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“70-80 percent of litigation spending goes to discovery.”

I have heard estimates of around 60%, but have yet to see quantitative research. The quote comes from Richard Finkelman, a Navigant Consulting director (Litigation Support, June 2005 at 3). The article describes Sears Roebuck’s project to review 4 million pages of documents and records comprising 175 gigabytes.

Sears combined (a) a group of more than 30 contract lawyers, (b) a portal customized by Navigant, (3) a method of viewing documents that does not require scanning and uses commercial discovery-management software (EED’s Discovery Partner), (4) organization of the records by concept rather than by custodian, and (5) support from the Sonnenschein law firm.

What Sears thereby handled in about four months – reviewing and coding 1.5 million pages – would have taken, they estimated, twice as long manually or “60 associates to be locked in war rooms around the clock for six months.” Setting aside the consulting and implementing costs, does it sound as if the Sears/Navigant/Sonnenschein approach, compared to the more traditional techniques, might have cost half as much.