eDiscovery is an essential component of litigation, but this phase of discovery has become increasingly complicated as the amount of electronic data and data sources continues to skyrocket in growth year over year. Often, firms may not have the bandwidth or the expertise to handle eDiscovery in-house. Due to these factors, eDiscovery partners have become very common and can be relied upon to handle the large amounts of data needed for litigation.
eDiscovery partners can provide crucial support through the different phases of the discovery process, starting at collection through review, production, and case completion. An eDiscovery partner will also be able to assist you at the beginning of the matter to develop a targeted strategy and workflow with defined goals and budget. This creates not only a seamless, defined, and understood process allowing your case team to work collaboratively with your eDiscovery partner.
It may be overwhelming to choose between an eDiscovery partner out of the many options available today, and there are a few important metrics to take into account when evaluating and deciding on which partner works best for you. The choice of an eDiscovery partner can have a significant impact on the success (and cost) of your case, so it is essential to hire someone you can trust, particularly since you are dealing with sensitive client data.
1) Level of Customer Support
eDiscovery isn’t always simple and clear-cut, which is why it’s necessary to work with a Project Manager who provides dedicated support from the beginning to the end of your case. When looking for an eDiscovery partner, find out whether you will have a direct and consistent point of contact throughout your case. Does the partner pride themselves on being customer-focused? Do they not only provide technical eDiscovery services but also provide insights and consulting?
The technical experience of a project manager is just one piece of finding the right eDiscovery partner. Ensure that you will be working with a dedicated project manager who is available to you and understands the overarching goals of the case and works in collaboration with your team to develop the most efficient and cost-effective workflows for each matter.
2) Capabilities & Expertise
There is a tremendous level of experience required to understand complex eDiscovery software and workflows. When you are searching for an eDiscovery partner, check the years of experience the current project managers on the team possess. Do they have the technical acumen required to successfully handle all the phases of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM)? Has the team attained certifications as an expert or master in their current technology platform and do they hold related eDiscovery certifications? For example, if the provider uses RelativityOne, are their project managers Relativity Experts or Relativity Masters?
The technical knowledge of a project manager will likely determine the quality of work with a chosen eDiscovery partner. Not only should your eDiscovery partner have the technical capabilities to complete the phases of eDiscovery, but it’s also important they have the expertise to produce superior outcomes for your case.
3) Service Offerings
Before choosing an eDiscovery partner, you must determine their scope of services and if the services they offer meet your needs. Whether you require assistance with litigation support, consulting, collection, hosting, review, production, or managed review, doing some research into the partner’s service lines is a simple and quick step to ensure the partner has an understanding of your needs and can successfully execute a plan.
4) Technology Offerings
Now that you have determined whether an eDiscovery partner is both capable in the field and provides the services you need, it is imperative to understand the technology they offer. With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly common and the expansion of data privacy laws, data security concerns are at the forefront of many firms’ and corporations’ minds. Evaluating partners and their technology solutions to meet or exceed industry security standards is essential.
Once you understand the technology the company uses, determine whether it is reliable, secure, and exceeds industry standards.
5) Agile and Scalable
Your project manager should be closely involved in your case so that if your case grows, they can adjust your workflow accordingly. For example, Acorn developed our Small Case Solution for this exact reason. In RelativityOne we created a solution that is designed for cases with small data volumes. Our Small Case Solution allows our clients to have a fixed price for cases that are on the smaller side.
Using the Small Case Solution has allowed our clients to have a very cost-effective option to preemptively evaluate and work on their cases. If the case increases in scope, all of that initial work product is retained and we can easily scale to a larger case without any loss of work product. A case’s scope can abruptly change and there really isn’t a “one size fits all” scenario. It’s important to ensure your eDiscovery partner has solutions customized to your specific case needs.
Find the Right Partner for You
Since eDiscovery is such an important aspect of litigation, taking the time to evaluate potential eDiscovery partners can ensure that your unique needs are met and successful outcomes achieved. Determining the capabilities of the software and services and the level of expertise of your potential eDiscovery partner can start you off on the right foot toward a successful resolution of your cases. Clearly articulating your goals, expectations, and the services you need will help you find an eDiscovery partner that is the right fit.
Acorn is a legal data consulting firm that specializes in AI and Advanced Analytics for litigation applications, while providing rigorous customer service to the eDiscovery industry. Acorn primarily works with large regional, midsize national and boutique litigation firms. Acorn provides a high-touch, customized litigation support services with a heavy emphasis on seamless communications. For more information, please visit www.acornls.com.