Three Things That Actually Set eDiscovery Providers Apart

Published on July 2, 2020

Keith Wilson

As a transplant from eDiscovery software to eDiscovery service, Keith brings a deep understanding of automation to eDiscovery process design. He has worked with Fortune 500 and AmLaw 100 clients to gain efficiencies in the redaction process and alternative eDiscovery workflows.

For those of you that don’t know my background, I started off in eDiscovery technology sales and switched over to services when I joined the Acorn team. When I was on the technology side of the business, I thought that all Relativity service providers in this space were essentially the same. The only differences were the people and the eDiscovery software to which they had access. The longer I’ve been in the services side of the business, the more I realized that while service providers may seem the same, there are three key factors that actually set them apart.

Finding the Correct Type of Vendor

When I was on the tech side of eDiscovery, clients finding the correct type of service provider is something that seemed particularly relevant when it came to international cases. There were corporations that would only focus on which service providers had our product and had locations in multiple countries where the corporation also had offices. The more I have been on the services side, the more I realized that finding the correct match matters. Besides international vendors, a lot of vendors will concentrate on infrastructure as a service or specialize in assisting corporations in general, while others concentrate solely on AM100 law firms or Fortune 500 corporations. The reason why it’s important to know this, is their standard operating procedures and workflows are designed with this type of customer in mind.

At Acorn, we are built from the ground up to be the outsourced litigations support team for regional powerhouse law firms and national mid-sized firms. This includes everything from our invoicing procedures, to the technologies we utilized, to the workflows we implement. Acorn understands that this group is often going against AM100 firms, but they don’t have the same resources that their competitors might have. That is where Acorn comes in to bridge that gap and provide our clients with the same, if not better, arsenal of tools and services at their disposal.

Finding the Correct Type of Vendor

When moving from technology to services, I knew that quality project managers were essentially. Part of the reason I chose Acorn over some of the other offers that I had, is because I believed in their project managers so much. What I initially overlooked, but realized is very important, is matching the correct project manager to the client. One reason why this is so important is matching personalities. Any client is going to have a better experience if they can personally connect to the people that they work with. This isn’t saying that not everyone in this industry is likable, its more about knowing which personalities will mesh best together. It’s also my job and the job of the project manager to know what the possible technologies are that can best serve the client and will be beneficial in the future to help with common issues the firm faces. When it comes to using technology, experience matters, and I want my customers to have the best possible experience.

Knowing Your Customers

Having the whole team know your clients is an important part of providing good customer service. For service providers to be successful, they must know their biggest clients inside and out. What I’ve noticed since switching over is that there are a lot of large firms and corporations that aren’t their vendors biggest client. In a post article, there were several comments on how leadership in some organizations put an emphasis on efficiency instead of customer service. Unfortunately, this efficiency can lead to clients having different project managers and people working on their cases for every case. It becomes hard to know your client if you only have them for one case. This is the main reason why we have dedicated project managers for our clients. Having myself and the project manager truly understand the client’s needs, personalities, preferences, and power structure allows us to provide better service.

Concluding Thoughts

This all seems straightforward in concept, but the challenge is putting it to practice consistently with good execution. So, as you contemplate relationships with eDiscovery vendors, you might want to ask questions like: How do you evaluate project managers’ technical and client-facing skills during recruiting? What sort of on-going education programs do you offer your project managers and business development managers? Does your vendor have integrated service delivery processes for technical, client management and accounting teams? What sort of on-going education program does your vendor offer your clients? Does your vendor have standard operating procedures around management of the entire project portfolio with you, in addition to each individual project? Where do you rank in importance as a client for your vendor?


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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