Our CEO Lia Majid and Senior Project Advisor Robin LeDonne recently presented with Lawline CLE on actionable strategies to improve your workflow leading up to review. Within their CLE, Lia and Robin walked through a series of scenarios to demonstrate how your choices prior to review affect the total cost of review.
Reduce Costs with Strategic Workflow
Robin and Lia identified one scenario that showed how targeting and narrowing the scope of collections reduces review costs by up to approximately 30%. Secondly, Robin and Lia identified how an early investment in Early Case Assessment to reduce your cull rate by a few percent leads to cost reductions of up to approximately 15%. Lastly, they identified how investing in advanced analytics, such as active learning, can lead to significant cost reductions of up to approximately 30%.
Talking through these scenarios, Lia and Robin explained how strategic workflows can provide a significant amount of budget efficiency beyond just line-item reductions. By identifying strategic opportunities throughout the life of your project, you can continue to seize all possible cost savings. Lia and Robin identified these 3 effective ways to do so and stressed that they all don’t need to be utilized, but by adopting just one of these approaches you are going to see significant results pretty quickly.
Court Decisions Supporting TAR Workflows
Next, Robin discussed how courts have increasingly accepted technology assisted review (TAR) tools and workflows to assist parties in meeting their discovery obligations, and specifically covered the Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Grp. case which was the first case to approve the use of TAR. Robin also mentioned the Rio Tinto PLC v. Vale, S.A., et al. case which highlighted how case law has developed to the point that it is “now black letter law that if the producing party wants to utilize TAR for document review, courts will permit it.”
Recent Case Law Supporting Analytics
Robin then went on to explain two recent cases supporting TAR and Analytics, which were the Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation and the City of Rockford v. Mallinckrodt. Within these two cases, the court established a detailed TAR Review Protocol that included document culling, repetitive keyword searching that accounts for synonyms and misspellings, and emailing threading to cull out duplicative emails. The court also established a validation or QC process that satisfies the FRCP 26(g)(1) requirement that “made a reasonable effort to assure that the client had provided all the information and documents available that are responsive to the discovery demand.”
Another big cost driver Robin and Lia discussed that is specific to corporations is information governance. Information governance refers to a strategic framework for managing information at an organizational level – in a digital context, as well as physical assets, such as devices and printed documents. There are many regional and international standards for managing information at scale, and the regulatory compliance landscape is evolving every year.
Lia and Robin explained how changes to data privacy regulations have brought about changes to data security policies, including GDPR laws. Changes to regulation mean changes to information governance policies which will in turn drive the cost of information governance in total.
They then explained how a good real-life example of the application of information governance is legal hold. A legal hold (also known as a litigation hold) is a notification sent from an organization’s legal team to employees instructing them not to delete electronically stored information (ESI) or discard paper documents that may be relevant to a new or imminent legal case.
The most important step before even preserving the data is data mapping. Data mapping is the process of creating a comprehensive inventory of an organization’s data. Data maps for eDiscovery generally include the following:
- Data Locations – where does the data live? How is it stored?
- What types of data is your company creating – such as with Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc.
- What kind of information is in the data?
- Custodian – Who creates the Data
- Who is responsible for keeping or deleting the data?
- Are the people responsible educated on their duties?
- Are there retention policies around the data?
- Who is responsible for retrieving the data if needed?
Having this legal data audit provides you with information to proactively manage your data map, which ultimately manages costs, reduces risk associated with legal data, and creates a roadmap for managing legal data on an on-going basis.
Throughout their course, Robin and Lia discussed how review has long been a huge expense in the eDiscovery process. However, it is now facing added pressures from new challenges with evolving data types and volumes, data privacy regulations, and considerations for managing remote review teams as well. Even with these new challenges, creating efficiency for your review can still be easily achievable through information governance, data mapping, and legal holds, which directly translates to reduced total costs. Since review is always the greatest cost driver, Lia and Robin mentioned, any opportunity you have to reduce its scope—and, in turn, its costs—should be seized.
Acorn is a legal data consulting firm that specializes in AI and Advanced Analytics for litigation applications, while providing rigorous customer service to the eDiscovery industry. Acorn primarily works with large regional, midsize national and boutique litigation firms. Acorn provides a high-touch, customized litigation support services with a heavy emphasis on seamless communications. For more information, please visit www.acornls.com.