Reining In Discovery Costs Through Predictive Coding Programs

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It’s no secret that discovery in litigation can be extremely — sometimes prohibitively — expensive. A recent study of electronic discovery costs shows that the total cost of production could range from $17,000 to $27 million, with a median of $1.8 million. Because discovery expenses have the potential to explode, it often becomes the predominant focus and concern in litigation, demanding the lion’s share of the party’s resources. Recent advancements in e- discovery technology may provide a way to manage the costs, thus shifting the party’s resources and focus back to the legal issues in the litigation.

One such advancement is the use of predictive coding. Predictive coding is a computer-assisted review method that substantially reduces, but does not entirely eliminate, the need for human linear review. At its most basic, predictive coding uses computer algorithms and logic to analyze and mine electronically stored data so that responsive documents can be identified among the sea of stored electronic data. An attorney familiar with the issues in the case reviews a small subset of the stored data, and a mathematical model of relevant documents is generated from this direct input. This model is used to identify the relevant documents, then segregate them from those that are irrelevant in the main collection. Studies have shown that predictive coding is at once faster and more effective than what has to-date been the gold standard in discovery — human review and keyword searching. This translates to significant cost savings for the client because less attorney time is needed to review a smaller, more targeted set of documents.

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