This is the second in a series of articles discussing legal and e-discovery cost metrics. As detailed in prior articles, tracking legal spend is a good way to get a grip on costs, lower legal bills and help prepare accurate budget forecasts.
Tracking e-discovery metrics also promotes e-discovery proportionality and fosters informed negotiations with opposing counsel. Knowing the volume of electronically stored information (ESI) from prior cases is good information to have when negotiating the terms of an e-discovery agreement or protocol with your adversary.
In this article, we examine e-discovery data metrics to consider tracking.
What: Total documents collected and those remaining after filtering
It is a good idea to compare the total documents collected at the beginning of an e-discovery project against the total number remaining after deduplication, DeNisting, and any early case assessment (ECA). Keeping track of these numbers prevents against over-collection, which helps keep costs down. Tracking these data points is also good for planning purposes enabling the estimation of data size and reduction rates in future cases.
What: Document types
Keeping track of document types collected during e-discovery and their volume will not only help you budget for your e-discovery project, it will also help with information governance issues. Knowing what types of documents dominate collection and review sets provides insight in to how and what documents are being retained. In turn, this will inform document retention policies.
What: Search Terms
Keeping track of search term hits permits validation and evaluation of their effectiveness. If a search term turns up an inordinate number of hits or the opposite, too few, you know those queries should be tweaked. Too many hits means the search terms are too broad and too few hits may indicate a syntax error or mean that the search query is too narrow.
What: Total Documents per Gigabyte
Keeping track of the total number of documents per gigabyte is also a good idea for planning purposes. On average, the number of electronic documents per gigabyte ranges from 2000 to 5000. Obviously the size and types of files at issue impacts this number. For instance, plain text emails are generally small in size, but large attachments increases the data size and decreases the number of documents per gigabyte. Estimating how many documents are in a gigabyte helps forecast costs–especially review costs.
“Richness” is the percentage of relevant or responsive documents in the review set. It is important to monitor richness during document reviews because it is a good measure of the effectiveness of your pre-review culling techniques. The higher the richness number, the better job done during the culling phase to remove irrelevant documents. This saves on both review time and costs.
Much like tracking richness, the number of privileged documents as a percentage of the review set may also be tracked.
This metric compares the total number of documents actually produced against the number collected or reviewed. Again, this a good metric to track for budgeting and planning purposes in future cases.
If you are interested in tracking e-discovery metrics, drop us a line, we can help. We have the tools to track them for you. Also, for a more detailed analysis of e-discovery data metrics, check out EDRM’s metrics model.