Creating a solid in-house eDiscovery team is indeed a big undertaking, and in last week’s post we talked about how to determine which procedures should be handled internally vs. externally, and some good strategies for getting cross-department collaboration.
Another challenge is determining how far the in-house team will take discovery. It’s often a question of resources.
What is the appropriate EDRM stage to which the in-house team will take discovery?
Legal teams first of all need to determine what level of effort they want to provide to Early Case Assessment and First-pass review. If the staffing is too thin to spend time performing these functions, you will definitely be paying to have your outside counsel and eDiscovery vendors doing it for you.
The best thing to do is get a handle on your litigation costs, and compare the charges against the volume of data being handled. This will give you a number with which you can make the judgment call as to how much internal staffing will be devoted to ECA and FP review.
Now, if your Legal department has the resources, keep moving to the right of the EDRM model. Implement the necessary software to conduct the Processing, Review and Analysis steps that lead to Production and Presentation. Go whole hog on this if your volume makes doing this in-house more economical.
On the data collection side, IT needs to determine if it can provide the resources, and has the tools in place, to do data collections effectively and in a timely manner for the Legal department. If not, again you will be farming this out to your vendors. But find out: how much has this been costing you? Can you afford to invest in the tools IT or your Litigation Support team need to do this work in-house?
You may notice a theme here…
Get an education in your litigation costs – it will help you make the case for necessary staffing and capital improvements.
Let’s now take a look at how to keep your costs down:
Proactive strategies to help reduce costs and improve results when eDiscovery is required
It’s helpful to lay the ground work first. Get your records retention policies in place and your employees educated.
On top of this, have policies on computer usage, messaging and privacy.
Next on the checklist would be the IT infrastructure necessary to support information management including centralized email and archival storage. Layer on these the eDiscovery tools required to effectively and economically search, restore and implement legal holds for relevant data.
If you can set up your company with this backbone, you will move to the front of the pack for litigation readiness while reducing your litigation expenses.