In reading the morning’s headlines, an interesting statistic stood out to me – 51% of lawyers have lost a case in the last 3 months alone because of eDiscovery problems. The source of this data is not clear, but it came through the Twitter feed of Symantec’s Enterprise Vault team. Taking the stat at face value, it’s astounding – eDiscovery problems as the cause of a lost case. There is something very disheartening about any case being lost on anything other than its merits.
On the other hand, the notion that eDiscovery problems can lose a case should hopefully spur further action by corporations to get eDiscovery under control. If the benefits of cost reduction and sanction avoidance are not enough, perhaps a better win rate will catch the attention of the executive suite. Interestingly, in research we are conducting right now on early case assessment (ECA), a better win rate is one of the use-cases ECA targets. Others include:
- Strategic planning for matters based on merit and content
- Cost reduction
- Budget management
- Economic decision making
We’ll go into more depth on these use-cases as the research evolves, but if you have others, let us know and we will investigate all of them. In my recent post on Earlier Early Case Assessment, I discussed the trend for ECA to move from the traditional processing, analysis, and review components of the EDRM to a more integrated platform with the ability to identify, collect, and preserve information. Years ago, I spoke with a CIO at a large multi-national organization; he was under the gun from his legal team to solve the eDiscovery problem. Due to high eDiscovery costs, this organization’s legal team was settling cases on the basis of economics and not merit – and the General Counsel was none too pleased about that. He gave the CIO some tight timeframes to change things…and I’m sure even more organizations feel that squeeze now.
The ability to deploy an integrated platform will be key for organizations that seek to ensure a better litigation win rate. That’s why this statistic really struck me – that more than half the lawyers in this survey have lost a case specifically because of eDiscovery problems points out the need to get moving on eDiscovery management initiatives.