Gartner Says Organisations That Fully Document Their Search Processes in E-Discovery by 2012 Will Save 25 Per Cent on Their Collection Processes

Gartner Identifies Five Guidelines to Ease the First Steps of Addressing E-Discovery for Litigation

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By the end of 2012, organisations that fully document their search processes in e-discovery will save 25 per cent on their collection processes, according to Gartner, Inc. Organisations of all sizes, and those facing any number of legal actions annually, should have a simple set of practices to follow anytime they need to embark on an e-discovery process in the near future.

Although no single relevance model or cocktail of relevance models will be effective in the next five years, Gartner predicts that by 2014, lawyers and technologists will use a customary means of recording search processes in e-discovery.

"Addressing the ongoing challenge of the IT perspective of litigation management demands both that the technologies be acquired and that procedures for using them be established," said Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Companies need to own the products that will be necessary for them to address litigation and understand that those products will not have the same positive impact unless they are supported by repeatable, effective, systemic processes for lawyers and IT to follow."

Gartner identified five guidelines to ease the first steps of addressing e-discovery for litigation:

1. Open communication wide, and include potential custodians.

The legal team, or teams, and IT must be able to communicate throughout the process. At the first threat of litigation, IT and the lawyers representing any company or government enterprise should initiate a planned round of meetings as though the e-discovery phase of litigation were a project with phased deliverables and expectations.

2. Get a senior litigator involved immediately. High hourly rates are compensated for through effective decision making.

Waiting for the final product to be ready for delivery to opposing counsel is a mistake. A senior litigator, engaged at an early stage, will be able to advise on what document and data sources should be searched and examined, how to structure initial queries and what information should be searched, and how to record processes so that they are more defensible in the case of an inquisitive judge.

3. Analyse the corpus of documents and data early.

Understanding the underlying content of the case holistically will allow IT workers and lawyers to discuss meaningfully what the impact will be of any collection strategy. It will also give the senior litigator the ability to call whether the case should proceed or be settled.

4. Estimate the price scale for collection based on what it will cost to pursue strategies of different degrees of intensity.

Budgeting the cost of collection will allow IT workers and lawyers to work together to determine a proportional expenditure on e-discovery that is proper for a case, given its significance and the financial exposure it represents.

5. Document your decisions.

Terms and methods of querying them should be saved in a grid such as a spreadsheet file for simplicity. Lawyers, in particular, continue to hope for a specific means of conducting searches that would allow them not to examine search processes as granularly as they must now. However, for the immediate future, lawyers' involvement will be critical to achieve recall that will be acceptable to the bench and opposing counsel.

"Codifying these guidelines in order will further enhance efficient proceedings and improve the successful resolution of litigation," Mr Andrews said.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Five Steps for E-discovery to Improve Search and other processes." The report was generated as part of the e-discovery workshop that Gartner conducted with leaders in e-discovery, such as Robert Brownstone, law and technology director at Fenwick & West LLP, at the Gartner Risk Management and Compliance Summit, April 29-May 1 of this year. The report is available on Gartner's website at

Mr Andrews will provide additional analysis at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, 2-5 November 2009, in Cannes, France. In the session "Gartner Magic Quadrant and MarketScope: Information Access Technology and E-Discovery," Mr Andrews will offer a visual snapshot of e-discovery's direction and maturity, as well as the leading participants.

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. It is the industry's largest and most important annual gathering of CIOs and their senior IT leaders. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organisation, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. They rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organisations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Additional information is available at
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