4 Creative Ways to Cut eDiscovery Costs And Win Clients
Takeaway: The new normal is forcing law firms to cut costs by getting creative. Here’s what you can do: (1) Educate your clients about eDiscovery best practices, (2) Finetune your eDiscovery systems, (3) Cull data ruthlessly, and (4) Pay only for essential eDiscovery features.
There’s now more litigation than ever before. But clients have tighter eDiscovery budgets.
We’ve all had access to affordable eDiscovery for many years, but we’ve never been forced to use it. COVID-19 has changed all of this. Most law firms find their clients trying to cut costs everywhere. And the firms that will survive are the ones that can offer affordable eDiscovery. So, let’s take a look at the highest-return workflow and software changes that will help you adapt to this new normal.
1. Educate your clients about eDiscovery best practices.
There’s a lot your clients can do to help themselves. For example:
a) Start eDiscovery as early as possible.
Many of your clients tend to sit on subpoenas and document requests for longer than they should. Instead, they need to contact you and start identifying possible custodians and data hotspots (computers, servers, external hard-drives, the Cloud, etc.). They can also put a litigation hold in place and inform all their employees about this. The earlier they contact you, the more time- and cost-sinks they can avoid.
b) Look for valuable data caches.
Missing out on crucial data can cost you a case. So, your clients need to learn more about where and how their data is stored. For example, they might tell you they’ve lost a batch of crucial emails when actually the emails have been automatically backed up on an office server. To avoid these sorts of slip-ups, their employees, IT, HR, admin, etc., have to all learn to work together.
c) Meet for a post-case debriefing session.
The work for the next case begins as soon as this one is over. They’ll need to introspect: What lessons have they learned? Are there more cost-saving systems they can put in place? For example, one important but often overlooked step they can take is to create a formal data retention policy. Many of their employees may not know if they should keep or delete old emails. And if they’re to delete them, how long should they wait? Admin, in turn, may not be wiping ex-employees’ hard drives. These are the sorts of holes a debriefing can help plug.
2. Finetune your eDiscovery systems.
You want to be able to handle your clients’ cases as efficiently as possible. Here are ways to do that.
a) Allot each task to the most suitable person.
You want your associates and partners handling high-priority tasks. So, it might be worth outsourcing all your preliminary reviews. This is called a ‘managed’ review and eDiscovery providers can set up one for you. You’ll be able to take on more work while cutting costs and keeping a high standard of service. Find out more about managed-review teams and how to hire them.
b) Get help when you need it.
When you’re really stuck, ask for more than just a managed review. Ask for a team of eDiscovery specialists to take over completely. They usually have a background in information science/technology, as well as a basic understanding of the law. And they work with law firms, corporations, eDiscovery providers, the government, or even teach in universities.
- They’ll help you with each stage of eDiscovery. This includes things like making sure your initial ‘litigation hold’ is in place, finding responsive files, building powerful searches, protecting your data, etc.
- They’ll help you with the technical stuff like protecting your metadata and culling files early and often.
- They’ll help you follow protocol. The EU recently adopted new general data protection regulation (GDPR) guidelines. And courts now regularly pass eDiscovery rulings that affect the way small and solo firms practice law. An eDiscovery pro will track these new regulations and make sure your firm complies with them.
3. Cull data ruthlessly.
This is a tricky tightrope to walk. You want to collect all the vital data, but not the stuff that’ll waste review time. There are a couple of things that can help here.
a) Define and limit the scope of eDiscovery early.
Work with opposing counsel to negotiate how much data you’ll be collecting, reviewing, and producing.
b) Find eDiscovery software that helps you cull data organically.
You wouldn’t think it, but your eDiscovery software’s pricing system affects how well you cull data. One type of pricing system charges you piecemeal for each eDiscovery task – uploading files, using OCR on them, producing them, etc. These systems give you a low per-GB rate for processing your files, which makes them quite attractive. But really, they subtly penalize you for every mistake you make, as this simple costing scenario shows. Instead, look for software with a flat monthly rate. (Learn more about eDiscovery pricing.)
4. Pay only for the eDiscovery features you’ll need.
eDiscovery applications come packed with impressive features. But how useful are they? For example, take Technology Assisted Review (TAR). Here, your software ‘learns’ which kinds of files interest you and starts tagging them automatically. You’ll usually begin by tagging documents as ‘relevant’ or ‘irrelevant,’ and over time, your software sees a pattern in your choices. Machine learning may speed up your review a bit, but it’s not worth the cost unless you’re a very large law firm working with massive cases. Instead, pay for features that you’ll end up using every day, like inbuilt OCR, an advanced search engine, and ‘quick’ tags. (Learn about essential vs non-essential eDiscovery features.)
Looking to cut eDiscovery costs and win clients? Try GoldFynch.
It’s an eDiscovery service that prioritizes things that matter to small and midsize law firms like yours. That’s why:
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. 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 charges only for storage (processing is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up front how much you’ll be paying. It takes just a few clicks to move from one plan to another, and billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
- It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch 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 trial case (0.5 GB of data and processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
- It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch and you’re good to go. Plus, it’s designed, developed, and run by the same team. So you get prompt and reliable tech support.
- It keeps you flexible. To build a defensible case, you need to be able to add and delete files freely. Many applications charge to process each file you upload, so you’ll be reluctant to let your case organically shrink and grow. And this stifles you. With GoldFynch, you get unlimited processing for free. So, on a 3 GB plan, you could add and delete 5 GB of data at no extra cost – as long as there’s only 3 GB in your case at any point. And if you do cross 3 GB, your plan upgrades automatically and you’ll be charged for only the time spent on each plan. That’s the beauty of prorated pricing.
- Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
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