This article was posted as original content on the ACEDS Blog, and written by Gavin W. Manes.
Every year about now, there are school supplies to be purchased and other preparations to be made for the coming year. They usually include paper, pencils, and erasers, but in the last few years include things like headphones, flash drives, and other technology. It’s a chance to reset and look ahead at what will be needed for the year ahead.
So, it’s also an excellent time to ride that wave and evaluate the technology you use in the course of your business practice and in eDiscovery. Instead of an end-of-the-year review, now is a great time to ask what’s working and what isn’t for how you handle litigation support. This can mean asking questions about the nitty gritty of the tools you use as well as higher-level strategic inquiries about cost.
Just like you might do with children or grandchildren needing new tech, it’s important to compare the features and pricing of the technology you need to have the best chance at eDiscovery success. That can be a daunting task since there are so many options, and the needs of each user may vary drastically.
Discussions on industry listservs and forums around billing systems, phone systems, and other operational software are robust and helpful. But finding a vendor-agnostic place to figure out eDiscovery technologies is challenging. As costs have decreased, data volume has increased, and there are many moving parts to the software offerings currently available. More users utilize eDiscovery technologies directly or tangentially through the various online systems provided by Microsoft, Google, and the like.
The options are voluminous, and many people wonder whether they should be using full-service or a subscription service for their eDiscovery projects. There are several factors to consider, including:
There are several common questions that stem from these factors. Do you have enough projects and people to do everything yourself? Do you need full-time help from a service provider to get the job done? Is it something in between?
- Project size
- Number of users
- Experience managing eDiscovery projects
- Number of open matters
- Availability of litigation support professionals
We recently worked with a client to help them understand how analytics can assist document review. They wanted to understand the additional costs and training required, particularly because they have one project a month, so they didn’t know if it was the right time to start using analytics. As with many users trying something for the first time, it would take longer to perform routine operations. But the dividends pay off the second time and beyond, which is particularly true for analytics in large data sets.
eDiscoveryassessment.com helps you determine where you’re at in the process of doing your own eDiscovery. This online survey poses five questions about your current state of eDiscovery by asking about project size, number of personnel, and other basic skill level questions. The assessment helps you determine if you are ready to handle eDiscovery tasks yourself or if you would benefit more from assistance based on those factors and cost.
Whether you’re a plaintiff, defendant, corporation, government entity, heavy-producing, or heavy-receiving party, the eDiscovery Assessment doesn’t favor one over another even though their goals may differ. Plaintiffs want to keep costs low and predictable and reduce the overall hours required to accomplish eDiscovery goals. Defense wants to reduce costs while maintaining hourly billable efforts in a way that satisfies customer expectations. Corporations may only have an eDiscovery event once a quarter, but the request may result in large document productions. Law firms may handle a few to hundreds of simultaneous matters involving handfuls of documents.
In some of these cases, entities should manage their own eDiscovery process in order to control costs even though they have vastly different needs. The eDiscovery Assessment takes those into account when making recommendations as to whether you are an ideal candidate for subscription services or whether it would be best to stay with a full-service provider.
Of course, there are projects of size and liability where having someone else lead the charge makes good business sense. Solutions exist that allow you to switch between self and full-service at a client or matter level.
Regardless, now is an excellent time to look at the upcoming year and determine what technology you can leverage to give you the best eDiscovery process and results possible.