Manage corporate litigation costs and maintain flexibility with these three best practices for eDiscovery.
Cost predictability is a lofty goal for any business to achieve, and when it comes to eDiscovery, it can be a huge challenge. As little as five years ago, corporations and law firms depended primarily on managed service partners to help control costs. Cost predictability at that time was achieved through service agreements, but the rates individual service providers charged varied wildly. Providers, in addition to not having standardized rates, also had different ways of charging for the same items. The proposals for identical projects sent to two providers typically contained significant variances in price.
Today, the industry largely dictates fair prices for managed services, so there are fewer discrepancies between competing providers. However, accurately planning and budgeting for eDiscovery presents challenges, especially when an unexpectedly large case results in costly burst fees and hosting markups. Here are 3 tips for predicting and controlling costs – even with something as unpredictable as eDiscovery.
#1 Accurately Evaluate the Scope
Any organization dealing with large volumes of data should be familiar with the details of the data in question; the type of data, where it is located, and what procedures should be employed to comply with eDiscovery requests during the course of litigation.
Many organizations have internal eDiscovery groups to manage the scope of each litigation matter; data collection and culling, deliverables, technology needs, deadlines and ultimately costs.Smaller companies, or those without a dedicated eDiscovery team, have the ability perform preparatory legwork for litigation. Internal resources can be leveraged to identify relevant custodians and develop keyword and date restriction strategies prior to bringing in external partners. This allows smaller companies to maintain a manageable project scope.The time spent during an internal evaluation of project scope up-front will often uncover potential issues at the onset, which allows organizations to plan more efficiently and effectively.
#2 Understand and Invest in Available Technologies
The days of blindly turning everything over to outside counsel and expecting them to run the gamut are over. While eDiscovery software was once incredibly cost prohibitive, that is no longer the case.
Corporations are taking on more eDiscovery tasks themselves with the aid of today’s more user-friendly eDiscovery solutions. Consequently, innovative eDiscovery solution providers are offering flexible pricing models and storage arrangements that accommodate this move towards self-sufficiency.
For example, management often provides budgetary guidelines to seek out solutions that meet the established parameters, but costs associated with eDiscovery can quickly surpass their original estimates. Businesses, although they aspire to limit eDiscovery costs year after year, still maintain the ability to scale up or down as needed. When rapid scalability is desired, a licensing model is often the best solution.
A licensing model helps to better position these organizations from the onset, requiring them to only pay for what they commonly use. When the team needs additional resources, they can scale up performance for a set period of time. Once the hurdle is overcome, the environment can be scaled back down to normal operational usage, so organizations only pay for the services than they actually use without compromising performance while maintaining cost predictability.
#3 Leverage Managed Services Wisely
While organizations of all sizes employ individuals to carry out litigation support and eDiscovery services, service providers are still essential as strategic partners that complement in-house resources. With the right strategic partnerships, established and effective processes provide the necessary technology and capacity to address the scope of any project. Once the specifics of an opportunity are known, a partner can knowledgably predict and convey all costs associated with each project, thereby allowing organizations to be one step closer to achieving total cost predictability.
Managed service partners have remained a popular choice due to their abundant expertise and dexterity in managing sizable amounts of data and tight deadlines. For most companies, a combination of internal and external resources is the preferred approach, and the best way to manage costs while ensuring optimal results.
Find out more about ONE Discovery’s fair and flexible pricing model, and how it can be used to achieve cost predictability here.