David J. Kearney

April 12, 2011

e-Discovery/Litigation Support: In-house, Outsourced, or Both for Small to Mid-Size Law Firms?

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Uncategorized — David J. Kearney @ 1:14 pm

Cloud services.  Do more with less.  Scalability.  Run lean.  Cut costs.

e-Discovery/Litigation Support: In-house, Outsourced, or Both for Small to Mid-Size Law Firms?

April 12, 2011

Cloud services.  Do more with less.  Scalability.  Run lean.  Cut costs.

From solo practitioners to firms with up to a couple hundred attorneys that regularly try litigation matters, not all of those in practice have the resources of BigLaw.  To support even the “small” cases with minimal electronic discovery in-house requires access to resources that include personnel, technical, management, and understanding the processes and protocols required when dealing with the requirements of the FRCP.

Having on premise personnel, servers, storage, processing software, review software, backups, to prepare & import discovery on-site can range from thousands to tens-of-thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Depending upon the expectations of in-house personnel to manage the systems, processing, loading, exporting, producing, vendor management, etc. may require a single full-time individual or many.  The skill set of these individuals requires sound technology skills and, at least, a minimal understanding of the litigation life-cycle, and a great appreciation for the urgency of the litigation process.  The salary range for these individuals can range from $60,000 – $100,000+.

The technical infrastructure to house the electronic discovery may require a server environment, storage capacity to house the electronic data, processing software (if any electronic data will be processed in-house), review software to view, tag, mark-up, and produce discovery, a backup mechanism to restore the data and related coding in the event of a disaster, and any wide area network capacity to host/access the data remotely can easily add up to a couple hundred thousand dollars.

With the growth, reliability, and functionality of cloud-based services and as the number of service providers that are experts in e-Discovery and related technology increase, an alternative to having dedicated e-Discovery Specialists/Litigation Support Analysts and technical resources available may be to utilize a service provider to handle the collection, processing, hosting, support, training, producing, and archiving of electronic discovery databases.   Just think…no dedicated support personnel needed, no expensive technology to purchase and manage, easier cost recovery, and volume pricing.  As lawyers and paralegals become more technology proficient, the case support could be managed primarily between the legal team and the technology provider.

I am wondering if utilizing a full-service provider or a service bureau with partners that can work together to create a seemless process with a full featured application stack with a predictable cost structure is a better alternative to trying to build it, just for no one to show up?

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