Friday, September 4, 2009

"Why does eDiscovery cost so much?" ... The Value of ECA...

There is one simple premise here....ask the right questions upfront to uncover thought and fact. When one relies soley on the sales pitch of the software business development guy who says use this form and click here....well...need I say more?


ECA a.k.a Early Case Assessment is the latest buzz term to describe "sophisticated" project management. Project management is no longer people driven. Instead we have gotten caught up in the perception that people make mistakes and automation is accurate. Thus it only requires the right tool and a documented statement of work by the IT guy running the $80k appliance at $225/gb of ingested ESI per matter.

Project managers provide added value for their leadership, experience and ability to communicate the process including the risks involved. Which is the exact same expectation for doing ECA (Early Case Assessment).

A "Professional Title" doesn't define knowledge; Knowledge is only gained by experience; Experience requires time; there are no shortcuts in TIME.

Here are a few factors to consider when building your Legal Response Team:


The prime benefit in ECA is to set the stage for litigation review and response. ECA that includes ESI identification via e-scoping and datamaps before preservation and collection.
Implementing this type of Smart Discovery technique has a direct effect with managing the esclating cost of discovery for litigation.

The average legal matter has a value of $1,000,000 thus a legal budget of not more than $300,000 in total. The case will average 5-10 custodians with 3 evidence items each and a corporate business server.

In the above example there is the potential of more than 3 terabytes of data to preserve and analyze for responsiveness. Using the standard EDRM model without Smart Discovery techniques for data preservation could cost in excess of $300,000...before Attorney Fees!!!!!

"I know my case is strong" ... Ummmmmm ... BUDGET BUSTER ... "Which way is OUT!?!"

It becomes apparent really fast that experience and logic are required components to the solution. The notion that technological automation will save time doesn't equate to saving money. Experienced Legal Professionals with eDiscovery Consultants and Corporate IT as part of the Legal Response Team logically identify ESI to be collected and preserved.

"Reducing the junk will trim the ESI to be collected by 70%" ... I dare you to do the math....

The value of ECA (early case assessment) is in People not technology, SaaS or whatever your buzz word is today. Invest your confidence in those who have taken the steps to invest in themselves and education by experience. Far too often "Professionals" get caught in the hype of a cool new feature and don't equate the value properly. The equation most use is improved efficiency will reduce other manual cost while increasing productivity, consistency and accuracy.

"Technology is a compliment to the human mind...not a replacement for intellect".