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

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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.

For larger matters, many companies and outside firms have already achieved substantial cost savings through reductions in eDiscovery technology costs and labor rates. (If not, that is a good place to start your journey to savings.) Additional savings on these larger cases are still available, however, through smarter and more effective eDiscovery negotiation and strategies. Reducing costs through smart lawyering will be the theme of this series.

As we go forward, we will answer many of your questions and provide concrete suggestions for managing the new-COVID-19 realities, both now and in the future. These blog posts are not written for the eDiscovery practitioner, but, rather, the busy in-house legal department managing the day-to-day realities:

  1. With schedules substantially disrupted, how do cases with large eDiscovery implications get back on track?
  2. With the new economic realities, how does the principal of proportionality ensure that the eDiscovery is properly calibrated to the costs and merits?
  3. With increased budget pressures, what resources are available to reach the same result faster and less expensively?

In our next blog, which will be published on Friday, May 1, 2020, we will discuss how to identify the matters that should be evaluated for eDiscovery savings.