In a lengthy, but very thorough and inspiring blog posting, Ralph Losey of the eDiscovery Team details the bottom line of estimating eDiscovery costs in what he proposes to be the Bottom Line Driven Proportional Review and Production.
A basis for his proposal is that he claims that no matter what, production costs do matter to the client – a lot – and that it’s actually not difficult to estimate this cost, since it is mostly based on projected review costs, defensible culling, and best-practices for review.
Therefore, for Losey, and for any smart project manager, establishing a budget is imperative and is a key first step. It is the bottom line that drives the document review and keeps the costs proportional.
Important points for an eDiscovery Budget
As part of the eDiscovery budget, Losey highlights several points to estimate an effective document review budget:
- Stressing a budget at the beginning of a project that is proportionate to the monies and issues of the case is key
- After analysis of the case merits and determination of the maximum expense for production proportional to a case, the responding party makes a good faith estimate of the likely maximum number of documents that can be reviewed within that budget
- The producing party then uses smart search techniques and quality controls to find the documents most likely to be responsive within the number of documents that the budget allows
Of course, as Losey points out, there is still a lot of uncertainty when predicting review costs per document, however estimates should be realistic, proportionate, accurate, and use best practices.
Losey’s New Gold Standard for Review and Search
Therefore, in hopes of replacing the old methods of document review unassisted by technology, Losey’s quest for a new gold standard for review and search targets the issues directly and with a refreshing and realistic point of view. He includes points such as: more training, direct supervision and feedback, collaboration between attorneys and technologists, strategic and mutual cooperation between opposing counsel, and even new tools and psychological techniques to keep reviewers engaged in projects.
Losey reminds us that all cases, data, matters, situations are different. Even though he offers examples and estimates, it is essential to know your data, the matter, and utilize a hybrid of collaboration, human review and technology.
Sfile’s Answer for Production Estimates
Of particular interest to us at Sfile is his initial claim that clients really do care about production costs. We completely understanding. Sfile innovates to reduce and even eliminate cost risk by advancing technologies to reliably and effecienty deliver insight while creating intuitive and productive experiences for end users. In addition to our exceptional and knowledgable professionals, Sfile provides a price offering that directly targets production costs. Sfile’s End-to-End Electronic Discovery with Pricing InsuranceTM pricing model includes native, TIFF, or PDF production of up to 10% of ingested data and guarantees discounted production rate for data in excess of 10% of ingested data. Thus, creating a true end-to-end price for eDiscovery.
Overall, Losey’s theme of appropriate and realistic cost estimates and strategies for efficient and valuable review teams runs deep and evidently shows that he is passionate about this goal. He suitably closes his article by simulating a motivational speech after Martin Luther King’s and John Lennon’s grand dreams:
“I dream of a day where man and computer work together to bring truth and justice for all, not just the elite few who can afford it now. I dream of a day where e-discovery is affordable and used in all size cases…I have a dream of a new method of technology assisted discovery, where Man and Machine work together to find the core truth...”
This is definitely something that we agree on with Losey and that our Sfile team shares – a mission to fulfill the dream for affordable eDiscovery for all size litigation cases.