It’s impossible to overlook the transformative effects that widespread digitization continues to have on the landscape of legal work—in particular, our relationship to information. However, the evolution of technology and its impact on legal work are creating a significant financial strain on legal teams and organizations. It’s not uncommon, for example, for ediscovery costs to make up the majority of litigation costs, with 75% of those funds used on review-related tasks. As the amount of discoverable information grows, ediscovery expenses can increase apace, unless properly controlled.
Before legal teams address the complexity of modern data, they first need to confront the increasingly high volume of electronic information that’s sure to be associated with almost any case. While each matter is different, teams often have an obligation to review anywhere from hundreds to millions of documents, which can be a considerable challenge for even the most capable and sizable operations.
Four Strategies to Reduce Ediscovery Review Costs
To reduce the volume of documents requiring review, administrators and their teams can rely on the following strategies:
1. Reduce Review Costs at the Onset Through Early Case Assessment
Early case assessment, or ECA, refers to certain tools and methods used by legal teams to reduce data volume before the reviewal process even begins. By gaining critical insights into the nature of the data, identifying and eliminating duplicate documents, and optimizing the ability to search for relevant information using keywords, legal teams can simultaneously cut costs on data storage and make the actual review process more efficient.
Traditionally, ECA tools utilize an “in-out” strategy. First, data goes into a processing tool for extraction, deduplication, and deNISTing (a specific method for eliminating superfluous data based on file type). The “in-out” strategy allows legal teams to search through text and metadata more easily based on keywords and, ultimately, to cull or pull out any documents that likely won’t be useful to the case. Once the entire ECA process is complete, the culled data will be stored separately so that it reduces the volume of documents in the review space but can still be accessed as needed.
Ediscovery platforms, such as Everlaw, build on the traditional ECA strategy in two critical ways.
First, in addition to text and metadata, our processing tool also extracts the images and native files associated with documents. Images and native files often provide much more intuitive insights into the data contained in the ECA space, reducing the level of technical know-how necessary to navigate the data pool or understand the complexities associated with metadata.
Secondly, instead of housing culled documents in a siloed location, Everlaw’s ECA space is directly linked to the review space so that anyone with access to both can move easily between the two, promoting and demoting documents efficiently based on their immediate usefulness.
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