Need for Expertise Married with Familiarity of Your Data

Published on October 5, 2023

Zef Deda

Zef Deda is a business development manager at Acorn Legal Solutions. An e-discovery thought leader working with Am Law 100 firms and corporate legal departments, Zef plays a key role in leveraging his knowledge of advanced technology and phased project plans in helping clients solve complex issues. Zef positions himself as a collaborative thought partner to ensure the best outcomes through his understanding of his client’s problems, their end goals, and working closely with them to identify and ensure the best possible outcomes.

When choosing an eDiscovery provider, you may find a vendor that seems like an expert in the field, only to find out that as they get into the weeds of your dataset, they lack the real contextual, legal knowledge you are looking for. When working with my clients, I like to explain the three necessary characteristics they should look out for from their eDiscovery project managers to ensure they are not only getting the expertise they need, but also the familiarity with their dataset that is an important coupling for any eDiscovery project. 

1. Credible Staff 

As you browse the defining characteristics of each eDiscovery provider, they may tout their expertise, but it’s important to confirm that this expertise can be backed with credentials. Check that these project managers are credited in their eDiscovery technology so that you know you are working with experts whose skills are proven. At Acorn, our team is exclusively RelativityOne certified administrators, experts, and masters. Not only is our staff credible, but you get that expertise married with familiarity of the dataset of your case. 

2. Familiarity of Dataset 

While it’s crucial for law firms to leverage the vendor’s expertise to gain insights and make informed decisions, you will also need a vendor with familiarity of their dataset to ensure accurate and reliable data analysis and avoid potential biases. A vendor with familiarity of the dataset can better understand the nuances of the data and provide more accurate and relevant results. It is important to ensure that your vendor isn’t simply completing the eDiscovery work without checking that all the responsive data has been collected. In eDiscovery, it can be easy to miss crucial data if you are simply going through the motions without taking the time to understand what data is present.  

At Acorn, it is necessary for us to hold scoping calls with our clients to truly understand their case and the results they would like to achieve with their discovery. Since our team is staffed exclusively by JDs and Relativity masters, they have a greater understanding of legal data and the tools that can be applied for each specific case. There is no “one size fits all” for eDiscovery, and each case has its own specific needs. Seeking a vendor that takes a personalized approach to get familiar with the data that is present can not only assist you in finding the data you need but make this process a seamless part of a complex litigation. 

3. Contextual Knowledge 

We’ve covered the importance of having a credible staff with familiarity of your dataset, but the final piece of the puzzle involves having contextual knowledge of the data. This involves understanding what data is present and a general background of the case. A vendor without contextual knowledge of the dataset is like the stint of Michael Jordan playing baseball. Without real contextual knowledge, he was unable to excel in the sport, despite being a professional athlete. This can be the same scenario with eDiscovery providers. eDiscovery requires an immense amount of training and understanding that can take years to fully grasp the best practices and tools for every matter. It is not something that can be easily jumped into without any real training.  

This contextual knowledge of the workflows, tools, and technologies can overcome many of the challenges firms may face in eDiscovery. Even though your vendor may be an athlete, it’s important that they have the specific knowledge and background required of the sport. In eDiscovery, there isn’t room for errors when you are dealing with sensitive client data, and the training required to excel in this field should not be overlooked.  

Final Thoughts 

We all know that Michael Jordan exceled in basketball, and this is what we must look for when looking for an eDiscovery provider. You don’t want an athlete who can’t play the sport you’re looking for. It just doesn’t work. All of the layers for that specific sport are needed – credentials, familiarity, and contextual knowledge are all important. Be sure to look beyond the buzzwords you may find when looking for eDiscovery work. I recommend that all my clients do the extra digging that will save them both time and stress by finding a vendor that can accommodate every facet of the eDiscovery process.