.title-desc-wrapper .dt-published.published.post-date { display: none; }

Four Reasons Why eDiscovery Matters for Small Firms and Solos

While eDiscovery has been used by big law firms for a while, today, tools like WIND are making it more accessible to firms of all sizes. That’s important because a substantial majority of attorneys work at firms of 20 attorneys or less, and eDiscovery is becoming a more prevalent facet of all kinds of litigation. But first, the question should be asked: why would a small firm need eDiscovery knowhow and tools?

Here are a few reasons why it’s imperative that every small firm that handles litigation be eDiscovery ready.

 1. There is more data than ever.

 This may not be a shock to everyone, but we are all producing more data than ever (it’s estimated that the average internet user generates 0.5 GB of data each day, and that 2.5 quintillion bytes are produced by the world each day), and data has become a part of every facet of our lives. As a result, electronic data hits upon so many parts of legal disputes, and small firms and solos should therefore be ready and aware of what that data can mean for their case.

Tip: A few questions you should think about for your case:

  • How did my client communicate? Text messages? Work emails? Personal emails? Social media? Cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox?

  • How did the opposing party communicate?

2. Level the playing field. The opposing party is likely already using it to their advantage.

eDiscovery is not necessarily a pain point, but can be the quickest way to go through large volumes of information. By being able to search through documents quickly, you’ll be able to determine case strategy early on, and find data that could change your case’s outcome. Big law firms are using it. Small firms, especially plaintiffs’ firms, need to understand how it works, and leverage the same tools.

Tip: Make sure you’re not working with PDF productions, which often lack metadata like the author of the file, when the file was created, and can often not be fully searchable. You can see our template for asking for ESI here.

3. State Bars are Requiring eDiscovery Knowledge

After some embarrassing incidents, state bars have started requiring their attorneys to understand how eDiscovery works. Over half the states have acknowledged some type of requirement for technical competence. Florida just became the first state to mandate 3 hours of technology CLE for attorneys each reporting period. The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility & Conduct Formal Opinion No. 2015-193 from June 30, 2015 states that an attorney’s’ ethical duty of competence extends to eDiscovery and that attorneys must keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice… including relevant technology.  When facing a case subject to eDiscovery, to uphold his/her duty of competence, an attorney has three options: (1) become proficient at eDiscovery by acquiring sufficient learning/skill, (2) hire or consult with an expert who is proficient at eDiscovery, or (3) reject the case.

Tip: Use the E-STET Academy as a learning base for eDiscovery. Our FAQ is a great place to start.

4. It’s not as cost prohibitive as it used to be.

Rather than having to set up a whole infrastructure of servers, and get your staff trained in a new tool, simplified cloud options are giving firms of all sizes access to solid eDiscovery tools. In the past, small firms had to develop the server infrastructure to handle the data and software for eDiscovery, and this could easily cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

Tip: WIND starts at $299 per month, and gives you 25GB of data and a Relativity license. You can easily scale up or down to add more data and Relativity users. Owning your own solution doesn’t give you the same flexibility.



Managed Services for Law Firms: How tech is optimizing a boutique law firm

This firm saved its clients $60,000 every year by utilizing E-STET Managed Services.


The Challenge

A boutique firm comprised of 15 attorneys serving large corporate clients spent, on average, over $100,000 per year on eDiscovery vendors and software over the past three years.


How Managed Services Helped

  • Costs shrunk by 60%. Clients appreciated the savings passed onto them.
  • BigLaw litigation support at low, fixed prices. E-STET Managed Services provided BigLaw-levels of support at predictable prices lower than transactional eDiscovery work and at a lower cost than building out a litigation support team. This allowed the boutique firm to ably handle the workload of Fortune 500 clients.
  • No time wasted haggling prices, or vendor shopping.


A boutique law firm hopes to deliver maximum value to its cost-conscious clients and expand its ability to handle large ESI requests quickly and efficiently.


The pricing model used by the firm before going to Managed Services is typical of the industry. eDiscovery work was handled piecemeal. Processing, data hosting, Relativity licenses, and technical support time were all charged on a per unit basis. In most cases, the firm paid E-STET for the performance of eDiscovery work, and was subsequently reimbursed by its clients.  

How can this boutique law firm keep costs down and handle large matters efficiently?

