New Metrics Reveal Dichotomy in ediscovery Market – Technology Reduces the Number of Data Custodians, While Big Data Drives up Overall Case Data Volumes

Current Pulse Benchmarks released

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Despite the barrage of email and other electronic documents that define business practices today, litigating parties are leveraging technology to reduce custodian counts contained in ediscovery review databases. Yet, Kroll Ontrack's recent Pulse Benchmarks reveal that Big Data is driving up data volumes per custodian, resulting in an overall increase in case data sizes.

According to the October 2014 Pulse Benchmarks, the average number of source gigabytes per ediscovery project is 479, up from 417 in the previous year. At the same time, the average custodian counts per case have declined approximately 25 percent. These statistics are based on an aggregation and normalization of data from thousands of Kroll Ontrack-handled matters over a six-year span.

“As this year’s Pulse Benchmarks reveal, Big Data is challenging conventional ediscovery practices, as litigating parties find their big cases are only getting bigger,” said Michele Lange, director, Kroll Ontrack. “It is now more important than ever that corporations and their legal counsel leverage cutting-edge technology, such as predictive coding and analytics, to control ever-expanding data volumes.”

This year’s Pulse Benchmarks further revealed the following trends:

Types of Source Media: Since 2008, the majority of data transmitted for processing has transitioned from backup tape, CD/DVD or hard drives to predominantly Electronic File Transfer (also known as FTP). In 2013, 54 percent was provided via Electronic File Transfer (also known as FTP) versus 34 percent in 2012.

Average Number of Custodians per Project: Cost-conscious litigants are leveraging new collection methods and advanced pre-filtering technologies to make more effective custodian selections sooner. The result is non-essential custodians are being excluded prior to review, with the average number of custodians per project dropping from 65 in 2008 to just 16 in 2013.

Percentage of Data that is Email: While the volume of unstructured data and the complexity of data stores proliferate, email remains the dominant data form for ediscovery. However, in 2013, there was a decline in the percentage of email processed for the first time in five years, with the average percentage of email processed dropping from 66 percent in 2012 to just 54 percent in 2013.

Reviewers per Project: Modern filtering and powerful review technologies have caused the number of reviewers required per ediscovery project to drop significantly in the last four years. In 2013, there was an average of 15 reviewers per projects – less than half the number in 2010.

Produced GBs: The average volume of data contained in a discovery production set is still on the decline. The average amount of produced data dropped from 100 GBs in 2008 to 30 GBs in 2013, which is a 70 percent decrease. Pulse is the destination for up-to-date ediscovery metrics and insights. Kroll Ontrack has benchmark data dating back to 2008, including metrics from thousands of ediscovery projects that show key trends to help practitioners plan and execute their projects. The insights provided by Pulse Benchmarks reveal information about ediscovery project trends over time without divulging client specific information.

In addition to the Pulse Benchmarks, Pulse features industry relevant articles and blogs, case law summaries, an interactive ediscovery rules and statutes map, real-time polls and a social feed. To view Pulse in its entirety, visit:

About Kroll Ontrack Inc.

Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyze, and produce data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, electronic discovery and document review. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: or follow @KrollOntrack on Twitter.


Kroll Ontrack Inc.
Kaitlin Shinkle, 952-516-3581

Release Summary

New Kroll Ontrack metrics reveal dichotomy in ediscovery market – technology reduces the number of data custodians, while Big Data drives up overall case data volumes


Kroll Ontrack Inc.
Kaitlin Shinkle, 952-516-3581