Clients are often surprised by what they pay to e-discovery vendors to preserve and process Electronically Stored Information (ESI) for litigation. Remarkably, that sum is trivial when compared to what they will pay their lawyer for the rest of discovery.
A 2012 study by the Rand Corporation's Institute for Civil Justice reported that, on average, vendors account for only 26 percent of e-discovery costs while outside counsel will consume 70 percent. Even more amazing is that 68 percent of e-discovery costs will be consumed by counsel performing manual document review at an average cost of more than 15,000 dollars per gigabyte.
Furthermore, these numbers consider only the cost of producing ESI during discovery. They do not consider other aspects of the litigation like motion practice, summary judgment, mediation, other experts, pre-trial hearings or the trial itself. In fact, they do not even consider other aspects of discovery like depositions, discovery disputes, or attending the discovery conference or scheduling conference.
The reason one hires an e-discovery expert in the first place is not so that counsel or anyone else for that matter can manually review documents at more than 15,000 dollars per gigabyte of which 75 percent are useless. Rather, the reason one hires an e-discovery expert is to use technology to efficiently and effectively solve the disclosure problem of producing ESI. Thus, avoiding e-discovery experts or focusing only on the low priced vendor can be counterproductive.
Modern litigation has a lot in common with auto racing. Just like auto racing is not all about driving, litigation is not all about lawyering.
In auto racing, the owner hires a technical director who designs and builds a car that optimizes the laws of physics, the rules of competition and the race strategy so that the driver can win the race.
The same should happen in e-discovery where the owner hires a technology expert that blends digital evidence expertise with rules of evidence, rules of procedure and case strategy so that the lawyer can win the case.
The reality is that there are a lot of ways to lose a race just like there are a lot of ways to lose a case. If one wastes the owner's budget with wasteful car construction, the race team may never hit the track. Even if they do run the race and take the checkered flag, if the costs exceed their benefit it is just losing a different way, at least for the owner.
When It Really Matters FFI helps clients and counsel not only run the race but win the race as well in every way that matters. We not only provide the special technical expertise for handling digital evidence like effective and defensible ESI identification, forensic grade imaging and collection, processing and document production but also provide the advanced technical expertise needed to plan and execute cyber litigation in the most efficient and effective manner. In addition, we can help spot the design flaws in the opponent's "race car" and exploit their weaknesses.
No longer is victory determined by the side having the largest army of associates or even the deepest pockets but the one that can best use their technology to defeat their opponent in the courtroom. Unfortunately for many, they have been using their technology like a club instead of like a machine gun.
Learn how an expert e-discovery consultant or vendor can help solve your e-discovery problems in Selecting an E-Discovery Vendor or Consultant: A Best Value Approach
The 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure encouraged advanced planning as a means to counter the amazing costs of e-discovery. The primary tool for conducting advanced planning in civil litigation is the discovery plan required by Rule 26(f). To learn how to structure your e-discovery plan for maximum efficiency and effectiveness see, Eleven Steps to Designing an E-Discovery Plan and Protocol: A System Engineering Approach to Modern Litigation
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The Firm of Fordham Forensics in Atlanta GA is a highly skilled and experienced provider (vendor and consultant) of e-discovery services involving: