There Are No Small Parts

By: Doug Kaminski
Chief Revenue Officer, Cobra Legal Solutions

In theatre, there is a saying attributed to “the father of modern acting” Konstantin Stanislavski, where he said, “there are no small parts, only small actors.”  Just as in a theatre play where every actor contributes to the play’s success, every team member in a discovery project contributes to the success of the project in terms of your ability to accomplish the discovery objectives on time and on budget.

But in a project that can involve potentially dozens of team members (or even more), how can you be sure that you’re getting the most out of your team’s efforts, down to each member of the team?  Do you have the info you need when you need it to track the activity associated with your personnel resources?

Metrics Are the Key to Successful Projects

The key to answering those questions is metrics.  Tracking metrics – as long as they’re the right metrics – helps you keep track of the status of your projects, which (in turn) helps keep the project itself on track.

Take the Review phase, which is the phase where the most human resources tend to be applied, which generally makes it (by far) the most expensive phase in eDiscovery.  Here are just some of the metrics that could be tracked for review, for the entire team or individual reviewers:

  • Documents Reviewed: The number of documents reviewed, with the ability to break down averages by reviewer, by time frame (e.g., hour, day, week, etc.) and any combination thereof.
  • Percent of Documents in Each Classification: The percentage of documents classified as responsive, non-responsive, privileged, etc., with the ability to track variances across reviewers.
  • Responsiveness Percentage Per Custodian: The percentage of responsive documents across custodians to help understand which custodians are providing the most responsive documents so that efforts can be prioritized on those custodians.
  • File Type Breakdowns: Percent of documents for each file type (e.g., email, word processing, spreadsheet) and the distribution of each across reviewers. Sometimes, the reason that certain reviewers are moving slower than others is because they have a higher concentration of difficult documents to review.
  • Review Cost Per Document: Average cost per document for review, which can include both attorney review cost and technology cost. The ability to isolate that cost to non-responsive documents can show how much time is being spent on documents not related to the case – an important metric to identify potential opportunities for improvement and cost savings.
  • Overturn Rate: Percentage of documents for which classifications are overturned in QC. This metric, when tracked by reviewer, can identify which reviewers may need additional training to ensure their classifications are on point.
  • Estimated Time to Complete: The estimated number of working days that are required to review the remaining unreviewed documents, based on a rolling average review rate. It’s vitally important to understand when you’re expected to finish, so that you can make adjustments if meeting the deadline is in jeopardy.

Those are just a few examples in one eDiscovery phase of how metrics tracking can project teams identify issues and address them quickly and proactively to keep the project on track overall.

Dashboards and Automation

Obtaining these metrics used to involve running reports periodically (such as at the end of each day) and performing calculations to measure progress.  That approach was highly manual, prone to mistakes and untimely, as you may have lost an entire day or more before you spotted a trend that needed correcting – time potentially wasted when striving to meet aggressive deadlines.  And data from those reports had to be re-entered into matter management and billing systems, taking additional time and effort to actually get paid for all that hard work.

Today, it has become important to get those metrics real-time and, in a format where the information can be quickly digested and understood.  Automated project dashboards are key to tracking progress to provide real-time insights into legal spend effectiveness and resource allocation.  And those dashboards need to be mobile friendly so that you can actually get away from your desk and live life while checking in to continue to make sure your project is on target.  Finally, metrics from the dashboard should automatically flow into matter management and eBilling solutions, streamlining the tracking and billing processes.

Are you getting the most out of your players?  They’re probably working hard, but maybe not as efficiently as they could be.  You should be able to determine just how efficiently at any time from any place and course correct as needed.  Metrics help ensure that you, as the director, deliver an award-winning performance.

For more information about Cobra’s CobraPulse® real-time metrics dashboard, click here.

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