With eDiscovery becoming increasingly typical and financially burdensome, every litigation professional is looking to keep costs down while still delivering high quality document reviews. This search for low costs, at least, has remained constant. What has changed rapidly is the amount of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) subject to discovery. As the amount of ESI created through normal business activity grows, the need to keep eDiscovery costs down and leverage best of breed technologies grows correspondingly. Let’s take a look at this explosion in ESI volume and how it affects eDiscovery costs.
The amount of ESI collected from employees for commercial litigation has grown by 35% annually. A recent report by Microsoft Corporation found that the average collection of data per individual custodian involved in litigation increased from 7 GBs (~0.5 Million pages) in 2008 to 17.5 GBs in 2011 (~0.9 Million pages). This shows an astounding 150% increase in just three years (35% a year, compounded).
This ESI explosion has a direct effect on the costs associated with eDiscovery. The industry standard prices for processing services are falling but not nearly fast enough to keep up with the exponential growth of ESI collected. The cost to process one GB of raw ESI (~50,000 pages) in 2006 was $1,800. This cost declined to $500 by 2011, showing a 72% decrease in 5 years (22.6%, compounded).
The data demonstrates an annual compound growth of collected ESI of 35% and an annual decrease in processing costs of only 22.6%. With discoverable data growth outpacing cost decreases by 12.4% annually, controlling eDiscovery costs is increasingly crucial. Finding and selecting a quality eDiscovery provider that develops scalable, technology driven solutions that push back against typical cost drivers should be the focus of every litigation professional faced with an eDiscovery challenge.