How to Control Litigation Costs with In-House E-Discovery - Page 4

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EDRM: The Production and Presentation stages

During the last two stages of the EDRM (that is, Production and Presentation), there are third-party requirements to consider, such as compliance with Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Rule 34 prescribes production of ESI to be discussed during early meet and confer conferences.

Therefore, the decision to bring this function in-house will depend on which format is deemed acceptable (native or image-based) and whether metadata is included. If production formats can be pre-negotiated to native or XML standards, the task may be efficiently done by using internal tools. However, if the production requirements in a particular case are complex or highly customized, the decision to outsource could make more sense.

In addition to cost savings, in-house legal teams should think about other benefits of taking more direct control over their discovery processes. Bringing the right combination of people and tools in-house can provide legal departments with insight to make better, early-case assessments sooner in the case life cycle. And that ability is priceless since it may shed light on the decision to quickly settle a losing battle.

In these difficult economic times, most legal departments are attempting to reduce costs from outside counsel and trim e-discovery costs. Both of these goals are furthered by the move to bring areas of e-discovery in-house, and this trend seems to be gaining momentum. By shedding light on the process and targeting the most expensive areas of discovery first, companies can make the biggest impact on litigation costs while improving defensibility in the courtroom.

Dean Gonsowski, Esq., serves as Vice President of E-Discovery Services at Clearwell Systems where he helps enterprise customers deploy best practices as they bring e-discovery in-house. Dean is a licensed attorney in the states of Colorado and California. Dean is a member of The Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production (WG1), the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), and teaches a series of continuing legal education (CLE) courses on various e-discovery topics. He can be reached at