Benefits of Reviewing Emails Using an eDiscovery Platform vs. Outlook

, Benefits of Reviewing Emails Using an eDiscovery Platform vs. Outlook

by Serena Lim, Director – Litigation Edge

Singapore eDiscovery: Reviewing Emails

The volume of evidence to be reviewed in litigation has grown exponentially, and the bulk of this increase comes from reviewing emails. Even when email evidence is received in native format, each file must be reviewed individually to determine relevance. It is not uncommon, in a litigation matter, to receive about 10GB of electronic evidence to review, comprising emails with various attachments amounting to around 30,000 documents in total. This is very time consuming, and timelines are often compressed. Getting through this volume of emails will require a few people working very long hours, to identify the relevant evidence.

The alternative would be reviewing emails using an eDiscovery platform.

Reviewing Emails: Outlook v eDiscovery Platform

Review In Outlook Review On eDiscovery Platform
  • Outlook search can be inconsistent, error-prone and does not handle attachments well.
    (no option to do a global keyword search).
  • Emails from various sources (i.e. different email accounts) are accessed separately.
  • Limited capacity – beyond a certain volume of emails, there is a great lag in function.
  • Unable to detach attachments from an email.
  • No function to generate a list of emails in Excel or Word format.
  • Ability to do a global keyword search to bring up relevant emails.
  • PST files from various sources can be consolidated for review, while still being able to identify the custodian.
  • Can handle millions of emails.
  • Will detach email attachments as separate items, enabling review by file type.
  • Able to generate a list of emails in Excel or Word formats.
  • Possible to filter for only inclusive emails within an email thread.

Advantages of Using an eDiscovery Tool to Review Emails

  • Saves time
    • Keyword search enables rapid identification of relevant and irrelevant evidence
    • Easily flag out duplicates, facilitating efficient deduplication of evidence
  • Saves manpower cost
  • Minimises burnout and turnover of lawyers
  • Facilitates evidence management
    • With tagging, relevant evidence can be further classified for various purposes

Time and Cost Savings to a Law Firm

To illustrate the above advantages, we have quantified the time and cost savings for a firm, based on the following assumptions:

  1. Between 2-5 new cases weekly, working out to an average of 3.5 new cases weekly. Based on 54 weeks a year, this works out to 182 new cases per year.
  2. For each new case between 1-5 arch files of documents are received, working out to an average of 3 arch files per case. Again, based on 52 weeks in a year, this works out to 156 arch files per year, with each arch file being approximately 100 documents, making a total of 15,600 documents per year. In digital format, every 1000 documents equal about 500MB, so 15,600 documents would be approximately 7,800MB.
  3. The average gross monthly salary of the lawyer(s) working on these cases is S$5,000. Based on a 5-day work week and 21 days annual leave, the average daily rate is $250, and $31.25 per hour.
    Based on the above figures, the annual time savings is between 40 ½ to 73 man days (436-696 man hours), and cost savings in terms of wages is between $13,406.25 to $21,206.25 per year. This doesn’t factor in the potential additional revenue from our lawyers being able to take on more cases on account of the time savings.

The calculations are tabulated below in SGD:

Traditional Paper Methodology Evidence Management / eDiscovery System
Tasks Time Wages Tasks Time Wages
Print/ PDF email with attachment and chronologize 46.8 – 78 man days (374.4-624 hours) $11,700 – $19,500 Ingest PST into EMS (approximately 500 MB documents) 7.8 hours (human supervision needed) $243.75
Converting native files to PDF then OCR-ing 7.8 man days (62.4 hours) $1,950 EMS processing (OCR, deduplication, conversion to PDF) 8 hours

(no human supervision required)

Total 54.6 – 85.8 man days (436.8-686.4 hours) $13,650 – $21,450 Total 16 hours $243.75

More Time For Lawyering

In short, reviewing email evidence on an eDiscovery platform, as compared to reviewing it directly in Outlook (or, in fact, any other email interface) removes the grunt work of the review process, and frees up the lawyer to do what (s)he does best, the lawyering – that is, the analysis of the case, identifying “smoking guns” and devising the case theory and strategy.


, Benefits of Reviewing Emails Using an eDiscovery Platform vs. Outlook

Benefits of Reviewing Emails Using an eDiscovery Platform vs. Outlook

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