Use This Tool to Stay ABA-Compliant With eDiscovery Pricing
Takeaway: The right eDiscovery software can help keep your law firm’s pricing proportional to the effort, skill, and labor involved in each case. The key lies in finding software that runs in the Cloud, has time-saving review tools, and comes with a simple pricing plan, while still letting you promote your firm’s brand.
The American Bar Association has clear and specific views on how law firms should price their services.
The ABA states that ‘A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses.’ And this means you’ll need to match the fees your firm charges with how complex, novel, and time/labor-intensive a case is. Further, your rates need to be comparable with fees for other legal services in your area while still accounting for your experience, reputation, and ability.
This is especially true for new clients who might not have reference-rate to compare your fees to.
Regular clients have some idea of your rationale when setting rates, and they know the types of expenses expect. But new clients don’t know any of this, which is why the ABA instructs firms to offer them simple memorandums or copies of customary fee arrangements. By spelling everything out clearly, you’re streamlining the attorney-client relationship and minimizing the chances of future misunderstandings.
Transparent pricing becomes even more important when dividing a case’s workload with other firms/attorneys.
If you’re at capacity with cases, you’ll likely want to outsource some of the less specialized parts of a case-review workflow. For instance, you might want to use a ‘managed review’ to speed up some of the preliminary review stages. Or you might want to split the total workload with another attorney (e.g., a division of labor between a referring lawyer and a trial specialist). But there’s nuance here because how you bill your client will depend on how you split the workload. For example, you might not need to disclose details of a routine managed review, but you’ll likely have to disclose fee-sharing for more complicated work that another attorney takes on. This is especially so when both attorneys are jointly responsible for the case’s financial and ethical concerns.
Luckily, there’s technology that can help you navigate these ABA pricing directives.
The right eDiscovery application will help you keep costs proportional by providing an affordable, end-to-end service. So, instead of using different tools to tackle each stage of eDiscovery, you’ll use a single eDiscovery application for everything. For instance, newer applications simplify file uploads, reviews, and productions – even letting you set up managed reviews with just a few mouse clicks. This ‘single point of contact’ model optimizes your reviews while cutting costs in the process.
For starters, you won’t have to pay any installation or maintenance fees.
With older eDiscovery technology, you had to install and run the software on-premises. This meant buying new servers to host their data, installing the software, and designating an IT person (or team) to keep the software running. This all changed with cloud eDiscovery, where your eDiscovery provider runs and maintains the software while you access it online via your web browser. This means you won’t need any new equipment or an IT team, and you can access your eDiscovery case from anywhere, 24/7. All you’ll need is a laptop and an internet connection. Plus, you’ll never lose your data because it’s backed up on multiple cloud servers. Learn more about Software as a Service (SaaS) eDiscovery.
Your eDiscovery software will also come with cost-saving review tools.
The best eDiscovery applications have tools to help you review cases faster. And you can pass these savings on to your clients.
1. Remote data collection to gather your clients’ files.
Your first task will be to collect eDiscovery data to review. But this can get delayed if clients don’t respond to data requests fast enough. So the best eDiscovery applications partner with remote data collection services to gather files directly from your clients’ Cloud accounts. These services ensure you don’t skip custodians, corrupt any data, or misplace files. And they’re secure because your clients need to authorize each collection request.
2. A powerful search engine to find responsive files quickly.
The new generation of eDiscovery search engines work like Google to find keywords and keyword phrases amongst responsive files. You’ll be able to search for these keywords across all file types (e.g., Word files, PDFs, emails, etc.) instantaneously and even within archive files like ZIPs and RARs. Plus, you can use metadata to create a specific search command like, “Find the emails Peter Banning sent Charlie Korsmo before 2015, which mention the Barrie-Hook meeting.” Learn more about advanced searches.
3. Tags to help organize and find related files.
Once you start gathering responsive files, you’ll want a way of labeling them so they’re easier to group and pull up later. eDiscovery ‘tags’ help with this. Think of them as virtual sticky notes you tack onto electronic files (PDFs, emails, etc.) the way you’d use Post-Its on paper documents. These tags don’t affect a document’s contents but let you group similar files by giving them all the same tag. And later, you’ll be able to pull up these grouped documents with a single mouse click. Learn more about eDiscovery tags.
Importantly, all these tools are bundled in with an all-inclusive, budget-friendly monthly eDiscovery subscription fee.
With the right eDiscovery software, you’ll pay a fixed monthly fee for a chunk of Cloud storage space (3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, etc.). And the fee covers everything – storage space, review tools, multiple user access, inbuilt file sharing, etc. This means you’ll get a predictable monthly bill without negotiating annoying specifics like per-seat licensing costs, processing fees, overage, etc. Learn more about eDiscovery pricing.
The latest eDiscovery services also let you stamp your brand on their software.
Cost-effective software is important, but so is building your brand. And the latest eDiscovery services let you do both. For instance, eDiscovery service GoldFynch offers brand-neutral software that you can customize with your logo, brand colors, and a custom domain name (e.g., ‘yourcompany.goldfynch.com’). So you can leverage the power of GoldFynch (and cut costs) while keeping the brand your clients know and trust. Explore eDiscovery branding options.
GoldFynch does more than help you cut costs, though.
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, 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 a 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, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
- Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- A Complete Glossary of Essential eDiscovery Terms
- A Quick Primer on GoldFynch’s eDiscovery Software
- A Free PST Analyzer to Check If Your eDiscovery PSTs Are Intact
- Use This In-Browser PST Viewer to Explore Your eDiscovery Emails For Free
- The Secret to Choosing the Best Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm
- How To Make Your eDiscovery Productions Less Hackable
- Is Social Media the Future of eDiscovery?