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Data on costs of discovery

From Fulbright & Jaworski’s Fourth Annual Litigation Trends Survey comes some data about the costs of “pre-production privilege reviews.” Half of the 253 US law departments that responded said that privilege review cost more than five percent of their budget in the last 12 months (See my post of Oct. 24, 2007 on the much-touted figure of 60 percent of all litigation expenditures going to discovery.). Bear in mind that 22 percent of the US participants were companies with revenues under $100 million while 42 percent had revenues greater than $1 billion (at 6).

For 30 percent of that group, they “estimated that privilege reviews comprised 6% to 10% of their litigation costs.” For 16 percent of them, these costs went as high as one-third to one-half of their litigation budget (at 24). The findings report adds: “Most of the latter figure consisted of the mid-sized and the largest companies participating.” In the US group, 10 percent of the companies (25 of them) spent over $10 million on litigation (at 16).

In short, one portion of discovery — pre-production privilege reviews, which constitutes a large portion of “discovery” but not all, came nowhere near 60 percent.