Skip to Content (custom)


10 Pro Tips for Rolling out a New eDiscovery Cost Recovery Program

  • eDiscovery
  • 2 Mins

Cost recovery is a key strategy to ensure a law firm or corporation’s eDiscovery program will meet current and future demands.

There's a lot of work that eDiscovery professionals put into their programs. There’s research in finding the right software and partners. There’s the testing of tools, analysis, contract negotiations, and signing. But regardless of how good an eDiscovery professional feels about the choices they’ve made, that alone is not enough for success. Just as having a good chef won’t guarantee a successful restaurant, picking the right tools and partners is not enough to ensure you will have a great eDiscovery program supported by cost recovery. Ultimately, whether your goals are cost savings for your clients, better data management, more defensibility, improved data security, or all the above, none of those things will come to fruition if you don’t have the adoption and usage of your resources.

To get on the road to achieving discovery cost recovery and cost allocation goals, here are ten pro tips that every eDiscovery professional should consider:

  1. Gain and leverage Executive Sponsorship. Change can be difficult, and so can asking people to pay for things. Having management in your corner from the outset sends a message about the commitment to the initiative and will help streamline the process.
    • Get management committee approval in writing and have it in a format that can easily be shared.
    • Get buy-in from the Practice Chair or leaders of the corporate legal department. They can help cascade messaging and reinforce policies when any pushback is received. Without leadership backing, it will be a struggle to get traction and compliance.
  2. Establish a Steering Committee comprised of champions in key practice and business areas or key leaders of the legal department.
    • Regular communication with the Steering Committee will ensure they stay informed and avoid any surprises.
    • Including stakeholders creates buy-in. By including them in the process and building on their ideas, they will feel ownership and a vested interest in success which will help gain wider adoption.
  3. Create accountability for partners who use non-approved vendors outside of the eDiscovery program and find themselves needing to write off or write down expenses.
    • It minimizes exceptions to the cost recovery process that’s been established.
    • It minimizes exceptions that allow each attorney to pick their own supplier or tool.
    • When practice and business group leaders understand the cost and value, and that there are policies in place, it will create a culture of compliance. After all, everyone is impacted by firm and corporate finances and write-offs take money straight from the bottom line.
  4. Ensure eDiscovery process and playbook documents are clear and detailed, including what is subject to cost recovery, how it is calculated, and what those costs are:
    • Remove technical jargon and software names.
    • Law firms should create standard billing descriptions that are consistent with what attorneys and paralegals write.
    • Corporations should create a playbook, new matter intake form and process.
    • Include communications and training information at the beginning of a matter in engagement letters and invoices.
    • Ensure those in the firm understand both the cost and the value provided. Leverage regular communication channels (e.g., monthly newsletters) and meetings (e.g., practice meetings, presentations at firm retreats, corporate legal department annual meetings, Outside Counsel meetings) to deliver these details.
  5. Highlight client success stories.
    • Build case studies that focus on cost savings. Look beyond the initial technology spend and highlight the savings that the client has realized (from their investment).
    • Focus on the efficiency that a programmatic approach to eDiscovery creates:
      • Improved workflows – these programs allow for more defensible and consistent workflows because they can be applied across matters.
      • Easier access to new technologies and the ability to apply them consistently.
      • Proven ROI – by tracking metrics closely and reporting financials to law firm or legal department management regularly.
  6. Don’t deploy and move on.
    • Maximizing success requires regular check-ins with program champions and Practice Chairs, providing them updates on new wins, and ensuring they continue to see and communicate the value across their teams.
  7. Promote key wins where technology and eDiscovery expertise resulted in winning new business, retaining current clients, winning a big case, or providing exceptional cost savings.
    • Initially, find easy wins so colleagues have a positive first experience, which will help create allies and advocates.
  8. Create a dashboard to track financial metrics in real-time and inform future business decisions.
    • Focus on the KPIs that teams are evaluated on. For a law firm, it might be about generating new revenue. For a corporate team, it might be costs reduced because of the tool, new processes, or partnerships.
  9. Develop a “road show” to kick off the initiative and educate key stakeholders.
    • A road show could be delivered through a lunch and learn series, recorded presentations, or CLE courses that are hosted on an intranet site.
    • Delivering the message in person, particularly during rollout, will pay dividends and help with perception and buy-in.
  10. Write a letter or update document that highlights the new technology, partnership, or process.
    • It should detail the benefits to the organization’s end users – whether they are in-house legal teams, Outside Counsel, partners, or corporate clients.
    • It can be shared through the road show program, newsletters, as part of case kickoffs and client onboarding documentation.
    • A short, powerful document that highlights the benefits and outcomes these stakeholders are interested in will get them excited about the initiative.

Following these tips will not only set an eDiscovery program up for success, it will also ensure the value it’s delivering is realized and amplified throughout the organization.

Brandon Hollinder Brandon Hollinder is a licensed attorney and has more than a decade and a half of experience in the profession. Today he is Vice President of eDiscovery and Cyber Solutions at Epiq, the world's premier Alternative Legal Services provider. In this role, he leads and develops Epiq’s go to market strategy for its eDiscovery Managed Services and Cyber Incident Response business lines, focusing on partnering with clients to ensure their technology and professional service solutions are effectively designed and expertly implemented. A particular focus of the role is driving innovation in technology and process at Epiq as well as guiding clients in their journeys as they look to adopt and successfully integrate advanced analytics and generative AI solutions among others.

The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.

Subscribe to Future Blog Posts

Learn more about Epiq's Service offerings
Our Services