The Solution

E-STET worked with the law firm to design an E-STET Managed Services infrastructure comprised of 1TB of hosting space and 12 Relativity licenses that gave it the scale and power to handle larger cases at a significantly lower cost than purchasing eDiscovery services on a per-unit basis. The firm is also now able to buy processing on an hourly basis, rather than on a per GB basis, reducing processing costs by an average of 40 percent.  Implementing E-STET Managed Services as an outsourced eDiscovery department enabled the firm to reduce eDiscovery costs for its clients without a major capital investment in staff, hardware, and software.

Based on the firm’s past eDiscovery spend, the law firm will save its clients at least $60,000 per year utilizing E-STET Managed Services.




  • Cost-conscious clients will be happier and more effectively retained.

  • Obtain the power and efficiency of an in-house eDiscovery team at a cost less than building a hardware infrastructure, acquiring software licenses, and hiring technical staff.

  • Eliminate time spent negotiating eDiscovery prices; prices are set in advance at locked-in, low rates.

How Blockchain is Changing the Practice of Law

What is blockchain? Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called “blocks.” The easiest way to describe it is through a comparison between two types of technology:

  • When lawyers are exchanging a contract, they often send around Microsoft Word files via email. This presents a problem in that only one lawyer can work on the latest copy at a time. This is how databases are traditionally managed--with just one working copy. 

  • Using Google Documents, multiple people are able to edit a single document at the same time, with the document distributed across a network. Blockchain does the same with databases.

What are the benefits to using blockchain?

  • Robust. The database is distributed across the network, and therefore not susceptible to failure at a single source. Furthermore, overriding the database would be very difficult, because it would require immense computing power to override a widely distributed database.

  • Transparent. Data is distributed across the network, and therefore it’s clear to the entire network when a change is made.

How is blockchain currently being used?

  • Bitcoin is the most prominent example of blockchain usage. Bitcoin uses blockchain to have a distributed ledger of all holders of Bitcoin, rather than having a centralized ledger that a bank may use. As Legal Tech News explains, “The decentralized network operates without a bank or other trusted centralized payment authority in processing cryptocurrency exchanges. This means that exchanges operate across national borders with ease and without the need for currency conversions and sizable associated fees. Consequently, cryptocurrency transactions may be more quickly and cost-efficiently completed than fiat currency transactions.”

How is blockchain going to change the practice of law?

  • Smart contracts. Smart contracts are currently being developed to execute automatically once certain conditions are met. As BlockGeeks describes, “For instance, a derivative could be paid out when a financial instrument meets certain benchmark, with the use of blockchain technology and Bitcoin enabling the payout to be automated.”
  • Less fraud. Because blockchain is more robust, and a clear trail of transactions is maintained, the instances of fraudulent records is minimized.

  • A new regulatory environment. Blockchain is a relatively new technology, and thus the different risks associated with it are unclear. Furthermore, the disruption to current models of transaction means that new methods for regulation will need to be created to ensure financial goals such as anti-money laundering and anti-bribery controls are maintained.

While there have been a number of uses involving blockchain, its role is still evolving.  One thing is for certain: blockchain will continue to solidify its place in the legal tech industry.

How “New Media” is changing eDiscovery and productivity.

What is “New Media”?

E-STET is defining “New Media” as the set of cloud services often based around more efficient messaging and sharing of intel and data for tech and operations teams. We’re seeing lots of companies and law firms using New Media in their different teams to help boost productivity and collaboration.

What are some examples of New Media?

Slack is probably the most famous one. Slack brings lots of different communication forms, like email, chat, and calls into one place, and allows for hashtagging within these communications.

Confluence is another one. Confluence helps users “[c]reate, share, and collaborate on projects all in one place to keep [ ] projects moving forward, faster.”  Atlassian is the parent company of lots of different New Media, including Confluence, Jira, and Hipchat.

Who are using these New Media platforms?

A lot of really big companies are using New Media, as well as startups. The companies below are some logos from Atlassian’s website, including T-Mobile, Airbnb, Home Depot, BBC, and Hilton. As you can see, it’s not just tech companies.

From Atlassian's website

From Atlassian's website

Seventy-seven percenty of Fortune 100 companies use Slack, including NASA and the set of logos below. There were 3 million daily active users in mid 2016.

