A presenter at a recent conference, David McCann, the President and CEO of DataconEED, described a major study his company has done of more than 200 lawsuits and the electronic discovery they unleashed. The study extracted some 15 key factors for each case, including about half of them related to the type and volume of electronic documents. McCann mentioned that software is available that takes such factors and calculates the likely costs of discovery. He also pointed out that no set of good task-based codes exist for discovery work.
Empirical research, such as this, where people study actual processes and measure aspects of the process or its outcome, is much needed in the sphere of legal department management (See my post of Oct. 23, 2005: dearth of academic, empirical research; July 4, 2006: lack of data; Aug. 1, 2006: natural experiments; June 10, 2007: need to test management theories with facts; March 20, 2007: regression and cluster analysis of scores; Feb. 4, 2008: Harvard Program on the Legal Profession; and March 16, 2008: public warehouse of law department survey data.). Some people would call benchmark data empirical, which it is, but benchmark surveys are not designed as carefully as studies.