The biggest cost driver in e-discovery is the document review part, where millions and millions of documents must be reviewed for potential relevancy and/or responsiveness. KPMG estimates that first level document review encompasses anywhere between 58% and 90% of total litigation costs. While predictive coding technologies have been somewhat successful in culling down most of the documents by utilizing an optimal combination of ‘recall’ and ‘precision’ values, human eyes are still required. Attorneys, senior paralegals power up review centers specifically designed for such projects only to find repetitive work day in day out – resulting in high turnover.
Typically, teams are rounded up and dismantled on an as-needed basis using attorneys, paralegals and law school graduates. This, in turn, has created a ‘day laborer’ mentality, as most projects are short term in nature, anywhere from a few days to months. Therefore, it is not uncommon for document review teams to start with 30 to 50 individuals, and during the course of the project to lose over half of the original members. With costs and inconsistencies in mind, high document reviewer turnover has not only affected the consistency of first level document review projects, but has led to an inefficient model of ‘training and re-training’, consequently resulting in escalation of costs.
Presently, though, due to influx of attorney workforce, pay rates have been seen to take a downward turn – a simple supply and demand situation.
The overall costs, however, remain high due to advent of ‘Big Data’. The question remains: How do you further reduce costs? There is good news!
Let me illustrate savings for a law firm or corporation in a simple hypothetical scenario:
For a 100 GB project (approx. 15,000 docs/GB – source edrm.net), we are talking approx. 1.5 million docs @$40/hour or $.80 per document (assuming 50 docs reviewed per hour – source edrm.net). Total billing = $1.2 million. With offshore attorney rate @$20/hour or $.40 per document. Total billing = $600K
Savings for the law firm of corporation by 50%, that is, save $600K – flat!
One can only imagine the cost savings in much larger engagements. These savings provide additional value and act as supplement to the predictive coding technology – together they form a true win-win solution for clients.
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