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Managing Discovery Costs

Evaluating and Improving Organizational Readiness – Program Management Series, Part 2

Litigation readiness is a measure of how prepared an organization is to respond to the next litigation event that arises.  How quickly can the organization leap into action?  How long will it take to identify relevant sources and custodians?  How long to identify the resources needed to begin collections and review?  How many processes will have to be defined on the fly?  How many wheels reinvented?  How much unnecessary duplication of past work will take place? Continue reading to learn how to approach and answer these questions, and more.

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Taking the eDiscovery Bull by the Horns – Program Management Series, Part 1

Program management should be an active concern for those attorneys and other legal department personnel responsible for eDiscovery activities within an organization.  Effective program management can do even more than effective project management to reduce costs and risks and to increase predictability, consistency, and defensibility. Along with cost, defensibility is a primary concern about eDiscovery activities, and as with cost, defensibility can be improved with effective program management. Read on to learn how.

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ECA Options and Planning Considerations – Data Targeting Series, Part 3

The last segment discusses data targeting options during early case assessment and considerations for overall strategy. During early case assessment (ECA), in almost any modern document review platform, case teams have a powerful set of tools at their disposal for data targeting prior to review. Your goal should be to understand the specifics of the options available in your source systems and your discovery tools so that you can assess which ones will be most useful to you in each specific project and how aggressive you should be in your overall targeting efforts. Read on to learn more about data targeting tools that can be used prior to review.

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Data Targeting During Collection and Processing – Data Targeting Series, Part 2

In this segment we review the data targeting options during the collection and processing phases. The extent to which the right data can be targeted during the collection phase will depend primarily on the specific devices and systems from which you are collecting. Once your material has been collected and you are ready to begin processing the data, another range of data targeting options is available to you. In addition to standard removal of known system files, duplicate files, and duplicate messages, there are several filtering options you can dive into.

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Target More, Spend Less – Data Targeting Series, Part 1

eDiscovery continues to evolve but remains a costly endeavor. To more narrowly target the right data prior to review, there are a range of tools and techniques available in each prior phase–before litigation, during collection and restoration, during processing, and during early case assessment and review preparation.  To leverage these tools and techniques effectively, you will need to think about discovery as more than just a legal activity–you will need to think about it as an information management and retrieval exercise. Read on to learn more about the key data targeting options available to you in each project phase, from simple data mapping to full technology-assisted review.

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Key Project Scoping and Planning Takeaways Series, Part 7

One final piece of advice for effective eDiscovery project scoping and planning: seek help from experienced practitioners early and often.  It is quite common for organizations not to involve an eDiscovery service provider or independent expert in their eDiscovery project efforts until much of the initial scoping and planning has already been done – sometimes after the meet-and-confer has already occurred and an agreement has already been negotiated.  Unfortunately, at this point it’s already too late to avoid some of the pitfalls discussed in this series, and the negotiated agreement may not even be technically feasible. Read on to review the other key project scoping and planning takeaways from this series.

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eDiscovery Project Roles and Communication Series, Part 6

As you transition from your planning and estimation activities into the full eDiscovery project, taking time to predefine key roles and communication guidelines can save significant time and confusion later.  Even a modestly-sized eDiscovery project is likely to involve individuals from the client organization or one or more law firms. Just as important as setting a plan in place for key roles and delegation of decision-making authority is establishing some rules or guidelines for how communication should be handled, including how it will flow, what rules should be followed for email, and what other documentation should be generated. Learn how to assign primary points of contact and delegate key authority as well as how to establish communication and documentation rules.

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Volume Estimation and Downstream Planning Series, Part 5

Once you have completed your initial planning and completed your investigation activities to validate and flesh out your initial assumptions, you should be equipped with enough information to proceed to estimations of project volumes and potential costs. As with volume estimation, cost estimation is largely a matter of math, multiplying your projected volumes and counts by your preferred service provider’s price list (or bundle, etc.). Several of the calculators linked to within the post for data volume estimation can be used to help you estimate pricing as well, and many service providers also offer their own calculator built to reflect their specific pricing model. Read further to review the factors used in these calculations and to discover the types of calculators available.

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Surveying and Sampling During eDiscovery Project Planning Series, Part 4

The investigative options you need to undertake to test your project assumptions will depend on the specifics of your project, especially on its scale.  Larger or more complex projects will require more – and more ambitious – investigative efforts.  Surveying and sampling are particularly useful and important in projects that feature a large number of potential custodians or other sources. Surveying in this context, like targeted interviews, is part and parcel of what would normally be your full, pre-collection custodian interview process. In the land of eDiscovery, “sampling” is used to refer to both judgmental and statistical sampling.  In this early project planning phase, both kinds of sampling can be useful. Learn more about the specific types of these methods and when each is the most beneficial.

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Investigating Your eDiscovery Project Assumptions Series, Part 3

Once you have collaborated with knowledgeable individuals to brainstorm hypothetical materials and potential sources (and prioritize them), you are ready to begin investigating the facts on the ground to bridge the gap from your imagination to actual reality.  A variety of investigative options are available for accomplishing this, including: targeted interviewing; data mapping; surveying; and, sampling.  Which one (or more than one) will be most useful to you will depend on your circumstances – in particular, your expected number and types of sources.

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Initial eDiscovery Project Scoping Steps Series, Part 2

Each new project is going to be fairly opaque to you at the outset.  You will know the general legal subject matter, the essential event(s) giving rise to the issue, and any individually named defendants within the organization.  Beyond that, however, anything and everything (or nothing) might be relevant. Starting with what you know about the type of matter, the underlying facts, and the key players (typically based on a complaint or preservation notice), you and your collaborators must extrapolate what types of relevant materials are likely to exist within the organization and where (or in whose custody) they are likely to be.  This should include consideration of both the information and materials you will want to see and use and the information and materials you anticipate the opposing party will request. Once you have finished your brainstorming exercise and have a list of potentially-extant relevant materials, likely places to look for them, and distinctive characteristics you might use to identify them, your next step is to prioritize these potential materials, sources, and custodians to guide your subsequent activities and allocation of resources.  Read more to learn the general flow of inquiry and the criteria on which to base prioritization.

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Clichés, Chaos, and eDiscovery Project Planning Series, Part 1

eDiscovery is undeniably challenging.  Data volumes continue to multiply, data types continue to diversify, and data custodians continue to modify their tools and practices.  Couple this daunting set of variables with an ever-expanding set of eDiscovery tools and services available to be leveraged, add time-pressure and an adversarial process, and you have a perfect recipe for chaos, uncertainty, and small (but important) things getting missed. The reliable way to reduce the risk of such errors is to take the time for proper planning before rushing headlong to action.  To be sure, planning an eDiscovery project is an iterative process that overlaps and intersects with other early project activities, but investing the time and effort required for effective planning, from the beginning (and throughout those early phases), will produce downstream benefits including saved time, saved money, reduced risk, and increased defensibility. 

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