Data from 2008 on discovery costs in litigation and some important metrics

Navigant Consulting and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform asked the Fortune 1000 general counsel to provide data on their lawsuit load, costs and discovery. Of that group, 48 responded. Nearly two-thirds of them reported that they managed 100 or more civil cases in 2007.

“On average, 45-50 percent of respondents’ civil litigation costs in 2007 related to discovery activities.” This finding corroborates other estimates of discovery-related costs. More specifically, “Discovery of ESI [electronically stored information] accounted for, on average, a significant share (between 33-39 percent) of total discovery costs.” Bear in mind that this data comes from about three years ago and the e-discovery battlefield may have changed markedly since then.

“Costs associated with e-discovery vendors were reported in 63 percent (20 of 32) of large cases. When used, e-discovery vendors accounted for, on average, 10-12 percent of total costs.
In the specific matters that were the subject of our survey, discovery was either completed or substantially complete by the time the matter was resolved.” I presume law firms accounted for the bulk of the rest of the e-discovery expenditures.

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