processing (19%) and collection (15%).

All these figures add up to one simple fact: the need for effective eDiscovery cost control tips is not just a luxury; it’s an absolute necessity.

The Multi-faceted Costs of Traditional eDiscovery

Hard Costs

When thinking about eDiscovery costs, the first thing that comes to mind is hard costs. These include:

  • Vendor and outside counsel fees, can quickly add up depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Costs associated with data volume in eDiscovery, as many pricing models are based on data volumes.
  • Over-collecting data due to a lack of appropriate tools can significantly inflate the budget.

This emphasis on data volume is key. Because service providers often charge per gigabyte, the more data you have, the more you’re going to pay.

Team Time

Let’s not forget the most valuable asset in your organization: human capital. Man-hours spent on eDiscovery can be a financial sinkhole.

  • Hours can be wasted manually tracking legal hold notifications or following up with custodians.
  • A significant amount of time is devoted to manual review, pulling valuable resources away from other essential tasks.
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of IT time spent on data preservation and collection.

In the absence of streamlined processes and tools, the man-hours add up, making team time a significant factor in eDiscovery costs.

Operational Costs

Beyond hard costs and team time, operational costs often sneak up on organizations. These include:

  • Staffing needs, which may require hiring more team members or reallocating existing staff.
  • The cost of educational resources and documentation necessary to ensure compliance and robust data governance.

Both hard costs and operational costs intertwine with the esi volume in eDiscovery, underscoring the importance of managing this effectively.

Risks

One cannot overlook the risk factors that can exacerbate the eDiscovery burden.

  • There’s the looming threat of court sanctions due to spoliation of evidence.
  • Human errors stemming from an over-reliance on manual processes can be costly.
  • Missing court-imposed deadlines or falling afoul of changing privacy regulations can both induce hefty fines.

Accounting for eDiscovery Costs: Different Approaches

To tackle the issue, it’s crucial to understand how to account for eDiscovery costs. Here are some methods:

The Linear Approach

  • This entails breaking down the costs stage-by-stage in each case.
  • Whether a case lasts two days or two years, capturing the costs at each stage offers a more granular view.

The Holistic Approach

  • This approach advocates for a 360-degree view, considering all the infrastructure needed to support eDiscovery.
  • Here, you account for everything: staffing, IT costs, legal department expenses, and vendor fees.

The Directional Approach

  • This framework focuses on segregating internal and external costs.
  • It’s vital to understand how much is being spent within the company versus what is outsourced.

While each approach has its merits, a balanced combination of all three can provide a holistic view of where the money is going. That knowledge is the first step to control eDiscovery costs effectively.

The Role of Technology in Reducing eDiscovery Costs

When it comes to reducing eDiscovery costs, technology can provide a big boost to firms.

TAR and Data Analytics

If there’s a buzzword everyone in the legal sector is paying attention to, it’s Technology-Assisted Review (TAR). A godsend for anyone seeking to reduce data volume in eDiscovery, TAR leverages machine learning to sift through the haystack of data for the needles of relevance.

Then there’s data analytics, another game-changer. Sophisticated eDiscovery platforms offer multidimensional data analytics like email thread analytics, PII analytics, keyphrase analytics, content analytics, image analytics, and fuse analytics to identify data patterns, relationships, and anomalies. These insights slash the ESI volume in eDiscovery and focus attorney review on pertinent information, thereby reducing review costs substantially.

Automation in Legal Hold and Preservation

Automating the legal hold process can free up a lot of human capital. The right legal hold management software will allow you to send, track, and manage legal hold notifications without manual input. On the data preservation front, automated tools can help in capturing and storing data in a way that’s both efficient and compliant. The end result? Reduced operational and team time costs.

Cybersecurity Measures

Remember, a single data breach can cost millions. Utilizing eDiscovery platforms with robust security measures can mitigate risks tied to data breaches. If you’re outsourcing, always opt for vendors that adhere to stringent cybersecurity protocols. Not only do you protect sensitive data, but you also avoid the astronomical costs associated with data breaches.

4 Practical Tips to Control eDiscovery Costs

If you’re looking to take some practical steps to control these costs, we have four recommendations.

1. Be a Minimalist with Data Collection

  • Don’t hoard data. Over-collecting can be a slippery slope into ediscovery cost escalation.
  • Being selective in what data is collected for review can significantly reduce data volume in ediscovery.
  • Implement a “need-to-know” policy. If the data isn’t necessary for a case, don’t collect it.

