Thursday, October 19, 2006

William Platt: E-Discovery & Cost Containment

William Platt is a partner at Platinum Legal, a consultant firm that was formed in July 2002 with the merger of litigation support service providers Platinum Legal Inc. and ISAD, a division of Tardif, Murray & Associates Inc. They have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax and specialize in maximizing the use of litigation technology, i.e.
- Document Scanning and Coding
- eDiscovery
- Litigation Technical Support
- Litigation Consulting Services
- Summation Software Sales
- Summation Training
- eClosingBook

According to William Platt:
E-Discovery is like fishing...
Not everyone is good at it
There is ‘stuff’ to catch…
But do you need a guide?

Understand your environment : plan ahead!!

E-Document Management Strategies- Ease of access and review of potentially relevant information
- Consider the way information is stored (I would add created)

In-house or Outsource?
Resource Requirements
Complexity of EDD processing
Time requirements
Volume of data

How is cost determined?
Hourly basis
- Customization
- strategy
- culling
Quantity of data (e.g. gigabytes)
- Volume
- Level of service (ie. verification)
Type of data
- Native file extraction
- Emails (mail stores)
- Per document
- Per page: If converting to image format

Who should pay?
Practice rules and caselaw: unclear
Ontario EDD Guidelines:
- party producing documents bear costs of E-Discovery pending final disposition except that, in special circumstances if parties agree or seek a court order to deal with allocation of costs.

Is it reasonable to expect that legal team will review every electronic file?
Review does not necessarily mean file by file, word by word manual review
Technology allows for search, retrieval, and storage of electronic documents
Establish methodology, search techniques, audit trail

Here is the most interesting question that was asked: "is every case an eDiscovery case?" I think yes (unless you deal with facts that date from the last century) but not for vendors for obvious volume/costs reasons.

Define the Scope
Person – stakeholders
How many custodians?
Their exposure within the matter
Timeframe, key player, role
Current or past employee/contractors
Intellectual, accessibility
Place – location
Technology infrastructure mapping
How is everything related/connected
Geographic issues
Travel, language, time zones
Legacy, available data, benchmarking changes
Thing - technology
Identify - key word / concept searching
Preserve - backups, acquisition
Collect - retrieval method(s)
Process – dedupping
Review - tier approach (native, image)
Produce – electronic vs. paper

Can you develop realistic estimates?
Never exact
Need samples/exposure to data
Clearly defined scope of work
Strategic approach from start to finish
Plan for the best and worst case scenario

My conclusion: EDD is always costly unless you have a good DMS, an applied DRP, an effective litigation hold process and a brillant EDD team (vendor)!

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