For company’s General Counsel, protecting the company’s good name is key. Part of that protection is (co-)coordinating IT’s decisions about corporate data collection and storage platforms with the CFO’s mandates about controlling cost. Those decisions have very real legal implications only you can accurately assess.
Inefficient and ineffective data collection and review processes could put the company’s future at risk,
and simply throwing more resources, like outside counsel, at the problem doesn’t necessarily mitigate that risk.
What can be done?
Taking control of eDiscovery doesn’t mean you and your team must do everything. It’s simply about owning the overall process. Ownership means you can bring outside resources into the process more intelligently. That’s key to controlling both process and cost. Controlling more of the eDiscovery process allows tighter control over otherwise error-prone processes – the legal hold audit trail, IT’s collection of data, marking privileged documents, etc. If you direct it, it’ll get done right.
But doesn’t controlling cost mean cutting corners? Absolutely not. You don’t have to risk sanctions for spoliation of evidence or failing to produce critical data in a timely manner just to control cost. It’s all about getting a grip on the growing amount and types of corporate data and putting solid eDiscovery processes in place before the storm hits. That’s what positions you to negotiate the best possible settlement as early as possible. Otherwise, you’re handing opposing parties a blank check.
You know who else you could be handing a blank check to? Outside counsel. Every time you hand over masses of data to them to analyze, you’re spending anywhere from $1,800 to $30,000 per gigabyte. Having your own small in-house team do a first-level review removes obviously non-responsive documents from outside counsel’s review set, reducing it by as much as 90%. That’s how you control legal bills!
Taking over the reins
Taking control allows you control of the legal process, too. Developing a tight, rigorously-tested process for conducting early case assessments lets you control the flow of data to outside counsel. That lets you direct their efforts more effectively.
That’s assuming you even need outside counsel. Modern, sophisticated eDiscovery tools are now the corporate tool of choice for self-monitoring. Long before something becomes either a court case or regulatory issue, it's been an internal problem. Spotting those problems early before they become litigation or regulatory issues means saving time and money, plus avoiding the inevitable business interruption.
Because let’s face it: eDiscovery is always disruptive. The moment you discover a problem is the wrong moment to start looking for an eDiscovery solution. Proactively self-monitoring with eDiscovery tools now could save huge amounts of time later when something blows up. Getting good, tested eDiscovery processes in place now reduces the possibility of human error later, especially if you can automate certain processes. More human resource hours don’t necessarily equal better or faster work.
A race against the clock
When you’re responding to a legal threat, time’s your enemy. With a tight, tested eDiscovery process, you needn’t fear the inevitable problems: errors, unexpected file formats, unanticipated requests, etc. The longer it takes to build the case, the more you’ll spend on legal fees and settlements.
Once you’ve identified responsive data, the process doesn’t stop there. You’ve got to produce it according to the exacting specifications of whatever court or regulatory agency you’re dealing with. If opposing counsel or regulators spot production problems, you may be forced to submit to discovery on your eDiscovery. That blows your litigation budget and your case.
In this context, getting fast, consistent, stable and repeatable in-house eDiscovery processes built now enable you to make better decisions quickly when the eDiscovery storm hits.
Find out how you can use sophisticated eDiscovery tools to get both cost and process under control by downloading our latest whitepaper, “Expect the unexpected: how to control the hidden costs of eDiscovery”.