When looking to reduce litigation and eDiscovery costs, the first step is to evaluate your current spending. By assessing your litigation history and eDiscovery workflows over the last few years, you can use that information to only outsource the necessary functions.
This can be anything from assistance with sifting through your ESI for appropriate relevant content, to hosting it for review and production and to do the more mundane data processing tasks associated with these. Perhaps you need to share documents with the client or co-counsel in the “cloud” and the firm’s software doesn’t have that functionality; or the volume of documents to process is beyond the capability of the internal department. Whatever the reason, it is critical to thoroughly vet the third party that will be handling and hosting your data.
There is a good chance you are not taking full advantage of your internal capabilities, and outsourcing too many functions which is creating unnecessary costs for you in the long run. Once you’ve identified what workflows you can bring in-house, you’ll be able see any gaps that need to be outsourced to a third party expert. Before you start any negotiations, make sure you completely understand the different outsourcing options that are available.
Understand Your Various eDiscovery Outsourcing Opportunities
Expert Consulting on Workflows
Ever-increasing data volumes make any eDiscovery project an expensive proposition. Yet, by identifying the proper analytics workflow through consultation, and expertly implementing that workflow, analytics will more than pay for itself.
Talk to an eDiscovery consultant about your case and concerns regarding time and costs. The team will help plan, staff, quantify, budget, document and report. Your team of experts can introduce you to the real-time dashboards and reports that help you monitor your rates of review, your “burn rate” against the budget, and your estimated time to completion, just to name a few metrics.
Access to Analytics and Other Advanced Technology
The question then becomes “What if I have an application in-house that does not have analytics or other new technology features”? The answer should not be to work within the box of that application but to explore the alternative options available. If your in-house solution doesn’t have analytics capabilities, but a discovery project could benefit from them, you can leverage an eDiscovery service provider to process, load and run analytics with hosted technology.
The difference between success and failure is determined more by the workflow than it is by the tool.
It’s important to note how difficult it can be to determine which analytics components to implement on your matter. The difference between success and failure is determined more by the workflow than it is by the tool. With the right consulting partner, you’ll be able to leverage advanced technology and custom workflows yielding the best results.
All of this technology requires a lot of care. If you’ve ever looked at the system or architecture requirements for the latest and greatest software, it can be daunting.
These solutions require infrastructure and IT teams with expertise in virtualization, storage management, database administration, scripting, and software development. Supplementing internal litigation support teams with contract application specialists can pay huge dividends.
Managed Review and Dedicated Project Management
To set up the review team, run feasibilities, create the workflow, and managing a contract team can be very time consuming. Although the costs of managed review can seem higher at the outset, these reviews save thousands of dollars for the end client and the firm when compared to a linear document review workflow.
A managed document review allows the client to effectively communicate and collaborate with the project manager to create a review structure and workflow that meets the needs of their cases. Project managers allow the paralegals, associates and partners billing at higher rates to keep their day jobs. The billable hours of the firm are not spent in the minute-by-minute management of the review team.
Flexible Pricing Options
Some vendors will have a low per-gigabyte price for processing and a higher per-gigabyte rate for hosting the data. Vendors may offer “free” or low processing fees, but charge for loading data or high hourly fees for project management. Ask questions about setup fees, hourly fees or other line items that you don’t understand. For some, the outsourcing arrangement takes the form of a flat annual fee for all of the search, processing, hosting, review, production, storage, advanced analytics, and modest levels of eDiscovery project management and technical assistance to make it all work. The fee is is based on anticipated volumes and divided into monthly payments. For others with larger caseloads, more technology needs and more of their own trained “hands-on” staff, outsourcing may take the form of cloud-based services.
With this, counsel can rely on the service provider’s economies of scale for large infrastructure, robust bandwidth and 24-hour support for the outside counsel. But general counsel’s own eDiscovery staff will set up projects and manage them, often on dedicated hardware and with software of the department’s own choosing. With this model, counsel leverage the service provider’s knowledge and experience with software and process.
With a fully in-house model, the choice of technology may become obsolete within a few years. Utilizing a service provider whose primary focus is eDiscovery, new tools will always be available.
Have Your Pre-vetted Experts on Standby
Once the organization understands and documents the components that need to be outsourced, the next step is to match those needs with the service providers that have the required expertise. Among the requirements is to develop efficiencies around building knowledge and developing processes that are repeatable and consistent across all litigation support efforts. The organization may need to look at several service providers to ensure that all the needs can and will be met.
If possible, proactively vet the experts and establish a relationship ahead of time and have the contracts in place to avoid delays for time-sensitive matters as they arise.
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