Holding onto the human element of eDiscovery
May 21, 2012
Technological innovation can help companies take formerly mundane or cumbersome business processes into competitive differentiators. This notion is becoming all the more apparent to eDiscovery practitioners as they find themselves swimming in previously unfathomable pools of digital data. Although the right software can help companies move beyond simply treading water, they'll still need to maintain a focus on the human element to make sure their strokes are taking them in the right direction.
In a recent Hudson Legal blog post from Cat Casey, the writer underscored the importance of having the right people in the room when guiding eDiscovery procedures and technologies. In the ideal electronic document review process, a team of highly-qualified attorneys will plant the search seeds to return the most relevant data. With a strong awareness of their colleagues' legal strategy, as well as the technology they have in hand, eDiscovery practitioners could win their counsel valuable time and save companies billable hours.
However, according to Casey, a poorly trained or hastily assembled eDiscovery squad could doom a process before it starts. Although companies may be hesitant to pay top dollar for legal expertise, it could make all the difference in a field as dynamic as electronic document review. With legal precedents and new business expectations emerging seemingly every few weeks, blunt force search and review processes of old are not just counterproductive - they're costly as well.
To avoid the need for tough decisions down the line, companies need to have a clear budget perspective from the start. Hardinger & Tanenholz attorney Bill George recently outlined the expenses that cost-conscious companies should have in mind before launching an eDiscovery strategy. Collection and processing fees can be calculated on a per gigabyte basis, and attorneys will charge for document review on an hourly basis. But companies can also factor in the risk and reward scenarios of paying a premium for technology vendor consultations as well that could help consolidate the project timetable.