25 Percent Fewer Eyes on Each Project From 2010-2012: A Sign of the Times?

Monday, March 3, 2014 by Eric Robinson


Staying ahead of the curve is everything in ediscovery, and the ediscovery.com Pulse is generating all kinds of buzz amongst lawyers and practitioners looking to improve their output. About a month ago, nearly 150 Legal Tech attendees crammed into the Nassau Suite at the Hilton, New York, for The Ediscovery Pulse: Metrics You Need to Know, educational session in which a panel of experts dove into Kroll Ontrack’s first-of-its-kind Pulse Benchmarks.

If you are new to the Pulse Benchmarks, here’s a quick primer: Kroll Ontrack’s Ediscovery.com Pulse Benchmarks present aggregated and trended data from over 4,000 matters over a five-year span (2008-2012) to identify trends and key changes in the ediscovery market. Practitioners aiming to stay ahead of the curve can use these real-time metrics to cut time and costs on their ediscovery projects.

New Metric Shows Reviewers Per Project on the Decline

According to the age-old adage, time is money—especially when it comes to ediscovery. One of the largest concerns associated with Big Data and ediscovery stems from review, where teams of attorneys traditionally reviewed thousands of pages of documents, billing anywhere from $100 to $300 per hour (note: these estimates are conservative). It should come with little surprise that, according to the Rand Institute, the review phase accounts for a whopping 73 percent of ediscovery costs. As global data volumes nearly double every two years, more of same with regard to review is only going to drive that percentage (and the consequent cost of conducting review) up.

Thankfully, our newest Pulse Metric shows that the average number of reviewers per project decreased by 25 percent from 2010 to 2013. Whether that drop can be attributed to advanced technologies, savvier reviewers, or both, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. As practitioners are increasingly conscious of the bottom line in ediscovery, this number will hopefully continue to decrease as advanced and nuanced culling and review protocols are implemented in ediscovery projects of all sizes.

Thanks to advancing technologies such as predictive coding, fewer eyes are needed on every project. This decrease in the number of reviewers means significant savings in ediscovery expenses, and with litigants increasingly comfortable with leveraging advanced EDA techniques to cull data sets and predictive coding, this number could see a more substantial decrease in the next few years.

So, what do you think about the trend observed in this metric? Why do you think the number of reviewers per project dropped steadily from 2008 to 2012, and where do you expect this number to go in the next five years? Sound off in the comments below.