2. Foster Interdepartmental Cooperation

This might sound like a management seminar cliché, but cooperation between IT and legal departments is crucial. A well-oiled interdepartmental machine can make the eDiscovery process more efficient. By doing so, the organization saves on both team time and operational costs.

3. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

It’s far cheaper to be proactive than reactive when it comes to eDiscovery. This involves:

  • Regularly updating compliance policies
  • Continuous staff training
  • Employing predictive coding and other advanced features in eDiscovery platforms

4. Leverage Technology for Monitoring and Reporting

One of the best ways to control eDiscovery costs is through monitoring and reporting. Use technology to track spending, monitor compliance, and predict future costs. The right eDiscovery project management software can be your eyes and ears, alerting you to cost-saving opportunities and productivity gaps.

Wrapping Up

So, there you have it. eDiscovery doesn’t have to be a gaping hole in your budget. While the ESI volume in eDiscovery and other factors can drive up costs, a proactive approach infused with the right technology can make a difference.

With these eDiscovery cost control tips, you’ll not only save money but also transform your eDiscovery process from a cost center into a strategic asset.

Whether you’re a managing partner at a law firm or the head of eDiscovery in a corporate legal department, controlling eDiscovery costs is an attainable goal. It’s all about leveraging technology, optimizing processes, and being proactive.

The result? A more streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective eDiscovery process.

Categories
Investigation Technology

Supercharge Your Internal Investigation with AI-powered eDiscovery Technology

Every organization knows internal investigations can be laborious, complicated, and difficult. Why? Because it might be difficult to discover a single piece of information or proof among mountains of data, much like seeking a needle in a haystack.

Imagine if there was a quicker way to solve this problem and make it simpler. Welcome to the eDiscovery age, which has revolutionized the field of internal investigations.

This article will explore how AI-powered eDiscovery technology is the superhero internal investigators need. We’ll uncover the tremendous value eDiscovery brings to internal investigations, making them more efficient and effective.

What Is eDiscovery?

eDiscovery is a process that identifies, collects, and analyzes electronic information. Think of it as your smart detective who scours through emails, documents, databases, etc.

But with AI thrown into the mix, eDiscovery is sharper, quicker, and incredibly efficient.

The Growing Importance of Improving eDiscovery

eDiscovery has taken a pivotal role in modern legal practices, especially when it comes to identifying, collecting, and reviewing electronically stored information (ESI) during lawsuits or investigations.

Remember the days of sifting through tons of paper? That’s mostly in the past. eDiscovery has revolutionized this process, making it far more efficient. With the digital age bringing in a surge of data—from emails, text messages, cloud files, and even social media—the sheer volume can be daunting.

This digital evolution requires something more. The growing data volumes are becoming a challenge. eDiscovery, as helpful as it is, still demands considerable time and effort, especially during the review phase.

The review process consumes nearly 66% of the core eDiscovery expenses alone, making one question how more efficiency can be brought into internal investigation processes.

Introducing AI-powered eDiscovery

AI-powered eDiscovery is not your everyday software. It’s built on advanced artificial intelligence technologies, incorporating features such as Technology Assisted Review (TAR), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP). What’s the benefit, you ask?

  • Faster analysis of vast amounts of data
  • Enhanced accuracy and review consistency
  • Advanced categorization capabilities
  • Trend identification that often slips through human review
  • A significant reduction in cost and resources

However, with every innovation comes skepticism. And it’s vital to separate the hype from the reality (Check out our AI in eDiscovery: A Beginner’s Guide). While AI has proven its mettle in various creative fields, its factual accuracy, especially in legal interpretations, can sometimes fall short.

Take Chat-GPT, for instance. Its ability to convey information can sometimes be off-mark, reflecting the ongoing development of AI technology. AI’s potential is undeniably vast, but it is essential to tread with caution, particularly in sensitive areas like legal matters.

However, there is a smart way to use it that gets around these challenges.

The Added Value of AI-powered eDiscovery in Internal Investigations

What makes AI-powered eDiscovery such a game-changer for internal investigations? Here are some standout benefits:

  • Enhanced Data Analysis: eDiscovery dives deep into data, pinpointing relevant bits of information that might have taken ages to find manually.
  • Time Efficiency: Forget long hours of searching. AI-powered eDiscovery quickly zooms in on what you need, meeting those tight investigation deadlines.
  • Cost-Effective: Less human labor, fewer errors, and quicker results. This means saving big on costs.
  • Predictive Analysis: AI-powered eDiscovery is so smart, it can predict patterns and potential future issues based on historical data.

eDiscovery for Internal Investigations for Large-Size Enterprises

For investigators in large corporations, the challenge of conducting internal investigations has never been more complex, especially given the increasing volume and complexity of electronic data involved.

