With an increase in litigation and in costs for document review, more and more companies are considering bringing parts, if not all, of the eDiscovery process in house. Insourcing eDiscovery can give legal teams the opportunity to manage and review data prior to briefing an external law firm, provide more transparency with regards to costs and process, and skill up your in-house team in eDiscovery techniques and technologies.
However, with eDiscovery spanning from Information Governance to Data Collection and Forensic Analysis, Early Case Assessment, Document Review and Document Production, and with a plethora of available technologies in the market, understanding where and how to start can be overwhelming. Here are our four tips to get you started.
Understand Your Requirements
Firstly, ensure you have a thorough understanding of your organisation’s eDiscovery requirements. If you’re a company that rarely litigates or investigates - or is subject to investigation - then your eDiscovery requirements will be ad-hoc. At most, you may just need to engage an information governance specialist on a project basis to get your data in order.
If your company is regularly involved in litigation, scope the following:
- The number of matters run each year and the average length of time they run for.
- The volume of data of each matter and the average matter size.
- The overall cost of discovery, including document review.
Scope Technologies and Experts
Next, you’ll need to evaluate the available eDiscovery tools and technologies, and the people you’ll need to support them. In terms of the available technologies, there are many. However, quality eDiscovery professionals that can support your team and tools are becoming harder and harder to find, and without the right support your investment in an in-house data processing or document review platform could end up costing you more than it’s worth. Finding the right person or people as early as possible can inform how much you invest in eDiscovery tools, which tools you invest in and which parts of the process you in-source. A cost-benefit analysis, taking into account the cost of software licenses and the people required to support any tools you bring in-house, is crucial at this stage.
Establish Your Process
There is no one-size fits all approach to managing eDiscovery. Your company’s eDiscovery requirements may be satisfied by having an eDiscovery expert educating your team internally and briefing legal service providers to manage, cull and review your data externally. This approach enables you to reduce the legal costs of discovery without having to invest in expensive software and technology.
If your organisation is regularly involved in litigation and the legal costs associated with discovery are significant, investing in the technology and people to manage data processing and document review in-house can be beneficial. When matters with complex data collection or document review requirements arise you can still call in external forensic collection experts or engage a document review provider to provide support.
Your company can have the best eDiscovery process in the world, but it can be worthless if the right stakeholders don’t know how to follow it or leverage it. Take the time to educate your legal team, your IT Support, your Executives and any relevant employees on your information governance and data retention policies, when and how to engage your eDiscovery expert internally or providers externally, and of any technological developments that can drive cost-savings.