Identification, preservation, collection, processing, review and production -- these are the six basic phases of discovery. Experts say the largest discovery costs are incurred in the document review phase. There are a number of practical ways to reduce review costs, but one of the best is to reduce the number of documents that ultimately need to be reviewed. A thoughtful collection strategy can make a big difference in this area.
Some companies have access to sophisticated content management, data archiving and other technologies that can help target potentially relevant information among the ever-increasing amounts of data in various corporate information systems. But for companies that do not have such technologies (and, in some circumstances, even for those that do), collecting data means capturing entire email boxes or complete hard drives for identified custodians and then incurring significant costs to process and filter that data. However, there is a better way. It is the Discovery Solution Practice's (DSP) intelligent, targeted document collection process.
DSP professionals have developed an effective collection methodology that begins with an analysis of the scope of the discovery request or other demand for information, followed by assessments of custodians and repositories of potentially relevant data. This information allows the discovery team to defensibly narrow the list of custodians and data sources from which documents will be collected. For every source removed from the collection list, the review volume is reduced, resulting in cost savings to the client.
After the appropriate sources have been identified, DSP professionals conduct custodian interviews and data environment investigations to identify the precise folders and files that contain potentially relevant information. Using industry standard tools, only those targeted files are collected, greatly reducing the volume of data that must then be processed and reviewed.
This service is not self-collection, which is generally disfavored by the courts. Rather it is a fully documented process in which experienced professionals, who understand the case background and discovery standards, work with custodians and client information technology personnel to pinpoint potentially relevant data. The result is a reduced data set, acquired through the use of defensible processes and technologies. While it may not be the right approach for every case, in many instances, DSP's intelligent, targeted document collection process will result in greater accuracy, lower costs and fewer business disruptions.