How to Handle Small eDiscovery Matters In-House
Takeaway: Insourcing eDiscovery gives you more control of your case, and can cut costs. But only if you do it right. The trick is to find Cloud-based eDiscovery software that’s easy to use and has a flat monthly subscription fee.
There’s a noticeable trend of companies moving small eDiscovery matters in-house.
This is especially true with matters that might not end up in litigation. Or where you need to do a bit of preliminary investigating just to get a handle on the facts. Business insiders are noticing a steady growth of eDiscovery budgets, but most of them are spent on in-house eDiscovery. It takes a lot to build eDiscovery teams, streamline processes, and invest in dependable eDiscovery software. But the data shows that many companies are willing to make the effort.
That’s because insourcing eDiscovery gives you complete control over your cases. And it can cut costs significantly.
Since it’s your data, you know where to look for relevant files. And you can protect them from accidental spoliation. Then, you can decide when and how thoroughly to assess the data – giving you enough time to develop a strategy. Also, you can work much more efficiently because who better understands your companies systems and business processes? And most importantly, you can save money by controlling how your eDiscovery budget is spent and making sure your team sticks to their deadlines.
But there are some challenges you’ll need to work through. So, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions, up front.
These are the most important ones.
- Is it worth it? How much eDiscovery will you need to do? And is it worth the cash you’ll spend on technology, and the time you’ll spend training your employees? The larger and more complex a case, the more effort it’ll take to handle in-house.
- Will you need to hire more people? eDiscovery is unpredictable, so you might have periods with no activity followed by a sharp spike. Can your team handle this or will you need to hire more people? And if you need to hire, do you have the budget for it?
- Do you have the know-how? eDiscovery comes with a lot of interdependent, moving parts: Technology, knowledge, systems, and processes. So, seemingly insignificant errors in one area can have a magnified impact on others. Do you have the know-how to catch and correct these sorts of errors?
Luckily, the right technology can help make the transition to in-house eDiscovery easier.
Newer generations of eDiscovery software help you sidestep a lot of the mistakes eDiscovery first-timers make. Find the right software and,
1. You won’t have to invest in expensive new hardware (or software, even!)
Older eDiscovery applications were custom-designed for larger law firms. You’d first invest in expensive servers ($25,000 or more) and networks. And then you’d spend money to install the new software and keep it running. But modern eDiscovery applications change all this because they run in the Cloud. The Cloud is a vast network of high-performance servers (i.e., advanced computers) owned by software giants like Amazon and Google. So, your Cloud provider buys and services all the pricey equipment. And your eDiscovery provider runs your software for you – a business model called Software as a Service (SaaS). All you do is pay a monthly subscription fee for the service. Learn more about Cloud computing and SaaS.
2. You won’t need lots of eDiscovery to justify your spending.
When you buy new equipment and expensive software, you have to justify it with a significant caseload. Otherwise, why all the bother? But with Cloud eDiscovery, you’re not buying anything – just paying a subscription (the software is up and running anyway, for other subscribers to use). So, you can do as little or as much eDiscovery as you want, without thinking about it too much. Start with a small, free starter case of 512 MB, ramp up to dozens of cases with hundreds of gigabytes of data, and shrink down again when there’s a lull. Remember, you’re not committing to anything big, just paying a small monthly fee.
3. You won’t need a dedicated IT team because good software is intuitive and easy to use.
With older applications, you’d need at least one IT professional to help you run things. This means recruiting them, paying a salary (easily $75,000 a year), and having them trained to use the new software. Newer applications are simple and intuitive, so you and your team can use them without IT help. For example, you’ll:
- Log in as you do with email. Open your web browser, go to your provider’s website, and sign in.
- Move files around like in Windows. To upload files, you’ll drag-and-drop them into your browser. Your software handles all the complicated processing that follows.
- Search as you do with Google. Your software becomes your own private Google. To search the files you’ve uploaded, just type your keywords into the search bar.
- Access files like you do with Dropbox. Since your software is in the Cloud, you can get at your files from anywhere – you’ll only need a laptop and an internet connection. This is perfect for when you’re on the go (e.g., stuck at the airport, waiting for your flight). And many firms use this feature to collaborate internationally.
4. You’ll know exactly what you’re spending and why
Older software would have complex pricing plans and many hidden costs. But many newer eDiscovery applications charge a flat monthly rate – which makes your bills so much more predictable. [Note: Not all newer applications use this sort of pricing, though. Some offer a ‘per GB’ (or, ‘pay as you go’) pricing plan. So, you pay for each eDiscovery component piecemeal: e.g., a little bit for uploading data, a bit more for OCR, some more for producing the data, extra for each new user added to your case, and so on. Since you know how much you’ll pay for each GB you’re processing, this seems like a fair system. But a sneaky per-GB provider can manipulate the rate to their advantage. So, try and avoid pay-as-you-go pricing, if possible.] (Learn more about per-GB vs. fixed-volume pricing plans.)
Remember, though, that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for moving eDiscovery in-house.
Depending on how big your company is and how much eDiscovery you’ll be tackling, it can take months or even years to finish the shift. But with the smart planning and the right software, it’s certainly easier now than it ever was.
Looking for easy-to-use eDiscovery software? 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 $10 a month for a 1 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 (1 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 1 GB plan, you could add and delete 5 GB of data at no extra cost – as long as there’s only 1 GB in your case at any point. And if you do cross 1 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