Potential Cost Blowouts in Litigation

Oct 21, 2021

The cost of litigation is objectively large. Whilst most expect litigation to be a costly process overall, there are several aspects of the process that can result in additional, unexpected costs, making the process more expensive than it needs to be.

Highlighted below are three common errors in document management which can attract additional and avoidable costs.

  1. Document transfer. During initial investigations, eDiscovery consultants work through the project files with their clients to locate the potentially relevant document sources. Often this results in copying files to a location to be accessed at the eDiscovery consultant’s office later. What is not discovered until much later is that when these documents were copied, the dates of the documents were changed at the time of copying, resulting in the costly process of manually recording the correct dates, with the disclosure deadline looming.
  2. Email management. Clients often forward relevant emails as they discover them or as they are received, however the process of forwarding adds additional information that needs to be redacted (their email to you in the chain) which requires time and resources.
  3. Sifting through data. An easy way to share data is for clients to create copies of their entire laptop and send it to you on a hard drive. Whilst this captures everything required, it also captures large volumes of data not required, including operating files. Removing the irrelevant data takes time and costs money.

If you are responsible for managing all of the litigation costs effectively, then you will be managing more than just the external legal costs. Other costs to remain aware of include:

Cost Implications
Claim Management

This role is potentially undertaken by a range of people inside an organisation, such as the CEO, an in-house lawyer or other trusted individual and with high degrees of variation in approach.

Independent litigation project managers can be highly valuable, especially on large claims, as they often bring other valuable skills to the claim team and can focus on leveraging the firm’s resources and structures to support the case.

Witnesses time The time it takes for a witness to prepare their witness statement is substantial. Witnesses also need time to be prepared for and supported in the process of giving evidence (including visiting court and preparing for cross-examination).
Document Management Most large matters involve managing great volumes of documents. Specialist technical support is essential to drive the effective handling of these documents. Substantial savings can be found in this area where support is in place early and plays an active role with the claims team to find the right tools and drive efficiencies.
Software/IT Support Teams benefit from the use of shared IT platforms where the business and the external law firm and others can manage the case together.
Technical Expertise If the matter involves a technical issue, external legal teams will require technical specialists to help them understand the case and the documents.
Internal Governance This will vary according to your organisation and the size of the claim and number of stakeholders involved. However, the internal governance of claims needs to be considered, involving internal briefings and decision making, as well as intense roles during meditations and settlement discussions.
Other Potential Costs Travel and accommodation, media, catering, organisational psychologists.
Business Impact Costs Lost opportunity, reputational damage, inefficiency and distraction, key staff unavailability and future insurance premium impacts.

 

Unexpected costs can emerge at any stage of the litigation process. Partnering with an eDiscovery consultant means that in the document management phase of the process, the likelihood of these surprises emerging is significantly reduced. An eDiscovery partnership streamlines the process and eliminates unnecessary stressors, allowing you to focus on the other costs outlined above, making for an overall more successful and efficient litigation experience.