Canada: Which E-Discovery Tool At What Cost?

Last Updated: March 26 2014
Article by Kelly Friedman

I am "tool agnostic." Are you?

The market for e-discovery services is in constant flux. Technology changes literally by the minute, mergers, acquisitions and business failures occur among e-discovery service providers at an alarming rate, and best practices and standards are ever-evolving. In this environment, I believe that it is in my clients' interest to be tool agnostic.

Different Tools for Different E-Discovery Projects

By tool agnostic, I mean that, instead of using one tool for each project, I find the optimal solution for the particular project at hand. I look at each project, decide the functionality the client needs from an e-discovery tool, and negotiate with a service provider to provide me with access to that tool, and their server space for hosting our client's data, at the best price. There are several key variables that affect the recommended tool and the cost of using that tool.

The Top Three Variables for Choosing an E-Discovery Tool

Here are the top three variables which underlie my thought-process for choosing an e-discovery tool:

  1. The Volume of Data Involved

Currently, the most prevalent pricing model used by e-discovery service providers is per-gigabyte pricing. For each gigabyte, there will be a fee to process the data (get it into a form that you can read it) and a monthly hosting fee. I have seen prices for processing and prices for hosting (per month charges) each range from $25/gigabyte to $400/gigabyte. There is no consistency in the industry. Vendors can low-ball the per-gigabyte processing fee but raise the monthly hosting fee, or vice versa. There are also other fees, such as licensing, consulting or project management fees, in which costs can be buried. Regardless of the particular pricing method used, more data means higher overall cost for services (although you will be able to negotiate a lower per-gigabyte cost for processing and hosting for a large project).

[Note: One gigabyte of electronic data can be equated to approximately 75,000 pages, or a van filled with paper. A DVD usually holds about 4.7 gigabytes, the equivalent of approximately 350,000 pages.]

  1. The Type of Data Involved

There is no one-size-fits-all in e-discovery. If the data has been grabbed from the client's system without focus on the type of data or specific issues in the case, then you need a good culling tool that will help you to quickly sort through the garbage to find the potential relevant data for detailed review. If the data is mainly in the form of e-mails, then you need a tool that can put your e-mail strings together so that you can make sense of conversations and connections between the players and avoid reading the same e-mail numerous times. If the data contains digital voicemail messages, you need a tool to allow you to search, sort and listen to these. If you have many different forms of data, in several languages, then you need a sophisticated tool with translation capabilities to allow you to sift through the data before commencing detailed language-specific review. If the data has come from a proprietary software application, you may in fact require the client to give you access to that particular application before you can review the data.

  1. What Needs to Be Done with the Data

If the data simply needs to be kept, but not reviewed, there are inexpensive ways to archive the data. If the data needs to be reviewed to pinpoint specific documents sought in an investigation, then a tool with good searching capabilities is very important. If there is a large volume of data which has to be reviewed and tagged for relevance and privilege, then functionality which allows you to cluster and prioritize data based on type and content is needed.

One thing is certain – Unless the volume of data is very small (probably less than two gigabytes), then it will be in the client's interest to pay for counsel to use a proper review tool to review the data, because opening one document at a time in sequence will not be cost-effective (the fees even for the lowest-priced students or contract lawyers adds up quickly during a review). Just think about the good old days when a box of paper was put in front of you and you had to make sense of it. How much time could you have saved if you had just one copy of each document and they were organized, in order by date, topic, players involved, or any other criteria that suited your thought process? Nowadays, we receive warehouses full of documents, in electronic form. It is simply too costly for our clients if we try to review these documents as if they were paper, one and a time, one after another, in whatever order they might be found.

Other Variables

These are just the top three variables affecting my recommendation for an e-discovery tool. There are other variables, including the timeline for the project, the number and location of users who have to review the documents, and the form of production agreed upon or required by the court or regulator. Upfront analysis considering the set of data and needs will save time and money and let you efficiently get to the heart of the matter.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.