One of the most complex decisions at the onset of a legal matter is whether to keep document review in house or to outsource it to a third party.

According to the article “Quality Control: Fostering Higher Quality Data for Better E-Discovery,” whether one should outsource eDiscovery is “an individual decision” that should be based on the nuances of the legal matter as well as the day-to-day needs for counsel for the particular client.

eDiscovery is about more than the software used in the document review process, says the author, Erin Harris. She offers four factors that should determine the best way to conduct review: price per gigabyte, time to process the data, margin for error and the people involved. Furthermore, clients should also consider the gains they realize by retaining the services of a third-party eDiscovery provider, namely access to skilled project managers adept in the process, to a team of legal experts and to consultative problem-solving services.

Given eDiscovery’s above-mentioned advantages and the overall complexity, Harris also recommends outsourcing when:

1) You don’t have the headcount or hardware resources in-house to support the case; 2) When multiple parties are involved in the case and it requires a third-party (service provider) to keep the data; 3) Firms outsource to minimize internal risk; for example, securities litigation are high-risk type of cases that require some investigation and forensic analysis which may require someone to be deposed or testify in court.

Similarly, in a recent article, “Finding the Right eDiscovery Tools to Take Cost out of Review of Non-Traditional Media,” Jonathan Fowler contends that “[E]ach minute, billions of people across the globe create billions of messages using…communication modalities from a desktop, tablet or smartphone.” Fowler shares that with the onslaught of new and emerging communication modalities like WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik, iMessage, Line, KakaoTalk, Viber and Facebook Messenger, “the scale and diversity of the ESI archives created through these communication platforms can be daunting.”

Similarly, Fowler highlights an additional advantage to outsourcing to a third party provider: the ability of the provider to optimize document viewing. New and varied file types simply add to the complexity, which can further drive costs because of the time and effort that their review requires. But, with file optimization the review can be more efficient and less costly. What Fowler has seen in his role as Vice President and CISO at Consilio is that:

When case teams come across nontraditional file types, the first response typically is still to revert to the old approach of throwing reviewer bodies at the problem. That’s fine up to a point, but if you have a collection of 120 years of audio, even a review team of 100 people will take more than a year to get through the material—which is anything but practical or cost-effective.

Fowler also cites reviewer fatigue as a cost driver since it invariably results in “inconsistent document tagging and an overall poor quality review,” both strong reasons to outsource document review. However, that’s not to say that an outsourced review team won’t also experience fatigue, but they also have access to the absolute best resources to process data which can decrease the potential for error, tediousness and cost.

Don’t let the complexity of eDiscovery take you and your organization down a costly path; consider outsourcing for all of your eDiscovery needs. While there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all option, the right eDiscovery experts you can help your team manage and contain the costs of complex matters.

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