Here’s why eDiscovery technology is an indispensable asset in this context:

Efficient Identification of Wrongdoing

eDiscovery can quickly sift through various digital data sources, from emails to transaction records, to identify elements that may substantiate or refute suspicions of misconduct within the organization.

Rapid Response to Regulatory Requests and Subpoenas

eDiscovery solutions allow for rapid identification and collection of necessary documents and electronic files, making it easier for organizations to adhere to strict deadlines without compromising the integrity of the investigation.

Unlocking Hidden Data

eDiscovery technology can restore and analyze data deliberately hidden or accidentally overlooked, providing a complete picture for the investigators and ensuring no stone is left unturned.

Facilitating Compliance Audits

eDiscovery can serve as a vital tool for ensuring compliance. It can automatically sort through digital assets to ensure that they meet current legal and corporate guidelines, reducing the likelihood of costly legal issues down the road.

Handling the Increasing Volume of In-house Reviews

With the average large company facing multiple internal investigation events annually, the necessity for a streamlined, efficient approach is obvious. eDiscovery technology helps manage the workload by making the review process more manageable and less prone to human error.

Balancing AI with Human Expertise in eDiscovery

Legal analysis is an art. It requires a deep understanding, reasoning, and uniquely human skill. And while AI tools can present multiple perspectives, it’s up to legal professionals to interpret and apply that data.

AI-powered eDiscovery is already showing its worth, and as technology matures, the integration of AI with legal acumen is set to shape the future of internal investigation. But always remember: while AI can assist, the human touch gives it direction.

Categories
Legal Technology

Legalweek 2024 Recap: Empowering Legal Tech Innovation with Responsible AI & Workflow Optimization

The fervor for the latest subjective technologies and qualitative insights dominated the spotlight at Legalweek 2024. Virtually every provider seemed to incorporate ChatGPT into their sales spiel or presentation.

Well, that’s not totally true. I’ll confess, I couldn’t resist purchasing a massager kit for my wife. There was a certain satisfaction for me in connecting with a fellow quick-minded sensory human amidst the whirlwind of futuristic virtual offerings.

Responsible Use of AI was a pivotal theme at Legalweek 2024, reflecting the evolving landscape where AI technologies are increasingly integrated into legal workflows. It was difficult to pick which session had the most knowledgeable AI expert. I, most often, found the best conversations in the halls and at the various networking events. Experts stressed the significance of accountability in AI deployment, emphasizing the need for AI models to provide transparent sourcing of data summaries. This transparency ensures reliability and ethical usage, which is particularly crucial in legal contexts where the accuracy of information is paramount. Legal professionals were urged to prioritize AI solutions that uphold standards of accountability, enabling them to leverage AI for informed decision-making and strategy development confidently.

Case Management Solutions emerged as a pressing concern, echoing the difficulties faced by law firms inundated with vast amounts of data. Most firms I spoke with shed light on the challenges of managing diverse data types and formats, often exacerbated by outdated project and matter management software. IT directors disclosed their increasing frustrations with the administrative burden imposed by legacy systems, highlighting the need for modern communication and classification tools. Moreover, the increasing volume of data storage necessitates comprehensive solutions capable of auto-classifying content and providing actionable insights into matter status and budget analysis. The call for streamlined workflows resonated strongly in my conversations, underscoring the urgency for integrated platforms that optimize efficiency and productivity while ensuring compliance with data retention policies.

Controlling Risk with Workflow also arose as a central theme, reflecting the growing awareness of data management challenges and associated threats. I engaged in post-conference conversations which unveiled the prevalence of data mismanagement, particularly in sensitive sectors such as public agencies. The real-life use cases uncovered the potential dangers of inadequate workflow management, emphasizing the need for proactive risk mitigation strategies. Technology was identified as a fundamental tool in preserving content integrity and trust, enabling organizations to implement robust workflow solutions that uphold data governance standards. By leveraging advanced technologies tailored to their specific needs, legal professionals can navigate regulatory complexities with confidence, safeguarding sensitive information and mitigating potential liabilities.

Overall, my discussions with stakeholders during Legalweek 2024 consistently highlighted the remarkable capabilities of AI and its potential to enhance our efficiency as legal and technology professionals. We must diligently and meticulously construct and enforce the essential frameworks necessary for the optimal deployment of AI to ensure that its application propels the industry forward with integrity and responsibility at its core.