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E-Discovery Fact Week Day Four: Examining E-Discovery Data Volumes

Created on July 26, 2018


Marketing Communications & Events Manager at Exterro

E-Discovery Fact Week

Welcome to day four of E-Discovery Fact Week, our online celebration of the importance and value of e-discovery in the legal process, designed to bring awareness of e-discovery to the legal community at large. All week long, we've been tweeting, blogging, and sharing interesting facts about e-discovery for your education and entertainment. E-Discovery Fact Week is part of the larger E-Discovery Day celebration, which last year reached over 2,000 legal professionals at 13 live events and 15 webinars. Today, we'll be sharing facts the amount of data involved in e-discovery matters.

How Much Is a Gigabyte of Data?


A gigabyte can contain anywhere from 15,000 to almost 700,000 pages of data. In its white paper How Many Pages in a Gigabyte?, LexisNexis provides the following approximate figures (among others):

  • Image files: 15,000 pages
  • Microsoft Word files: 65,000 pages
  • Email files: 100,000 pages
  • Text files: 678,000 pages
  • How Many Gigabytes Are in a "Typical" E-Discovery Matter?


    As any e-discovery professional would agree, defining a "typical" matter is a difficult exercise. However, in a 2016 presentation on e-discovery and data analytics, Jay Brudz, Chair of Information Governance and eDiscovery at Drinker Biddle, suggested typical ranges of 

  • 10-15 custodians per matter
  • 5 - 20 GB per custodian
  • Solidly within these ranges, 10 custodians at 10 GB per custodian gives us a nice round number of 100 GB--equivalent to 6.5 million pages of Microsoft Word documents. Using that as a sample typical matter, we can examine what that data volume might look like. The comparisons are illuminating.

    What Does 100 GB of Microsoft Word Documents Equal?


    At 5,000 pages per 10 ream case of paper, that “typical” matter contains 1300 cases of paper worth of data! Some real-world examples of what that looks like include:

  • A stack of paper over 2,150 feet tall, taller than every building in the world except the Burj Khalifa
  • Over 4.2 million square feet of paper, enough to cover over 73 football fields
  • 65,000 pounds (more than 32 tons) of paper, more than 10 African forest elephants weigh
  • More than 130 times the amount of data in your (or any individual's) DNA
  • E-Discovery Data Volumes
    E-Discovery Data Volumes

    We hope you enjoyed today's e-discovery facts. Check back on the blog or Exterro's LinkedIn and Twitter accounts tomorrow for more facts on the biggest court case in e-discovery history, Zubulake v. UBS Warburg.