Making Sense of eDiscovery Pricing

Understanding your pricing options – and what eDiscovery services will cost in the long term – before you sign the contract

When you are evaluating eDiscovery vendors, comparing their pricing models can often seem like comparing apples to oranges. Each vendor may present or bundle their services differently and many have pricing models that are so complex, you don’t even know what the total cost will be from month to month.

To help you make sense of what eDiscovery services will actually cost you, we’ve summarized the three most popular pricing models in use today.

  1. Line item pricing – In this model, you pay a la carte for each individual step of eDiscovery (e.g., collection, processing, filtering, review, analytics, hosting and production). It allows you to select an individual rate and/or vendor for each line item. However, as data size, keywords or document numbers change over the course of an eDiscovery project, the price of each step could change and costs may be higher than anticipated. Also, if the cost of a tech-related service seems too good to be true, it probably is. Inexpensive technology can often mean more manual labor and a higher total cost of discovery.
  2. Per-document or per-gigabyte pricing – With per-document or per-gigabyte pricing, you pay a fixed fee for reviewable content (per document or gigabyte) for the duration that the data is actively used in the case. Pricing is frequently designed to mitigate the risk of large and complex documents for the vendor, so you may end up paying more than you need to for cases in which documents are small and/or simple. In addition, long-running, complex cases often incur higher costs than expected, as you will be paying for data for the entire time it is used and/or stored for the case.
  3. Monthly flat fee pricing – In this model, you pay a fixed fee each month (for a designated number of months), which covers all of the eDiscovery steps and services. There’s no risk of unexpected bill changes from month to month and you know how much the entire case will cost you. In addition, the vendor typically provides faster-moving and more cost-effective teams, as it is in their (and your) best interest.

Choosing a vendor with a pricing model that delivers predictable costs for eDiscovery services is a critical part of the evaluation process. Each case is different, so the same pricing model might not always be the best fit. At LSI, we offer all three models in order to meet our clients’ needs for quick, cost-effective eDiscovery services. Most of our clients opt for six-month, worry-free pricing contracts that allow them to avoid the fluctuating costs that can occur with an increase in documents and/or data storage. Contact us today to find out how our pricing compares with your current eDiscovery services contract.