Although COVID-19 has brought about significant changes in how litigation and arbitrations are run, particularly across borders, the costs for litigation and document review are still significant. Taking this into consideration, an increasing number of companies are looking at ways to bring eDiscovery in-house or at least parts of it.
The benefits include:
- Allowing in-house legal teams to manage and review their data before briefing their law firm.
- Having more clarity around costs and processes.
- The opportunity for the in-house team to upskill in eDiscovery procedures and technology.
The exercise can be daunting, however. eDiscovery spans from initial Information Governance to Data Collection and Analysis. It may include Early Case Assessment depending on complexity and then the process of Document Review before potentially culminating in an eHearing. With the current choice of technologies on the market, knowing where to begin can be difficult to discern.
Here are four tips to start your planning.
1. Work Out the Requirements
Firstly, take the time to think through and map out your organisation’s eDiscovery requirements. If your organisation is seldom involved in litigation or needs to undertake an investigation, then you will only need to use eDiscovery processes on an ad-hoc basis. You may consider simply using an information governance expert to work with you to organise your data just on a short-term basis.
If, however, your organisation is one that is regularly involved in litigation, make sure you have an understanding of:
- How many matters your organisation runs per annum and how long, on average, the matters run for.
- Guage how much data is involved in each matter as well as the average matter size.
- Calculate the total cost of discovery, including the document review phase.
2. Scope the Organisation’s Needs
The next phase is evaluating the eDiscovery tools and technologies that are available to your team as well as the people you will need to work with them.
There are many available technologies, but good quality eDiscovery experts who know how to provide the support an in-house team requires and understands the tools available are increasingly difficult to access. Without this team, investing in in-house data processing or a document review platform could ultimately end up costing you more than out-sourcing.
It is advisable to start with finding the eDiscovery experts at the start as this will inform decisions around investment in eDiscovery tools; which tools to invest in and what parts are best to bring inhouse.
Starting with a cost-benefit analysis including looking at the cost of software licenses and the experts that would be required to operate the tools your organisation is considering bringing inhouse is an important early step.
3. Create the Process
When it comes to managing eDiscovery, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. An eDiscovery expert may be able to assist by educating your internal team and being a resource to brief your legal service providers to manage, cull and review your data externally. This can reduce the costs of discovery without the organisation having to spend significant amounts on software and technology.
However, if the organisation is more regularly involved in litigation, which involves significant discovery costs, it can be beneficial to invest in the right technology and experts to manage data processing and document review inhouse. If there are matters with more complex data collection or document review requirements, a data collection expert or document review provider can still be engaged to deliver extra expertise.
4. Education of Stakeholders
The most advanced eDiscovery processes available become worthless if the relevant stakeholders in the organisation haven’t had the education in how to use and make the most of it. Educating your legal, information technology and executive teams, and other relevant employees on:
- The organisation’s information governance and data retention policies.
- When and how to engage your internal eDiscovery experts or your external providers.
- Any technological developments can drive cost savings for the organisation.
To discuss your next eDiscovery matter, contact one of our eDiscovery Consultants who would be more than happy to take you through the process.