Predictive coding and other advanced technologies have changed the ediscovery landscape in a major way by offering the potential to increase efficiencies and decrease costs from collection through production. The fact that the application of these advanced technologies are gaining widespread acceptance is encouraging, and suggests that ediscovery practitioners are open (either through necessity or convenience) to embracing new ideas—especially in an era where data volumes and litigation costs are rising at a record pace.
Despite a growing inclination to embrace new ideas, many organizations and law firms still conduct their ediscovery projects with an archaic single matter transactional focus. For years, data has been collected, reviewed and produced in a vacuum, wholly disconnected from all other ediscovery/litigation or investigatory projects that would benefit from leveraging that project’s work product and data collections. For those who are serious about increasing their ediscovery efficiencies, it is time to move past the isolated redundant case-by-case approach and embrace multi-matter management.
Multi-matter management aims to reduce, reuse, and recycle past and/or existing document collections and work product by managing the entire portfolio of ediscovery projects rather than each individual project. By increasing collaboration and standardizing ediscovery and business practices to fit the portfolio management approach, there are significant gains to be made in terms of efficiency and tremendous cost savings.
Case-by-Case vs. Portfolio Management
For an example of how multi-matter management can increase ediscovery efficiencies, let’s dive into the graphic above and compare the case-by-case approach and the portfolio management approach for an organization dealing with five related matters.
With the case-by-case approach, there is no continuity from one project to the next, and the ediscovery process begins anew with each project. Specifically, note that the data from Case 1 has been collected and loaded five different times.
Now let’s compare that to the portfolio management approach, where the data from each case only has to be collected and uploaded once. When litigation teams communicate amongst one another, they can easily determine who collected what for each custodian, and access that data in a central repository. Doing so not only saves a vast amount of time and spares the cost of collecting core and/or repeat data, but it also provides greater insight into the case and allows the litigation team to focus on issues and timelines unique to each matter.
Multi-matter management is poised to become the next big thing for those who deal with serial litigation and repeat custodians. For more information about this emerging trend, check out eDJ’s upcoming webinar, sponsored by Kroll Ontrack.