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Chris Niccolls

Why Isn't Ediscovery Free?

By February 19, 2013

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Cost

PHOTO: All Rights, Microsoft Corporation

I've said it before, so I'll say it again, "Document reviews keep getting more expensive, but technology keeps getting cheaper. When will eDiscovery costs drop? When will eDiscovery be free?"

Think about it. The biggest contributor to the eDiscovery mess is email. A decade ago, deploying email was corporate IT's biggest cost. It was a HUGE expense, and then you got hit again by the cost of eDiscovery when the same emails need to be found and reviewed for litigation. In the last decade, the cost of eDiscovery exploded. But, what happened to the cost of email? What does a Gmail account cost? It's been FREE for years, with more storage than most internal corporate accounts provide.

It's not just email that's free. You can get gigabytes of free on-line document storage, MS Office compatible tools, social media, photo editing... just about every imaginable service. The more that the service is based on pure technology, the more likely that there is a free model that goes with the service. The reason that eDiscovery is not free is that there just isn't enough "e" in eDiscovery.

Several studies show that the big firms (Fortune 200) typically pay $2,000,000 or more for a document review. That's a long, long way from free! When eDiscovery moves away from manual (Linear Review) and replaces people with technology (Technology Assisted Review - TAR), the cost will fall dramatically. A 50% to 90% drop is reasonable with today's technology, and it will just continue to get cheaper as time goes on. Is free eDsicovery in our future? Well, if it's not free, it's sure going to be a LOT cheaper!

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