Is Your Small Law Firm Overlooking this Simple Rule for Cutting eDiscovery Costs?

13 January 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery

Want to cut eDiscovery costs? Upload (and ‘produce’) fewer files. Use these simple tricks to save money, work faster, and get more billable hours.

The first rule of eDiscovery? Get rid of unnecessary data.

eDiscovery makes it easy to access and deal with large amounts of data. You can sort through, tag and ‘produce’ many GBs’ worth of Word documents, PDFs and emails. You also get file metadata (e.g., when the file was created, who created it, when it was last modified, etc.). But just because you can deal with any number of files, it doesn’t mean you should.

The more files you review, the more you’ll spend on eDiscovery.

These are the costs involved, usually per GB of data:

  1. Uploading files: As you upload data, it needs to be a. Deduplicated (duplicate files are deleted) b. DeNISTed (irrelevant files - e.g., system files - are deleted) c. Processed (the files are readied for searching). Find out more about how eDiscovery apps process your files.
  2. Hosting: You’ll pay for files to be stored on someone else’s servers. Learn more about eDiscovery hosting.
  3. Analytics: You’ll pay extra if you want advanced tools like ‘document clustering.’ Here, your eDiscovery app groups similar documents together, which makes them easier to review.
  4. Review: You spend a lot of time reviewing your client’s data. And they pay you by the hour.
  5. Producing’ files: They’ll need to be converted to an agreed-upon production format (PDFs, TIFFs or ‘native’ format). And they’ll need to be Bates stamped.

And remember, you’re paying for uncompressed data.

So, if you have a compressed 3 GB file (e.g., a Microsoft Outlook file of all your emails), it’ll become larger when it’s uncompressed. Sometimes up to 3 times the original size. If you don’t account for this, you’ll be stuck with a heftier bill than you expected.

Here’s how to get rid of unnecessary data (and save money):

  1. Keep only the essential files. Discovery apps come with search tools that help you easily find the files you need to build your case. A basic search tool will let you search for a keyword or date. But the more advanced tools use Boolean logic to help you create more complex, advanced searches. Create an advanced search term, test it to see if you’re getting useful results, tweak the term and test it again. Don’t buy into the idea that more is better. Inessential files will distract you and make it harder to build a solid case. Once you get the evidence you need, start getting rid of files you know you won’t need. In the long term, you’ll need to encourage clients to develop a rigorous ‘data retention’ policy. I.e., protocol about what kind of data they’ll keep and what they’ll delete. Learn more about how to search your files and weed out the unnecessary ones.
  2. Keep attachments separate: Emails often come with attachments. And these attachments can be large. So, if you store the emails as MSG files (MSG files are a way archiving Outlook emails), keep them as MSG files without attachments. Better yet, store them as MHT files - which are a much more efficient use of space. What are MHT files? How do I store emails as MHT files?
  3. Do not extract inline images: Emails often come with embedded images (e.g., logos). If you separate these inline images from their parent emails, they’ll count as a separate document. Which will be unnecessarily Bates stamped and produced. And it’ll cost you more if your vendor charges per document that’s ‘produced.’
  4. Use email threads: Store emails as conversation threads instead of individually. It’ll be much quicker (and cheaper) to review and produce.

You’ll need to find eDiscovery software that’s right for your firm.

Reducing your data load is a crucial step to cheap eDiscovery. But equally important, you need to find an affordable-but-powerful eDiscovery app. Learn how to choose the right eDiscovery software for your small or solo law firm.

Take the eDiscovery app GoldFynch, for example.

You can use all the tips we just covered. But beyond that, GoldFynch has these important features:

  • There’s only one, up-front cost. Vendors usually charge separately for each eDiscovery task. So, you often pay separately to upload your data, to process it and to produce it. Not so with GoldFynch. The price is all-inclusive and up-front. So, it’s easier to budget for eDiscovery.
  • It simplifies eDiscovery. For example, you don’t need to worry about deNISTing (discussed earlier). If a file cannot be processed by GoldFynch, it will show up in the ‘Issues’ page of your GoldFynch control panel and you can delete it later.
  • Prices are prorated. You pay only for the space you’re using. So, if you cull files mid-month, you won’t have to keep paying for the space you just freed up.

GoldFynch is cool for other reasons too.

  • No set-up required. It runs in the Cloud, and you use it through your web browser. Plus, your trial case is free. So, you can start working immediately. No sales calls or emails. And no credit card.
  • You can work from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection.
  • It’s got all the tools you need. Like, searching, intelligent tagging, redaction, automatic OCR, etc.
  • You get the best technical support: It’s designed, developed and run by the same team. So, the technical support isn’t outsourced. Which means prompt and reliable service.
  • Most importantly, it’s affordable. Just $27 a month for a basic case. That’s much less-every month-than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars cheaper than many others.

Intrigued? Want to learn more about GoldFynch?

To learn more about low eDiscovery pricing for small law firms, check out these articles.