4 Ways to Save on eDiscovery: The 80/20 Rule for Your Small Law Firm

03 December 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery small-law-firm

To save money on eDiscovery, (1) Review less data, (2) Use technology to your advantage, ( 3) Get help reviewing files, (4) Use Cloud eDiscovery

What’s the really important stuff for eDiscovery?

I.e., where can you put in the 20% effort that gets you 80% of your gains? Well, it lies in these 4 cost-cutting solutions.

1. Upload and review less data

You’d think that for good eDiscovery, you’d need to collect as much data as possible and review it all. But you don’t really need to. Which is convenient, because you have very little time, a limited workforce, and a fixed budget. So, here’s the stuff that really matters:

  1. Spend time with your clients: As you understand how their offices run you’ll pick up crucial time-saving information. Things like, which custodians have the hot data. Some – like secretaries and assistants – will have gigabytes of email. But most of them will be copies of the originals, which someone else already has. You’ll also learn about employee colloquialisms. Things like using ‘Bob’ for ‘Robert’, or special nicknames for landmark case-related events. Knowing these colloquialisms will help you catch files you’d otherwise miss.

  2. Know and use your search tools well. For example, when searching emails, don’t search them all. If a case started in December of last year, why waste time searching emails from before that? Use your eDiscovery software’s date-range search function to find only those emails that were sent between last December and now. Another trick is to search for emails from only specific domains. You don’t need to find all those sales emails and LinkedIn invites, right? So, if only emails from @biglawfirm.com are important, get your eDiscovery software to search emails from that domain alone.

  3. Work with opposing counsel. You may be going up against them in court, but to start off, discuss things openly with them. Negotiate the amount of data you must collect, review, and produce. It’ll save you a lot of work later. Plus, they’ll let you focus on the case, instead of constantly disputing your methodology. And if you’ve shown eDiscovery competence up front (by being direct and open), courts are less likely to listen to objections from opposing counsel later on.

2. Use technology to your advantage

Many attorneys shy away from technology. They think it’ll be too complicated and too expensive. This is simply not true, though. And you’ll save time and money if you use technology to your advantage.

  • For large law firms: You can use technology-assisted reviews (TAR). Here, your eDiscovery software uses algorithms to figure out which files are responsive and which aren’t.
  • For smaller law firms: Your cases are smaller, so you won’t need TAR. But there’s still technology that can help. For example, tools to find and delete duplicate files, or weed out ‘system’ files that you won’t need. All the best eDiscovery applications do this automatically.

3. Get help reviewing files

Even after cutting down the number of files you’re reviewing and using the right technology, it’s still worth outsourcing your data review. You’ve got to deal with hundreds (if not thousands) of Word documents, emails, PDFs, and other electronically stored information (ESI). And it’s easy to drown in data. That’s why a ‘managed document review’ is useful. Here, you get a team of outside attorneys to review eDiscovery documents on your behalf. The more popular teams are highly qualified, experienced, and affordable. And they come with many advantages.

  • They’re quick to set up. ‘Add on’ a team of specialized attorneys on a case-by-case basis, to give your workforce an immediate boost.
  • You save money: Your paralegals, associates, and partners will be freed up to work on legal tasks with a higher rate of return. A managed review will cost you about 5 times less – per document – than if an associate was to review the same documents.

Learn more about managed reviews.

4. Use Cloud-eDiscovery

Cloud eDiscovery lets you store unlimited data, for cheap. In the past, you’d store your eDiscovery data on private servers. So you’d single-handedly cover the costs for 24x7 electricity, hacking-protection, and tech support. All this changed with the birth of the Cloud. Here, software giants like Amazon and Google lease storage and computing power to businesses all over the world. And their thousands of interconnected servers form a public ‘Cloud.’ Because there are so many people in the Cloud, everyone pays less than if they were using private servers. It’s cloud computing that makes services like Dropbox and Google Drive possible. With Cloud eDiscovery:

  • Your data is in one place, which makes it easier to access.
  • It’s protected by bank-grade security.
  • You can access it from anywhere. You just need a computer and an internet connection.
  • You don’t handle tech issues. Your Cloud provider does that for you.
  • You get as much storage space as you need: The Cloud can expand almost indefinitely.

Learn more about the Cloud.

Looking for affordable eDiscovery software? Try GoldFynch.

It’s a next-generation eDiscovery application that prioritizes things that matter to small law firms.

  • Pay just $27 per month for a basic 3 GB case. That’s far less—every month—than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars less than many others. GoldFynch’s pricing is transparent and readily available on the website.
  • It’s a flat, prorated rate. So it’s simple to budget for it. With legacy software, the billing is complicated and opaque, and your bill changes depending on how much data you use.
  • Got a small case that might become a large one later? GoldFynch scales from small to large. So, choose from a range of case sizes (3 GB to 100 GB, and more) and don’t waste money on space you don’t need. Plus, you don’t need to pay to ‘unlock’ premium features. You’ll have the full power of GoldFynch even with a starter case.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. It runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free, fully-functional trial case (0.5 GB of data and processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
  • 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.

Want to find out more?

For more about eDiscovery for small law firms, check out these articles.