When Pfizer Inc. began putting together an e-discovery strategy in 2003, it didn't have many models to follow.
"At the time, there was very limited e-discovery going on," says Laura Kibbe, senior counsel at Pfizer. "To the extent it was happening, parties would just use a simple exchange of keywords to search through relatively low volumes of data."
Using keyword searches, the lawyer makes educated guesses as to what terms are likely to retrieve the relevant data. In order not to miss any relevant material, the search has to cast a pretty wide net. Therefore they may choose words such as "harassment" and "sex," which are likely to retrieve loads of irrelevant documents and may miss the more subtle responsive documents, too.
Although provider fees aren't cheap, Kibbe believes their results make financial sense.
"Where I save money is not by sending 10 documents for review to find out only three are relevant," she says. "It's when I'm sending 10 documents into the review room with seven or eight coming out responsive. That's clearly more cost effective."