Litigation and its associated discovery processes is often the main reason that organisations embark on an Information Governance programme. Here is one statistic that perfectly illustrates why: For every 1044 pages of evidence preserved, captured, copied, collated and reviewed in eDiscovery, only one is actually produced. Just think about that statistic for a moment.
The time and cost that is incurred in identifying, retrieving, reviewing and then having to reject all of the information that is of absolutely no value in the issue at hand. Now consider that industry estimates show eDiscovery costs to be between $1.5-3 million per terabyte of stored information. If it had the ability to only return the relevant information, eDiscovery could potentially cost an organisation just a thousandth of what it does today.
Even if a 1000% reduction of cost is somewhat optimistic, the savings from an effective Information Governance programme are substantial. An FTI survey showed that only 20% organisations have fewer than 100 litigation events in a year, while 10% reported upwards of 2000 each year.
Information Governance and eDiscovery
The role of Information Governance is to gain control and management of every piece of an organisation’s information, so it is immediately clear what benefits it brings to eDiscovery. Identifying and removing duplicate information and information of no value ensures that Information Governance can drastically reduce the amount of data to be searched.
Classifying and storing information more effectively makes it easier to identify and retrieve only that information relevant to the particular issue. When considering an Information Governance programme for eDiscovery you should fully understand:
- The evidence production requirements across a range of eDiscovery scenarios right from the outset
- How information is to be stored, identified, collected and reviewed
- Who all the parties involved in the litigation process are, their information requirements and how this will be communicated
- The costs in any eDiscovery exercise and how these can be minimised. Legislation like the Jackson Report in the UK is placing greater onus on organisations to deliver far more accurate estimates at the outset of the discovery process
- When information can be removed from corporate systems and the process for disposal
Defensible disposal is a vital consideration in eDiscovery. The ability to delete information from corporate systems is essential to avoid information overload, but it has to be done in an authorised and agreed manner. Most jurisdications do offer some form of ‘Safe harbor’ provision for organisations that fail to produce electronically stored information, but only if that organisation can show that it was properly managing its information and was acting in good faith.