The Smart Attorney's Guide to eDiscovery Pricing [6 Questions You Should Be Asking]
Takeaway: eDiscovery is more affordable now than ever before. But many eDiscovery providers pad their bills to make a quick buck. So, ask these 6 questions to make sure you’re getting the best deal: (1) Can I try out the software for free? (2) Is the pricing plan available on the website? (3) Can I share cases with my team for free? And is it safe? (4) How do you calculate my data volume? (5) What will I be billed if I change plans mid-cycle? (6) Is tech support part of the pricing plan?
The world of eDiscovery pricing can get murky quite quickly. So, you’ll need to know what to look out for.
Moving to the Cloud has made eDiscovery so much more affordable. But crafty vendors have learnt how to game the system by slipping in hidden costs. (Learn more about how some vendors game the system.) Thankfully, you can avoid most of these traps if you ask the right questions.
6 questions to ask vendors when choosing your eDiscovery software.
With Cloud eDiscovery, your software runs in the Cloud, and you access it with a username and password – just like with email. It’s convenient because your vendor runs the software for you, but it means you need to vet your vendor thoroughly. Here are the questions to ask.
1. “Can I try out the software for free?”
You want to know up front if the software is a good fit for your firm. That means testing it by uploading some files, making an advanced search, tagging/redacting documents, and producing them. All the while, you’ll be paying attention to how quickly the software responds and how easy it is to use. For this, you’re going to need a free trial case that you can play around with. You won’t need much storage space (about 0.5 GB should do) but your case should be free and it should let you use all the software’s features. Also, with the best software, you get to do all this without adding a credit card.
2. “Is the pricing plan available on the website?”
Most vendors want you to contact them for pricing. But why, when they have a website? Well, it’s often a sign that their pricing plan is too complicated. That’s your first red flag. And then it’s a sign that they’re pushing the ‘hard sell’ to get you on board, even if the software isn’t right for you. So, look for a vendor whose pricing plan is on their website, because it means they trust their product to speak for itself.
3. “Can I share cases with my team for free? And is it safe?”
You’re going to want to share cases and ‘productions’, and usually with many people. So, to keep costs down:
- Find software that lets you share your case for free, with as many people as you want.
- Make sure you can assign different levels of access (owners, admin, viewers, etc.) so you can control who gets to modify what.
- See if you’re allowed to share ‘productions’ from within the software (instead of downloading and emailing them).
4. “How do you calculate my data volume?”
With the best Cloud-eDiscovery services, you pay for storage space (volume), and everything else comes for free. Storage pricing is usually either ‘per-GB’ pricing or fixed-volume pricing (with preset case plans). The best eDiscovery vendors offer fixed-volume pricing because it’s more transparent, but it’s worth finding out how they calculate your data volume. [Incidentally, keep an eye out for ‘container’ files (e.g., ZIPs and PSTs). When you upload them, the software might extract the contents, leaving you with both the original AND extracted files. For example, if you upload a 2 GB ZIP file that expands to 2.5 GB on processing, your case volume becomes 2 + 2.5 = 4.5 GB.]
5. “What will I be billed if I change plans mid-cycle?”
With fixed-volume pricing, you have pre-determined case plans – e.g., 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, etc. And their prices have been set in advance. But you need to make sure that the pricing is prorated. For example, if you create a 1 GB case at the beginning of the month, and after 29 days you upgrade the case plan to 5 GB for the last day (i.e., 1 day) of that month, then you should be billed for 29 days at the 1 GB rate, and only 1 day at the 5 GB rate. And it should be the same if you delete a case mid-cycle.
6. “Is tech support part of the pricing plan?”
Cloud eDiscovery is great because you outsource the technical issues. A Cloud provider handles server malfunctions, and your eDiscovery provider tackles software updates and general troubleshooting. But make sure this tech support is free. Remember, Cloud eDiscovery cuts costs for both you and your eDiscovery vendor. So, don’t choose a vendor who pads the bill to make a quick buck.
Looking for affordable eDiscovery software? Try GoldFynch.
It’s a tried and tested eDiscovery application that prioritizes things that matter to small and midsize law firms. That’s why:
- It costs just $10 a month for a 1 GB case: That’s $25 less–every month–than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars less than many others. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch has a flat, prorated rate. With legacy software, your bill changes depending on how much data you use.
- 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.
- It can handle even the largest cases. GoldFynch scales from small to large, since it’s in the Cloud. So, choose from a range of case sizes (1 GB to 100 GB, and more) and don’t waste money on space you don’t need.
- You can access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud. And you can monitor its servers here.
- You won’t have to worry about technical stuff. It’s designed, developed and run by the same team. So, its technical support isn’t outsourced. Which means you get prompt and reliable service.
Want to learn more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- eDiscovery Overload: What to Do When Your Small Law Firm Has Too Much to Handle
- 5 eDiscovery Trends Your Small Law Firm Can’t Afford to Miss
- Have You Optimized eDiscovery to Retain Clients for Your Small Law Firm?
- 5-Minute eDiscovery: How to Save Time and Money for Your Small Law Firm
- [Uncovered] eDiscovery Myth: Small Law Firms Can’t Handle Large Cases [over 100 GB]
- 16 Have-to-Know Questions to Simplify eDiscovery for Your Small Law Firm
- 8 Common eDiscovery Mistakes Your Small Law Firm May be Making