How does this impact eDiscovery?

New Media adds an additional source of data for companies to consider when collecting information. Confluence, for example, is very important when dealing with software IP matters, since Confluence is where developers will input information how to develop different features.

You also have some New Media-adjacent products, like customer support system ZenDesk, that can be important in litigation or internal or government investigations.

What should I do?

As litigation gets under way, don’t forget to ask the custodians involved in the litigation if they’re using any New Media like, Slack, Confluence, Jira, ZenDesk, or anything beyond email. Make sure to issue legal holds for New Media and collect from them using tools like Atlas.

Case Study: E-STET takes on 225,000 documents in 40 days.

E-STET was hired by an AmLaw 100 firm to conduct document review in an intellectual property matter. The total volume of the case was 225,000 documents, and E-STET had to review all the documents in 40 days.  


The intellectual property matter required first level review, privilege review, and the creation of a privilege log. 

In addition to the large volume of the documents, E-STET was able to manage a large, complex set of issue and privilege tags.


E-STET applied pioneering Relativity analytics technology called cluster visualization, which creates groups of conceptually similar documents. Clustering allowed E-STET to isolate different issues into groups, and from these groups, E-STET was able to formulate a workflow to quickly identify the documents that were most likely to be relevant.

During the privilege review, E-STET applied domain parsing, a technology that helps identify potentially privileged documents based on an aggregated set of web domains for law firms across the country. 

Based on the multiple privilege tags used, E-STET automatically generated a privilege log through a database-building feature in Relativity.

intellectual property matter case study

Managed Review: How E-STET leveraged tech to review 42,000 documents in 8 days

Our client, a boutique law firm, was in a binding arbitration, had to review 42,000 documents in 11 days, but had no bandwidth to conduct the review of over 3,800 documents per day. 

E-STET applied technology-assisted review in order to cut down on the volume of emails, and organize them for more efficient review.


E-STET assembled its vetted, experienced team of licensed attorneys to review the remaining 42,000 documents in 11 days, leaving 2 days for production. E-STET's Director of Managed Review, Bridgette Harris, worked with outside counsel to train the review team, leaving the boutique law firm to focus on brief writing. Bridgette conducted daily quality control and fielded all review questions, leaving outside counsel to focus on other aspects of the case.

E-STET applied assisted review in order to cut down on the volume of emails, and organize them for more efficient review. E-STET was able to complete the project in 8 days, 3 days ahead of schedule. 

boutique law firm case study

E-STET applied per document pricing to the project, providing an exact figure for how much the project cost prior to the start of the project. 

Ask us how much this project, or other similar projects, cost. 





Around the world: how E-STET helped a Fortune 500 company reduce eDiscovery costs dramatically

A Fortune 500 company has to process terabytes of data located on multiple continents with a short timeline. Cost and quick access to data are paramount.

The E-STET processing formula costs 66 percent less than typical industry processing charges.

The Solution

Recognizing that review has been found to account for over 70 percent of eDiscovery costs, E-STET employed its own processing formula to shrink the data size by 73 percent in a cost-efficient manner. In addition, E-STET broke down the data into different tiers based on priority, allowing for quicker access to more critical data.

E-STET’s tiered processing approach shrunk the size of the data massively by utilizing a processing formula that costs 66 percent less than typical processing charges. By shrinking the data massively, E-STET was able to lessen hosting costs by nearly $100,000 per year. This also saved approximately $7 million in review costs.


E-STET’s processing formula

When dealing with this large set of data, E-STET employed a three-tiered processing system whereby all system files were removed first through deNISTing, and then processing only user-authored content, then to deduplicate according to custodian priority, and finally culling through search terms is applied.

E-STET processed about 8 million documents. After processing, E-STET deduplicated about 3 million documents. Finally, advanced deduplication that uses textual analysis culled down the final set of documents to 800,000. This processing formula was one third of the cost of industry standard processing costs, saving nearly $250,000.

Hosting and review savings

By shrinking the data size dramatically, E-STET was able to save the client on hosting charges and also review. Assuming a typical case lifecycle of three years, the savings amount to $300,000.

This corporation saved $250,000 with E-STET.

Design your custom solution based on your unique needs and usage of technology in your legal process.