Call me late to the party on this book. Electronic Discovery for Small Cases: Managing Digital Evidence and ESI, by Bruce A. Olson and Tom O’Connor, was published a year ago. I happened to pick up a copy a couple months ago and only finally read it recently. Now that I’ve read it, I can report that this is a well-done and much-needed guide to e-discovery in smaller cases.
The authors — both of whom are veteran legal technology and e-discovery consultants — start out by framing what they call the “small case dilemma.” This dilemma stems from the simple fact that many of the leading e-discovery platforms are neither built nor priced for small cases. Conceivably, a case with just 200 GB of data could end up costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For smaller cases, that means, the cost of e-discovery could easily exceed the value of the case. So what do you do if your e-discovery budget is just $10,000, or even less?
As it turns out, there are various technologies that are both effective and affordable for smaller cases. This book describes desktop and cloud platforms that can be used for collecting, processing, search, review and production of electronically stored information. The authors identify specific products and walk you through their use. The book is detailed in its instructions and peppered with screenshots to illustrate the text.
For lawyers not experienced in e-discovery, the book opens with an overview of key concepts and terms. Throughout, the book is written in clear language that even e-discovery novices can easily understand.
For a book about technology, perhaps the best advice it contains is decidedly non-technological. It comes early on, in a chapter entitled, “A Cooperative Approach to Managing E-Discovery in Smaller Cases,” and the point is simple. The best way to reduce costs in e-discovery, the authors argue, is to use your skills as a lawyer to think through what you really want, be specific in your discovery requests, and take full advantage of the meet-and-confer to cooperate with opposing counsel.
“Planning, a targeted approach to discovery, cooperation between counsel, and the use of the proper tools to meet your specific case needs can help you lessen the cost of e-discovery in smaller cases,” the authors write. With this book, they show you how to do each of these.