How to Utilize eDiscovery on a Budget

March 15, 2020 | Article

The process of eDiscovery can be a very costly endeavor for anyone going through litigation. Typical eDiscovery platform software can be tens of thousands of dollars and run well north of the $100,000 mark. In addition to that steep price tag, additional staff is often needed to review and produce data in these platforms.

The price may be high, but eDiscovery services are critical for organizations and law firms looking to review, process and present on electronically stored information (ESI). So how do you create a cost-effective eDiscovery plan?

Utilizing eDiscovery can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Utilizing eDiscovery on a Budget
Here are a few tips to help reduce eDiscovery costs:

Identify custodians and preserve early.
Identify the key custodians to the case and preserve their ESI. This can include data from their issued laptops, desktops, tablets, cellphones, email, databases, file shares and more. Don’t skip out on anything; it is better to have it and not need it than to not have it and need it.

Establish an in-house or third-party eDiscovery provider.
If you’re not using in-house eDiscovery practices, be sure to pick a provider that is not only cost effective, but will also not mess up the production in the process. Productions can be quite expensive with per page and per gigabyte pricing, and you want to ensure your eDiscovery team is not going to do it incorrectly.

Engage a third party for proper collections.
A lot of people hear the costs associated with having someone come in and collect their emails or server data forensically and think, “I can just have IT do that for free.” Don’t get pulled into this mistake. Your IT staff likely doesn't have the tools or training to do a forensic acquisition, and by doing so could inadvertently change metadata and possibly accidentally destroy data.

You also run the risk that your IT team may grab the wrong data, which would result in you paying to have more data culled, or reduced, that didn’t even need to be submitted for processing. Doing it yourself can also lead to metadata changes that can hurt your case and extra costs in having to get a third party involved in the long run.

Eide Bailly has extensive eDiscovery experience.

Save steps in culled collections.
The normal way of doing things is to get your data collected, then pay someone to cull the data. It can be very costly to pay a third party to make sure the data is collected correctly, then pay them to deNIST it, deDuplicate it, keyword search it and reduce it by date range. Why not do that all in one step for a lower cost? Clients also tend to feel more at ease when non-responsive data is not leaving their doors.

Utilize cloud-based eDiscovery platforms.
You can access eDiscovery review platforms through cloud-based services. These are normally the fraction of the cost of traditional in-house services. When you’re looking for an eDiscovery service, pay particular attention to accessibility, speed and cost.

One cloud-based service we particularly recommend is Indexed I/O. Fees are based on a per gigabyte table for processing and hosting, and there are no user fees or upfront costs for software or hardware. This accessibility makes Indexed I/O a great solution for any firm.

The platform contains several helpful tools to assist with document review, including interactive graphs and charts to show the types of documents and relevant information contained within the data. A number of system tags are also generated during processing, which makes sorting simple. These tags can be generated for personal information, including credit card and Social Security numbers. Other important data such as social media posts, websites and instant messaging threads can also be tagged.

In addition to the helpful and easily navigable analytics of this platform, Indexed I/O can run searches in milliseconds, which is much faster than traditional in-house solutions. The platform was also designed and built to be user-friendly, so getting comfortable viewing documents takes as little as 30 minutes, even if you have no experience with eDiscovery review platforms.

See how Indexed I/O works for yourself.
We put together a series of tutorials to show you how easy Indexed I/O is to use.

Advanced Search
Batch Reviewing
Collecting Data
Custodian Review
Custom Exports
Filtering Data
Custom Roles
Redacting and Dual Screen Functions
Tagging and Tagging Forms

Explore forensic imaging for legal holds.
If your client has received a legal hold, it’s important to make sure they are following the federal rules of civil procedure. One option to accomplish this is to preserve all the data by making forensic images of the devices.

A preserved collection means work doesn’t need to stop for your clients. Forensic tools can be utilized to run searches for keywords and then filter the data after it has been preserved. This narrows the data down to only the potentially relevant documents and makes the review process easier. Utilizing both forensic and eDiscovery tools to assist with information governance can streamline the process and save you time and money.

These days, it is common for a legal hold to include cellphones. Cellebrite is a useful tool that can image hundreds of different types of cellphones. This tool is used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as police departments around the world. Cellebrite can generate reports in several different formats for productions or review, and all courts, including federal courts, recognize Cellebrite reports as forensically sound. Most of the data compiled using Cellebrite can also be loaded into Indexed I/O for review.

Cost-Effective eDiscovery Is Possible
These tips can help you utilize technology to lower costs and reduce the amount of data that needs to be manually reviewed. When you do have a firm handle on what does need to be reviewed, third-party managed review services can keep the load lower on in-house counsel.

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