Written by Jeff Johnson, Principle Consultant, Quantum eDiscovery
Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides the oft-cited goal of the civil justice system—to provide the “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.” The criteria of just, speedy, and inexpensive align well with the constraints of the project management triangle—scope, time, and cost.
Project management professionals know that changing one project constraint invariably causes changes in others, e.g., time can be shortened but the project will typically either cost more and/or the scope will have to be narrowed. Similarly, in civil litigation, speedier results could be achieved if society could tolerate more incorrect or unjust results, or cases could be prepared more thoroughly if there were no budgetary constraints. The question is, “How much discovery is enough?”
Whether a case is filed against your company or if your company is filing suit, you should consider counting the cost prior to sending large quantities of documents to outside counsel for review. Attorney review typically accounts for about 73 percent of all eDiscovery production costs. In-house early analytics helps you count the cost of litigation before the heavy lifting begins (ingestion and attorney review) by helping you determine and adjust the scope of the project before incurring significant outside counsel attorney review costs.
In-House early case analytics help you count the cost and determine scope in three primary ways:
- It tells you how many documents will be sent to outside counsel.
- It informs outside counsel as to the nature, scope and size of the document request. This enables them to make the necessary adjustments with regards to date, custodian, key terms and concepts.
- Outside counsel is positioned to make proportionality assessments.
When litigation is viewed as a project (and early case analytics informs the design of the project), a measured, well-informed approach can be forged that meets both evidentiary and fiscal requirements.