To do or not to do – that is the question.
In the midst of increasing financial pressure, the severity of which has not been seen in generations, clients are fighting back when it comes to their legal bills. As a result, revenues in law firms are being impacted and many firms must now reflect on various aspects of their practice areas. One such area of self-reflection surrounds evaluating whether now is the time to invest or divest when it comes to internal eDiscovery services and personnel. The arguments for and against internalizing eDiscovery services are numerous and both sides have validity. In fact, some firms have made the commitment to do it, and they should be applauded for the willingness to gamble on the issue, as should those who have decided the eDiscovery market is simply not what they want to do. This blog is directed towards the others who are midway through the reflective period and are trying to decide one way or another.
The reality is that eDiscovery is not something that legal professionals can (or at least should) do part-time. It is as specialized an area of law as intellectual property, antitrust litigation, or medical malpractice. It requires an investment of time and resources in order to be proficient in the case law, the technology, and the work flows. Even lawyers who feel more at home in depositions, pre-trial motion practice and prepping for closing arguments are finding their time being dominated by eDiscovery issues – whether they are interested in the topic or not. The obvious problem is that the litigator who is forced to be the subject matter expert in the case, and split his or her time as the eDiscovery expert in the case loses some of the efficiencies the client hopes to obtain. When we do everything well, we may not do anything excellently.
Undoubtedly, there are some in the legal system that are already handling eDiscovery through their internal resources very well. Without being exhaustive firms like Wilmer Hale, Fulbright & Jaworski and Morgan Lewis jump to mind as firms that have made the investment to be proficient in eDiscovery and use the best technologies available to aide in their efforts. In order to make this work though, it required a significant investment in people, processes, and technology. But not all firms are equipped to make this investment, and even if they could there are legitimate concerns about making the investment now to build these types of internal resources when the future of the legal market is so uncertain. As a result, other options for dealing with components of the eDiscovery process have emerged.
For instance, Hudson Legal offers end-to-end eDiscovery solutions and managed review to eliminate the need for law firms to directly handle various aspects of the eDiscovery process. Hudson Legal is a Recommind Certified Predictive Coding Partner, and by utilizing Recommind’s Axcelerate On-Demand solution with their own highly trained team of document reviewers, clients will benefit from cost effective access to a team of experts trained in the most efficient document review methodology available. Hudson Legal provides firms and clients an efficient way to deal with the eDiscovery process, and does not require the capital investment that would be required should the firm try to do it all in house.
But there is yet another option for those contemplating whether they should get in the eDiscovery waters, or whether it is better to leave those document reviews for someone else to handle. Obviously, some companies do not want to (or are not financially prepared to) make the investment that those previously firms made. Equally as obvious, other firms do not want to let a vital part of the case slip to an outside company who might be able to permanently displace the firm. These firms should strongly consider Axcelerate On-Demand. Axcelerate On-Demand gives you the power of predictive coding when you need it, access to Recommind’s best-of-breed technologies and advanced analytics, and workflows designed to streamline the review process. The best part: there is no need to host sensitive data on your own servers, and no software to keep up to date and maintained. This solution allows any size firm to compete in the market and level the playing field when it comes to eDiscovery.
The market for legal services is changing rapidly, and how legal services will be delivered over the coming years will continue to evolve rapidly as well. These decisions about outsourcing, insourcing, automating, etc. aspects of the legal process will continue to confront legal service providers and the clients they serve. Law firms particularly stand at a crossroad and must now evaluate which direction is right for them. No matter which decision is made, firms must no longer take a “we’ll try” approach. Instead, your firm must decide whether it will or will not when it comes to eDiscovery.