LeanDiscovery Blog

The LeanDiscovery® Blog is based on the principle that eDiscovery can be improved by lowering costs and delivering more value to enable better client outcomes.

Special Announcement: Understanding the Business of eDiscovery


We are excited to announce a new video interview series: Sitting with the C-Suite. In each segment, I will be talking with a chief executive officer of an eDiscovery company. We will explore how each is addressing the COVID-19 crisis, what clients are doing to manage through the crisis, and generally covering the past, present and future. Naturally, as we are dealing with the pandemic, we will be doing this via remote interviews to comply with any applicable social distancing mandates. 

The pandemic means companies are doing more with less and dealing with case delays and tightening budgets. Now more than ever, it is critical to understand the eDiscovery industry generally (and your partners specifically). This video interview series will help anyone start to explore the eDiscovery industry from the perspective of its top leadership. read more…

Grilled Cheese and ESI Productions

Grilled cheese sandwich in a skilletOne of the last trips that my wife and I made prior to the social distancing guidelines was to Franklin, Tennessee. We had lunch at The Grilled Cheeserie, a restaurant devoted to gourmet grilled cheese melts. The components and options for a grilled cheese—bread, cheese and add-ons—are not complex. Depending on your preferences, mood and dietary restrictions, execution will be the difference between an adequate and excellent experience. (Our experience was excellent!) A production protocol is very similar. The component parts are simple, but how you put them together in a matter makes a big difference.

Document productions are a culmination of the various steps taken to that point throughout your eDiscovery processes. This is a key point in any lawsuit. For the larger matters, with a significant volume of ESI, the keys to a document production are stability and a good overall fit in how you match the ESI Stipulation to the actual matter requirements. read more…

How We Found a Powerfully Simple Solution to Routine eDiscovery Matters

While the focus of our blog recently has been to identify immediate large matter cost reductions in response to the “new normal” brought on by COVID-19, we wanted to take a quick detour and address an important topic. Specifically, we do not want any reader to think that we focus only on the large data matters, or that we are not in touch with the more standard cases that practitioners must manage. In fact, the vast majority of all discovery matters are fairly routine in terms of their size and complexity.

Managing eDiscovery, then, is not a one-size-fits-all proposal. However, the goal is always the same: get to the merits through a final, defensible production. How you accomplish that goal varies depending on many factors. The average eDiscovery case has minimalistic support needs.  While substantial immediate cost savings are best found in cases with more expansive eDiscovery needs, the long-term opportunity for cost savings and efficiencies can also come from incremental cost reduction on the “everyday” cases. read more…

Spoiler Alert. Starting at the End.

Early in my career, I worked on an arbitration that challenged the effectiveness of a claims administration company.  I sent our client’s expert witness five audits of the company, a fact I noted in the cover letter.  Unbeknownst to me, there were six audits—and the last one was not favorable for our positions.  While this error was later corrected, my “five audits” expert letter was a very popular exhibit for the opposing counsel.  This was my tangible object lesson to avoid the process getting tangled up with the merits.

The eDiscovery process is designed to uncover the relevant case facts.  Everything progresses toward this presentation of the material factual disputes to a factfinder.  Because this is eDiscovery’s ultimate purpose, we are going to start our discussion of eDiscovery phases at the culmination of the process: the presentation of the evidence. read more…

Buzzword Mania: Taking Your eDiscovery Strategy to the Next Level

Success in eDiscovery is determined largely by the ability to synergize “people, process and technology.” Okay, we hear your collective groan. The phrase is trite, tired and overused, which is what it is. Since it works so well for eDiscovery, however, this blog will lean in on buzzwords. Many of the “26 Annoying Phrases You Should Stop Using at Work” are included—with a few additional ones thrown in for good measure. Can you find them all? Happy searching!

The COVID-19-related changes are innumerable, as courts have been out of pocket for many weeks and litigation budget cuts are par for the course. The global pandemic will require a clear paradigm shift, requiring many teams to think outside the box on the go-forward eDiscovery case strategy and, ultimately, do more with less. read more…

Accelerating Efficient eDiscovery Through Operational Awareness – Two Key Questions

Consequences Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.Having an efficient and proportional strategy has always been critical to keeping cases on track against budget and deadlines. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented disruptive impact on many cases and schedules. Better and more efficient eDiscovery management will be key to ensuring that cases can get back on a reasonable schedule, and that the costs and effort are proportionate. Knowing the cost and timing implications of every eDiscovery decision will be critical to managing through the crisis.

