David & Goliath: Understanding Mid-Sized vs. Large Law Firms’ Needs

Published on August 25, 2023

Luke Riddle

Luke came to the eDiscovery industry straight out of college in a marketing and client education role. Through that process, he developed thought leadership around AI and alternative data sources that ultimately culminated in him speaking at ILTACON on using remote technology within the legal practice. He has also been instrumental on review webinars speaking on the economics of eDiscovery. Currently, Luke is an Account Manager at Acorn where he works with clients to understand how analytics, budgets, and timelines all fit together so that he can create a perfect workflow for their project.

Mid-sized law firms face unique challenges when it comes to eDiscovery. Although they may have eDiscovery-oriented personnel within their team, it can pale in comparison to firms of larger scale. This can create an undue burden that requires significantly more time to complete this phase of litigation. Unfortunately, this is often valuable time that could be deployed elsewhere in the case.  

Due to the growing scale of cases, along with varying caseloads, I focus my expertise on mid-sized law firms’ specific needs when assisting my clients. The key here is understanding that the budgets, timelines, and challenges being faced aren’t one-size-fits-all. A few thousand, or tens of thousands of documents may not seem daunting to some but can create real challenges that we can’t just throw bodies or money at. That’s why I strive to empower my clients to level the playing field and meet the challenges of eDiscovery eye to eye. This can come in a variety of forms but can be seen through pairing firms with industry-leading expertise and developing tailored, cost-effective workflows that will allow them to save both time and money.  

Varying Caseloads 

One of the main differences between mid-sized and larger law firms is the scale of the cases they handle. Large law firms routinely work on high-profile and complex cases that involve vast amounts of data. In contrast, mid-sized firms may handle a diverse range of cases, from small businesses to individual clientele. As a result, their eDiscovery needs vary and require more focus on efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and simplicity.  

The size and scale of a case can have a significant impact on mid-sized law firms’ eDiscovery practices. High volumes of data were once reserved for “larger” case sizes, but we are now seeing that change. Clients and businesses possess more data sources than ever before, all of which may be potentially relevant. In turn, the time required to process, filter, review, and analyze the data is growing as well, potentially impacting the firm’s ability to meet tight deadlines and efficiently allocate resources for other cases.  

To combat this, mid-sized firms require scalable, and more importantly, flexible solutions that can adapt to their variety of caseloads, while still providing superior service and budget-friendliness.  

This may sound like having your cake and eating it too, but it shouldn’t be, and isn’t anymore. Partnerships allow for expertise and technology to be more accessible than ever so that no matter the case, you can have 15+ years of eDiscovery experience and software, like RelativityOne, in your arsenal. 

Less Manpower 

Due to mid-sized firms often having fewer resources and manpower compared to larger firms, this can impact their ability to take on cases with large-scale eDiscovery components. This may result in passing on these cases, clients looking to move to larger firms, or stretching resources thin to try to accommodate the case’s needs. Often, we assist in counteracting this by providing the ability to outsource some aspects of eDiscovery as needed. 

The mid-sized law firms I work with rely on our team’s specialized expertise to manage large volumes of electronic data. By outsourcing their eDiscovery providers, firms can save time and resources, as well as access advanced tools and methodologies that may not be cost-effective to purchase or develop in-house. At Acorn, we strive to understand our client’s unique needs and routinely develop specific custom scripts and workflows to assist mid-sized law firms in even further time savings. One example of this is our Acorn’s eDiscovery BackOffice™ Mass Export Natives solution, which allows users to mass export native files using a common workflow that they are already familiar with. It’s not a flashy-high tech solution on the surface, but it addressed a specific time-consuming need our clients faced every day.  

Partnerships are one way to empower mid-sized law firms to effectively handle complex litigation matters, meet tight deadlines, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Additionally, having access to a team behind you that is dedicated to providing tailored, scalable solutions enables mid-sized law firms to make any matter manageable.  

Access to Technology 

Mid-sized firms may not only have less access to manpower to complete eDiscovery, but also face less access to advanced, or even any, eDiscovery technologies and tools that larger firms use routinely. This could be due to budgetary constraints as the cost of acquiring and maintaining eDiscovery technology can be high. This creates an additional challenge for mid-sized firms, as larger law firms often have dedicated IT departments and allocated budgets that allow them to invest, implement, and justify the expense of advanced eDiscovery tools more easily. Mid-sized firms may also face a mixed client base and a lower volume of eDiscovery-oriented cases, making the need for eDiscovery technology less pressing.  

It is for this reason that Acorn worked with mid-sized law firms to develop our Small Case Solution. The solution allows firms access to eDiscovery technology, like RelativityOne, on a smaller scale and budget, but that can also scale with cases should they grow. This solution makes it easy for mid-sized firms to test eDiscovery technology and see how it can be beneficial for specific cases or practices without large investments upfront. Not every client can take on thousands of dollars in costs, and that shouldn’t be the defining barrier to having access to the technology and expertise that their case needs.   

Final Thoughts 

Due to the unique challenges mid-sized law firms face, our team at Acorn specifically works with firms of this size to address their eDiscovery workflows in an efficient and realistic manner. Collaborating with experts like Acorn can be beneficial for mid-sized firms that don’t have eDiscovery-oriented personnel with experience handling complex eDiscovery matters. As volumes of electronic data involved in legal cases have exceptionally increased, and continue to do so, it has become more challenging to efficiently manage and analyze this information without specialized knowledge. But it shouldn’t be this way, and this is why I specifically focus on firms of this size to ensure that they can wrap their arms around their data and the eDiscovery process. Helping them every step of the way to stand up to Goliath.  

If you have a question about a case or would like to learn more about how to efficiently run your eDiscovery, please feel free to reach out to me at 

About Acorn

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