Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Example of EDiscovery Cheaper Than Paper

Here is a great example of how the judicious use of technology can make e-discovery of data cheaper and faster than the tried and true paper paradigm.  This LitSupport listserv post comes from Paul Engel, the President and CTO of VeBRIDGE in Lexington, KY.  Paul ish well known in Summation circles as a top notch litigation technology consultant and this examplar is extremely informative.

This is an interesting thread. I do a presentation on “EDD Gotchas” and include a quick comparison of an e-discovery job we did a few years ago w/ its equivalent hard-copy conversion

The EDD job was 12GB of data. It was pre-culled, so the filtering and de-duping ended up eliminating 15% of the emails and only 4% of the e-docs. The job was completed in a couple of days and resulted in 105K emails out of 124K in the repository, and 71K e-docs out of 74K on the produced hard drive. Since it was EDD, the output was 100% text searchable and fully meta-data coded…all 1.3 million pages. The cost was under $9K.

Pricing the same job in the old days of paper, it would have cost couple hundred thousand (including full bibliographic coding), and the OCR would have resulted in an accuracy of between 70% and 90%. (Before we debate this number…even in a highly competitive market, the cost would have exceeded $100K.) PLUS, in the absence of de-duping and filtering, over 160,000 pages of evidence would have had to have been reviewed. At low paralegal costs and assuming a couple hundred pages per hour, that would have cost the client an additional $60K.

How soon we forget! The sticker shock comes from the physical miniaturization of the content. Looking at over 500 stacked boxes makes $200K seem reasonable. Looking at 3 DVDs makes $9K seem outrageous!

Oh … I forgot to mention the turnaround time would have been weeks or months instead of hours!

Is E-Discovery Too Expensive?

There has been a fascinating thread on the Lit Support ListServ this week that was started by the following post.  “Why is EDD and Data Processing So Expensive, why can’t IT or my secretary do this ? I know that we have all been faced with this so I am wondering if anyone  can point me to a few good references, as I want to write a document that the average person can read and understand. This will help from having to explain this 300 times a year.” 

The answers have ranged from the comically brief:  “It runs on magic, and magic is expensive.” and  “Why should lawyers get to make all the money?” to the concise and erudite answer posted by George Socha: 

“First: ‘Why is EDD and Data Processing So Expensive?’: Processing ESI can be expensive because consumers demand that the work be done very quickly and with a high degree of accuracy and reliability, in conditions where it may well be that at the outset no one knows the scope of the undertaking or the complexities and challenges to be encountered along the way. Prices vary greatly, at least in part because ³processing² means many different things. Prices have dropped considerably; as a result, however, there now is the danger of consumers paying such a low price that providers end up cutting too many corners, with a drop in quality that may not be acceptable.
But really to me the query seems to beg question, “what is ediscovery”?   A good answer to that question can be found at Ralph Loseys blog this week but it would seem to me that anyone who truly understands what ediscovery is would know that the answers to the list serv post are 1. It isn’t too expensive if done properly and 2.  Because you need special training.

Second: “Why can’t IT or my secretary do this?’ If IT or your secretary has an acceptable level of expertise and experience and is provided an
acceptable level of resources, then IT or your secretary can do the work. One is not able or unable to handle the challenges of dealing with ESI
simply because of the name of one¹s employer or the title of one¹s position. An organization does not magically become qualified to engage in electronic discovery activities simply be calling itself an electronic discovery provider, nor is an organization automatically disqualified simply because it is a law firm or a client. Rather, it is a question of expertise, experience, resources, and the like.”

 What the question really shows is the complete disdain attorneys have for litigation support professionals. I mean come on now, would that same attorney ask why his IT or secretary couldn’t draft a Motion for Summary Judgement or a restraining order? The fact is most attorneys think if you don’t learn it in law school it isn’t professional and anyone should be able to do it.  Which is why first associates fresh out of law school in New York or Chicago or LA make 2-3 times much as IT and lit support professionals with 10-15 years experience.  And why Michael Arkfeld continues to say that 95% of the attorneys in the country don’t understand ediscovery at all.