Metrics that Matter: Van Halen, M&Ms and Measurement in E-Discovery

January 22, 2015

Gibson Dunn partner Gareth Evans is the co-author, with David Grant, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting Technology, of the following White Paper which appears in the current issues of Inside Counsel Magazine and General Counsel Magazine.

Metrics that Matter: Van Halen, M&Ms and Measurement in E-Discovery (click on link)

In addition to discussing how Van Halen used a provision in its tour rider requiring a bowl of M&Ms in the dressing room with all the brown M&Ms removed to test whether its detailed instructions for its stage, sound and light equipment were being followed, the White Paper discusses key metrics that can be used in document search and review: Prevalence, Recall, Precision, Depth for Recall, Confidence Level and Confidence Interval.

With a few quick calculations, it’s possible both to have effective statistical arguments for minimizing the burden of discovery, and also to understand whether you are on the right track or need to revisit earlier steps for quality analysis.  Doing so is increasingly important as large document volumes are changing the approaches litigants must take if they wish to avoid being overwhelmed with e-discovery burden and expense.

In short, using the right metrics can help ensure defensibility and cost-effectiveness.


Based in the firm’s Orange County office, Mr. Evans is a founder and co-chair of the firm’s Electronic Discovery and Information Law Practice Group.  His practice focuses on complex business litigation, information technology and data privacy, and electronic discovery.

The Electronic Discovery and Information Law Group regularly consults on litigation matters (both being handled by Gibson Dunn and by other counsel) regarding the effective use of technology–such as analytics and predictive coding–to achieve cost savings and to expedite document search and review in matters involving large volumes of documents.  The group also assists clients and litigation teams in all aspects of the e-discovery process, including appropriate and cost-effective preservation (legal holds), retention of e-discovery service providers, and search and review strategies.

© 2015.  Reprinted with permission from FTI Consulting Technology LLC.