How Discovery Costs are Increasing the Justice Gap
The Expense It Imposes Plays a Big Role
In a survey of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, 82% of law firms stated they turned away cases determined not to be cost-effective. IAALS notes that this threshold of cost-effectiveness is $100,000.
Given that a small civil case can cost anywhere between $30,000 to $120,000 or more to litigate1, it places civil litigation out of reach of the majority of people seeking the courts as an avenue for dispute resolution. This is what is known as the “justice gap”. One of the main drivers behind this gap is the costs associated with discovery, much of which is made up of electronic evidence, given our digital age.
According to DOMO we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. Unlike traditional review, this data spans the gamut of social media, emails, videos, geolocation data, text messages and images. The discovery market is hard pressed to quickly identify the relevant data hiding in the quagmire of potential sources. Due to the costs associated with discovery, this only serves to push civil litigation out of reach of many individuals and families, further widening this justice gap.
Successful justice reform will only come through the advent of affordable review technology that enables litigators and investigators to identify relevant information early in a matter without significant review time.
This is due to the fact that for every litigation discovery is the second largest cost outside of the actual trial, which most matters never reach, as they often settle prior to seeing the inside of a courtroom. Discovery drives between one-fifth and one-quarter of total attorney hours spent on a matter.2 The cost is high, accounting for 73% of overall matter costs.
Successful justice reform will only come through the advent of affordable review technology that enables litigators and investigators to identify relevant information early in a matter without significant review time. Data visualization tools are one of the many technology advances that will enable reviewers to quickly isolate pockets of information buried beneath the mountain of digital data responsive to discovery.
Given the explosion of data and technological shift in communications, the cost of discovery is only sure to grow. Technology must address this cost issue or our legal system will become a place that only those with deep pockets can afford, leaving a substantial portion of cases left unheard because they were not determined to be “cost-effective”.
ESI Analyst seeks to close the justice gap by providing a platform that is cost-effective and affordable at any scale. Driven by real-world experience, ESI Analyst is dedicated to reducing the cost of discovery and investigations. We seek to balance the scales of legal discovery by enabling every case or investigation to have access to technological review of case data, regardless of case value. Our partners believe the same.
If your case is in need of pro bono assistance and access to review technology, please contact us and arrange a demonstration today.
1 Small civil case costs estimated using the average attorney hours and rates as provided by the CSP in their report: “Estimating the Costs of Civil Litigation”.
2 “Estimating the Costs of Civil Litigation”. Court Statistics Project, Vol. 20, Number 1, January 2013.