eDiscovery vs. Custodian-Led Searches: No Contest

Roumiana Deltcheva has written an illumunating article that outlines the advantages of eDiscovery search versus custodian-led searches:

  • eDiscovery searches are more comprehensive.

Deltcheva cited the example of the Enron saga where 3 million e-mails from 100 e-mail employee boxes had to be accessed – an eDiscovery search proved more effective in capturing the documents.

  • eDiscovery searches yielded a higher number of responsive documents.

Taking the same Enron case, custodians failed to find 84% of responsive documents, identifying only four relevant employees; eDiscovery found all the responsive documents and identified 77 relevant employees.

  • eDiscovery is a quicker and cheaper methodology than custodian-led searches.

Deltcheva pointed out that the latter method has inherent flaws that could affect the quality of the documentation needed by lawyer teams.

eDiscovery Searches: Easier to Justify

Deltcheva goes on to note that the law firm of Gibson Dunn revealed that 13.5% of eDiscovery searches conducted during the first half of 2010 led to more sanctions for various failures. This constitutes valid justification for choosing the eDiscovery method over the custodian-led search. Note that the US Supreme Court’s 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure deliberately included e-mails and chatting messages into the new category of electronic records.

It’s no surprise, therefore, to see why an increasing number of law firms and legal associations are upping their hiring budget for eDiscovery consultants, managers and technicians, and obliging their lawyers to get up to speed on all things eDiscovery, starting with an overview of why it’s better than custodian-led searches.

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