It doesn’t take much for litigation costs to quickly run out of control, particularly when it comes to discovery in corporate lawsuits. Discovery alone makes up 50 percent or more of all litigation costs in the federal court system, making costs hard to manage in even the best of circumstances. But in large, corporate cases, it’s not unusual for discovery bills to stretch out across hundreds of pages, pushing projects far over budget. Hidden costs, from fees for “rush” tasks (read: anything that requires 24-hour turn around), to three-figure charges for a call to tech support, to $55 bills for a single DVD, pile up quickly.
In one of the most illustrative examples of discovery costs run amok, Samsung famously ran up a $13 million dollar discovery bill, excluding attorneys’ fees, during one round of its long-running patent litigation with Apple. That case netted Samsung a paltry $158,000 on its offensive patent claims. When it comes to showing how nickel-and-dime discovery fees can kill even the biggest corporate legal budgets, Samsung’s 399-page-long vendor bills are Exhibit A.
Excessive spending on discovery isn't confined just to the bet-the-company cases, either. Discovery cost overruns can be common in even the most routine litigation. H&R Block, for example, recently sought to recover costs spent on data processing in a short-lived putative class action, totaling nearly half-a-million dollars in data processing alone—again, excluding attorneys’ fees. In another case, a run-of-the-mill employment discrimination suit against a hospital in Brooklyn, a major eDiscovery vendor estimated that it would cost over $5,000 and take two weeks just to collect a single email account. So much for the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of an action.
But, corporate eDiscovery doesn’t have to destroy corporate legal budgets. Indeed, there’s much legal professionals can do to reduce discovery costs, by taking proactive steps both during and preceding litigation.
In an upcoming webinar, we’ll explore how cost-conscious and forward-thinking legal departments can drastically reduce the cost of discovery to mitigate risk and save millions of dollars—with an expert, Wayne Matus, who did just that. Matus is a former managing director of group legal and group investigations at UBS, former partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Whitman, and widely respected expert in discovery, information governance, and corporate legal management.
Prior to launching Matus Consulting Group LLC, his latest venture, he revolutionized the eDiscovery process at UBS. Characterized by active intervention from in-house counsel, the careful selection of discovery technology, and a proactive information-governance policy, Matus’s revised program saved the company tens of millions of dollars, and then some, in discovery cost.
Whether you’re a professional in the largest corporate legal departments in the world, a two-person legal team for a smaller organization, or outside counsel working to meet the needs of corporate clients, you can learn from UBS’s drastic eDiscovery transformation.
Register now to learn:
- The characteristics of a cost-effective eDiscovery program
- Strategies for active litigation management
- The role of information governance in reducing corporate legal spend
- How outside counsel can contribute to corporate cost savings
This post was authored by Casey C. Sullivan, who leads education and awareness efforts at Logikcull. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @caseycsull.