eDiscovery Best Practices: Does Size Matter?
March 25, 2011
I admit it, with a title like “Does Size Matter?”, I’m looking for a few extra page views.... ;-)
I frequently get asked how big does an ESI collection need to be to benefit from eDiscovery technology. In a recent case with one of my clients, the client had a fairly small collection – only about 4 GB. But, when a judge ruled that they had to start conducting depositions in a week, they needed to review that data in a weekend. Without FirstPass™, powered by Venio FPR™ to cull the data and OnDemand® to manage the linear review, they would not have been able to make that deadline. So, they clearly benefited from the use of eDiscovery technology in that case.
But, if you’re not facing a tight deadline, how large does your collection need to be for the use of eDiscovery technology to provide benefits?
I recently conducted a webinar regarding the benefits of First Pass Review – aka Early Case Assessment, or a more accurate term (as George Socha points out regularly), Early Data Assessment. One of the topics discussed in that webinar was the cost of review for each gigabyte (GB). Extrapolated from an analysis conducted by Anne Kershaw a few years ago (and published in the Gartner report E-Discovery: Project Planning and Budgeting 2008-2011), here is a breakdown:
Estimated Cost to Review All Documents in a GB:
- Pages per GB: 75,000
- Pages per Document: 4
- Documents Per GB: 18,750
- Review Rate: 50 documents per hour
- Total Review Hours: 375
- Reviewer Billing Rate: $50 per hour
Total Cost to Review Each GB: $18,750
Notes: The number of pages per GB can vary widely. Page per GB estimates tend to range from 50,000 to 100,000 pages per GB, so 75,000 pages (18,750 documents) seems an appropriate average. 50 documents reviewed per hour is considered to be a fast review rate and $50 per hour is considered to be a bargain price. eDiscovery Daily provided an earlier estimate of $16,650 per GB based on assumptions of 20,000 documents per GB and 60 documents reviewed per hour – the assumptions may change somewhat, but, either way, the cost for attorney review of each GB could be expected to range from at least $16,000 to $18,000, possibly more.
Advanced culling and searching capabilities of First Pass Review tools like FirstPass can enable you to cull out 70-80% of most collections as clearly non-responsive without having to conduct attorney review on those files. If you have merely a 2 GB collection and assume the lowest review cost above of $16,000 per GB, the use of a First Pass Review tool to cull out 70% of the collection can save $22,400 in attorney review costs. Is that worth it?
So, what do you think? Do you use eDiscovery technology for only the really large cases or ALL cases? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.