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Browning Marean’s ESI Cost Budget

The Tip of the Night for September 24, 2015 noted that the EDRM makes several different budget calculators available on its site. Browning Marean was a partner at DLA Piper who focused on electronic discovery and information governance. He developed a calculator that estimated costs for the standard phases in electronic discovery (collection, processing, review, production) as well as providing projections for the cost of Early Data Assessment, privilege review and data hosting.

Marean's calculator uses an Excel spreadsheet to arrive at total costs based on several values entered by the user.

In the collection phase, you enter the number of custodians data is being collected from; the average number of GB per custodian; and the estimated number of files per GB. A fixed dollar figure is to be given for how much it costs to collect data from each custodian, and hourly charges for network data collection, to then arrive at the total collection cost.

Other parameters given as useful guidelines subject to change include a 30% reduction for de-NISTing and de-duplication; and 90% responsive rate after an effective EDA tool is used.

- Processing fees are charged on a per GB basis.

- A flat fee is entered for an EDA tool, and the cost of attorney time spent learning the EDA tool is considered as well.

- Review for responsiveness and privilege documents are based on the number of documents an attorney can review in an hour and their hourly fees, but different rates are assumed for each task. Separate figures are to be entered for the review of opposing productions.

- Production costs are assessed on a fee per file.

- Hosting costs are based on how much is charged for setting up a database; individual user accounts; monthly maintenance; image storage; and an hourly fee for project management.

- Paper document collection and processing is taken into account as well.

The spreadsheet not only generates a grand total for all of the electronic discovery tasks, it also calculates the cost per individual file.

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