Based on the complexity of data and legal discovery, it is a continual challenge to understand the relationships, opportunities, and costs of specific eDiscovery tasks. With this challenge in mind and to provide information and context to discussions around the eDiscovery task of review, the following review-centric task, spend, and cost data points may be beneficial to legal, business, and IT professionals considering the economics of eDiscovery.
The Task: Review
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 2019 are estimated to be 69% of expenditures for review, with collection representing 12% of expenditures, and processing representing 19% of expenditures.(2)
Chart 1: Relative Task Expenditures for eDiscoveryRelative Task Expenditures for Core eDiscovery Tasks (1)
The Spend: Market Opportunity for Review
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 69% ($7.87B) of worldwide eDiscovery software and services spending in 2019. While the percentage of spending for the eDiscovery task of review is estimated to decrease slightly to approximately 65% of overall eDiscovery spending through 2023, the spend in dollars for eDiscovery review is estimated to grow to $12.15B by 2023.(3)
Chart 2: eDiscovery Market for RevieweDiscovery Market for Review (2018-2023)
The Cost: Review Pricing Data Points
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 the winter 2019 and the summer 2019 eDiscovery Pricing Survey 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?Review Pricing_ Per GB Cost to Conduct Predictive Coding in a Technology-Assisted Review
Chart 4: What is the cost per hour for document review attorneys to review documents during the review phase of eDiscovery?Review Pricing_ Per Hour Cost for Document Review Attorneys to Review Documents
Chart 5: What is the cost per document for document review attorneys to review documents during the review phase of eDiscovery?Review Pricing_ Per Document Cost for Document Review Attorneys to Review Documents
(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. (2018). eDiscovery Market Size Mashup: Worldwide Software and Services Overview – 2018-2023. Retrieved from https://complexdiscovery.com/an-ediscovery-market-size-mashup-worldwide-software-and-services-overview-2018-2023/
(4) Robinson, R. (2019). What is the Price of Admission? Summer 2019 eDiscovery Pricing Survey Results. Retrieved from https://complexdiscovery.com/what-is-the-price-of-admission-summer-2019-ediscovery-pricing-survey-results/
- Considering eDiscovery Collection? Task, Spend, and Cost Data Points
- Considering eDiscovery Processing: Task, Spend, and Cost Data Points