I wanted to take advantage of Rob Robinson’s timely release of his Winter 2021 eDiscovery Pricing Survey Results and compare a few key prices with those I calculated in my blog analysis of the TAR fight order in Lawson v. Spirit Aerosystems. I appreciate and encourage Rob to keep running his surveys. Seventy nine respondents (n=79) is quite respectable given the recent proliferation of marketing surveys in academic sheep’s clothing launched by providers trying to adapt their outreach strategies to the pandemic. So let’s see how the Aerosystems calculated rates stacked up against the survey.  Please remember that although the order was a fight over the cost of TAR I did not have access to the actual invoices. I have learned the hard way to demand the actual invoices and time sheet back ups when generating eDiscovery cost analysis and savings for client engagements. So you will see that some of my calculated costs include elements that I would normally break out for RFPs and matter cost analysis.


Cost Element Survey (% response) Aerospirit calculated (Legality)
Processing $/GB $25-75 (53.2%) $182 (process & host)
Monthly Hosting $/GB $10-20 (54.4%) $30
Project Management $/hour $100-200 (68.4%) $225-250
PC/TAR $/GB <$75 (53.2%) $214 (TAR & near line storage)
Review Attorneys $/hour $25-40 (42.0%) $55/$85 contract/team leads
Attorney cost per doc $/doc $0.50-1.00 (48.1%) $2.24 ($172k/76,802 docs)


So did Aerospirit pay substantially over market pricing? That is impossible to determine without access to the invoices or term sheet. The order uses rates and pricing from caselaw to make the determination that the overall effort by Aerosystems firms and Legality was reasonable. There is a big difference between reasonable and competitive in our world. I remember the early days when Kroll was selling processing and early deduplication for more than $2,500 per GB. Reasonableness is in relation to the value and impact of the dispute. Aerosystems asserted multiple times that TAR was not the optimal approach to determine relevance, privilege and tiered confidentiality in this matter. They seem to have done their best to comply with the plaintiff demands (from an outside perspective). Pricing and designing retrieval solutions are at the heart of my consulting practice, so I am enjoying the chance to be a backseat driver. Just remember that only the Aerospirit team really understands the nuances of the $750k in TAR costs that they managed to shift onto the plaintiff.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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