In-house counsel have another long-term option to reduce e-discovery-related costs: adopting stronger corporate data retention policies.

“Do you want to just treat the symptoms, or do you want to address the underlying causes? What’s causing this mountain of data to be on your systems in the first place?” e-discovery consultant Jeff Beard asks. “When you get down to it, [the causes are] information management and records retention.”

Typically, counsel start their reforms with collection and processing, because that is “low-hanging fruit,” Beard says. But revamping retention policies also can have a big impact. Unfortunately, there will never be an opportunity to just look at one or the other. Beard mentions that counsel must watch over retention and e-discovery “simultaneously and in parallel.”