With the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) going into effect earlier this month, legal teams are more mindful than ever about the costs of preparing matters for trial. While eDiscovery has become an essential component of litigation, there are high costs associated with relying on the sophisticated digital arsenal of tools required to parse today’s data. In fact, Erin Harrison, editor-in-chief at LTN, recently quoted a vendor as saying that “e-discovery is so expensive that it has been weaponized to drive opposing parties into submission… it forces swift settlements, delays justice, cheats clients and enrages judges.”
But now, with the spotlight on containing costs and ensuring proportionality to avoid the weaponization of eDiscovery and the courts’ ire, the pressure is on legal teams to streamline the discovery process. This point was brought to bear during a recent webinar to help identify best practices to manage spend on eDiscovery. With eDiscovery accounting for “at least 25 percent of litigation budget[s],” the key to reining in costs is to both limit the scope of “‘what will be reviewed by lawyers’” and to provide more context to reviewers “so that they…spend less time figuring out whether information is relevant.”
Geoffrey A. Vance, partner at Perkins Coie and head of its eDiscovery practice group, suggested starting with the human elements before looking for ways to apply technology efficiently. Simply identifying each team member’s competencies and aligning their skills and expertise with key elements of the matter can help legal teams control expenses.
Another low-tech strategy to manage costs over the course of a matter is estimating costs and developing a budget before beginning work. Similarly, outsourcing areas where the legal team lacks experience or core competencies or leveraging technology-assisted review (TAR) can reduce the scope of what requires manual review and streamline the eDiscovery process, limiting spend along the way.
Interested in learning more? You can start that process here.