Operational awareness empowers great eDiscovery decision-making. Each eDiscovery decision has cost and time ramifications. As decisions are made, they have distinct downstream consequences. This is similar to constructing a house. Once the foundation is set, it is very costly and time consuming to change the footprint of the structure. EDiscovery is no different. Every decision has downstream consequences. For eDiscovery management and operations, each decision has both an immediate time and cost impact, as well as implications for the overall project cost and completion. Because this affects proportionality and the ability to execute, both must be understood and managed cohesively and strategically. read more…

Where Do I Start? Finding the Right Case for eDiscovery Cost Reduction

80 20 text written on a paper.

Not all eDiscovery cases are created equal. The path to a more cost-effective eDiscovery management strategy starts by identifying the individual matters that need increased focus. This blog post is devoted to identifying the cases where an eDiscovery strategy can make the most meaningful difference.

In the last blog, we covered current pandemic-driven realities – namely, disrupted case schedules and new budgetary pressures. The economic uncertainties mean eDiscovery budgets should be examined for additional savings, while meeting litigation priorities and obligations.

Ediscovery costs can affect all investigation and litigation matters involving data. But, the larger and more significant matters have unique characteristics that make them likely candidates for cost-saving measures. These matters usually involve some mix of significant monetary or business impact claims; large data sets, many affected employees, and/or difficult searching criteria; and expansive production requests covering many topics. read more…

Budget Cuts? Re-evaluating eDiscovery Strategy to Maximize Cost Savings

What's Next, business motivational inspirational quotes, words typography top view lettering concept

The coronavirus means significant new litigation realities. It is not too early to start preparing for litigation on the other side of the pandemic. This series of short blogs will provide practical solutions for managing your eDiscovery strategy and getting large case litigation back on track.

Several major themes have developed in the wake of the crisis. Courts have suspended deadlines or made other changes extending litigation schedules. Many case schedules are now uncertain, including some that are paused. Companies are looking to cut costs anywhere and litigation budgets will be prime targets. Litigation departments will be forced to do more with less, necessitating a re-evaluation of virtually everything that has a price tag.

In eDiscovery, not all cases are created “technologically equal.” For smaller matters that have simple standard data footprints, a smart technology “fit” should be a key goal. If your case requires a straightforward search and production, the technology solution must be simple, easy to budget, and put the trial lawyers as close to the data as possible. Recently, Baker Donelson prepared a case study on this issue with one of its trusted partners for these types of matters.  We will be making that available shortly. read more…

Legal Artificial Intelligence is Buzzing. Are You Ready?

Artificial intelligence (AI) enabled legal tools are reaching the market at an incredible pace. Understanding and vetting such technology is critical to ensuring better outcomes for legal projects. 

Every day, news articles in my social media feed address some new legal technology powered by AI. The promise of legal AI is incredible. We are looking forward to a future where lawyers’ efficiency and effectiveness is dramatically improved by technology’s virtually unlimited ability to scale. This blog is focused on promoting responsible and knowledgeable adoption of legal AI.

The Millionth Map.

I love old books – actually reading them, that is. Their text is a snapshot in history. One of my recent finds was a series of geography books published in 1960. The volumes included an article regarding “The Millionth Map.” This mapping project was then underway to reduce the world into 961 sections, where one inch of the map would equate to one million inches on the earth (about 16 miles).

The author’s breathless anticipation of this project was palpable. He opined at length as to the benefits of a standardized map that will make comparisons easier, and ensure everyone has access to the information.    read more…

Calling All Professionals to Passionate eDiscovery – Part Two

As a lawyer, I attend many, many conferences. On my last conference road trip, I was grabbing dinner at the end of the evening and catching up on my basketball news at the hotel restaurant. As I was wrapping up, a few guys came in and we struck up a conversation. Like me, they were in town for the Sixth Circuit Judiciary Conference and we had a conversation which I might characterize as standard conference stuff.

Everything was perfectly “conference standard” until they heard I was going to present on eDiscovery the next morning. All of them had the same reaction: “We hate eDiscovery.” (Thanks, guys. You really know how it pumps me up when I realize everyone in the audience “hates” my topic.)

Of course their comments didn’t come as a complete surprise. This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken to a roomful of attorneys who would rather talk about anything but eDiscovery. As a trial lawyer, I am still surprised when seasoned attorneys, who excel at mastering every detail of complex litigation, view eDiscovery as a nuisance. read more…

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Clinton Sanko
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