Editor’s Note: Originally published in June of 2019, this update on eDiscovery review task, spend and cost information contains new data points based on recent refreshes of industry market sizing research and eDiscovery service pricing surveys from ComplexDiscovery. This updated information may be beneficial for legal, business, and IT professionals considering the business of eDiscovery and specifically the economics of legal review.
A 2020 Look at eDiscovery Review: The Task
Within the context of data discovery and legal discovery, the task of review consists of the evaluation of digital information to identify relevant and responsive documents to produce, and privileged documents or confidential or sensitive information to withhold. It is one of three tasks, that along with collection and processing, make up the core tasks typically associated with the process of eDiscovery.
In considering the relative costs of the three core eDiscovery tasks of collection, processing, and review, in 2012, review represented approximately 73% of the total expenditure for eDiscovery tasks, with collection representing 8% of expenditures and processing representing 19% of expenditures.(1) Based on market modeling since 2012, the current relative costs of these core eDiscovery tasks in 2020 are estimated to be 68% of expenditures for review, with collection representing 13% of expenditures, and processing representing 19% of expenditures.(2)
Chart 1: Relative Task Expenditures for eDiscovery1-Relative-Task-Expenditures-for-Core-eDiscovery-Tasks-2020
Market Opportunity for Review: The Spend
In evaluating the market spend for the eDiscovery task of review through the lens of relative task expenditures and modeled market estimations, spending on review-related software and services is estimated to constitute approximately 68% ($8.61B) of worldwide eDiscovery software and services spending in 2020. While the percentage of spending for the eDiscovery task of review is estimated to decrease slightly to approximately 63% of overall eDiscovery spending through 2024, the spend in dollars for eDiscovery review is estimated to grow to $13.0B by 2024.(3)
Chart 2: eDiscovery Market for Review2-eDiscovery-Market-for-Review-2019-2024
Review Pricing Data Points: The Cost
While many individual elements contribute to the cost of review, results from the semi-annual eDiscovery Pricing Survey (4) may provide insight into three key costs and cost trends related to the eDiscovery task of review. These costs include the per GB cost to conduct predictive coding as part of technology-assisted review during the document review phase of eDiscovery, the cost per hour for document review attorneys to review documents during the review phase of eDiscovery, and the cost per document for document review attorneys to review documents during the review phase of eDiscovery.
Responses from winter 2019, summer 2019, and winter 2020 eDiscovery Pricing Surveys regarding these three review-related cost questions posed to data and legal discovery professionals are provided below for your consideration.
Chart 3: What is the per GB cost to conduct predictive coding as part of technology-assisted review during the document review phase of eDiscovery?3-Review-Pricing-Per-GB-Cost-to-Conduct-Predictive-Coding-2020
Chart 4: What is the cost per hour for document review attorneys to review documents during the review phase of eDiscovery?4-Review-Pricing-Per-Hour-Cost-for-Document-Review-Attorneys-to Review-Documents-2020
Chart 5: What is the cost per document for document review attorneys to review documents during the review phase of eDiscovery?5-Review-Pricing-Per-Document-Cost-for-Document-Review-Attorneys-to-Review-Documents-2020
(1) Pace, N., & Zakaras, L. (2012). Where the Money Goes: Understanding Litigant Expenditures for Producing Electronic Discovery (p. xiv, xv). RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
(2) Robinson, R. (2019). eDiscovery Market Size Mashup: Worldwide Software and Services Overview – 2019-2024. Retrieved from https://complexdiscovery.com/an-ediscovery-market-size-mashup-2019-2024-worldwide-software-and-services-overview/
(4) Robinson, R. (2019). The Power of Three? A Short Look at eDiscovery Pricing Over Time. Retrieved from https://complexdiscovery.com/the-power-of-three-a-short-look-at-ediscovery-pricing-over-time/
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