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E-Discovery Advocacy: What Gets Measured Gets Done

IQPC eDiscovery for Oil and Gas Conference

One of the more valuable sessions at IQPC’s recent E-Discovery for Oil & Gas Conference in Houston explored how to promote acceptance of e-discovery within organizations. In “How to be an Internal Champion of E-Discovery,” the speakers shared case-specific examples of how they had used advocacy skills to build support and understanding for e-discovery.

One approach that the speakers ignored — and that attorneys in general often ignore — was the use of metrics. Both speakers provided helpful examples of how to use current events in energy and other industries to communicate the urgency of creating, investing in and implementing standard e-discovery practices. But numbers? No one suggested the use of pure numbers.

Maureen O’Neill recently wrote about lawyers who avoid technology. But we also have a tendency to avoid metrics. Tom Kilroy of GC’s Eye View summarized in his article “Lies, Damn Lies and…Metrics” that attorneys — whose weapon of choice is the malleable word — shy away from the use of numbers because we consider them to be too absolute. Numbers lack nuance. It makes sense, then, that some attorneys are as uncomfortable with metrics as they are with technology; the two go hand in hand.

DiscoverReady eDiscovery Metrics

At DiscoverReady, we use metrics every day to help our clients communicate with their internal clients — people who rely on numbers to measure the performance of their day-to-day operations. Your clients will appreciate when you can offer solid numbers to substantiate:

  1. The advantages of an up-front investment in electronic discovery to your internal business clients, who run their divisions using metrics on a daily basis.
  2. The pros and cons of outsourcing certain aspects of the EDRM.
  3. Your ability to negotiate with opponents regarding proportionality of e-discovery solutions based on metrics you’ve collected in the processes you’ve established.
  4. Most importantly – the actual cost of all e-discovery related tasks. Once your clients understand how to measure their costs, they will appreciate your efforts to compress those costs.

In building consensus for e-discovery, words can only take you so far. Ultimately, your clients are looking at the bottom line. And that line, invariably, is one made of numbers.

Maureen O'Neill