Investing in E-Discovery Versus Showing it the Door

, The Legal Intelligencer


Concordance and Summation are two words familiar through the halls of nearly every large law firm in the country. They are two of the most commonly used early platforms for managing basic, electronic data coming in and out of law firms.

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What's being said

  • John Connor

    Mr. Losey and Ms. Blair are both incorrect. First, relying upon one vendor for a national or international law firm is usually only efficacious for the bean counter from the home office who sourced the exclusive contract. Hamstringing your entire firm to work under one vendors practices and procedures is like fitting a round peg into a square hole and engenders many unhappy lawyers/support staff with an inevitable effect on their clients. At recent panels the consensus from law firms and corporate counsel is that the best approach is to have at least two approved vendors the firm has vetted from which individual lawyers or practice groups can choose. In contrast to Mr. Losey's opinion this actually produces the highest cost savings as firms compete against each other PLUS must maintain high quality in order to retain business. In a single vendor model the only incentive for quality is when the contract is up for renewal. Firms like Paul Hastings have confirmed this practice by cancelling their exclusive arrangement with Kroll in favor of multiple approved vendors.

    Second, Law firm insourcing/horizontal integration may seem profitable in the short term but client pressure plus defensibility will inevitably change this practice. Law firms have gone through the same cycle when photocopying was introduced and again when document scanning to CD became prevalent. Because e-discovery is currently more technical, law firms view this as an acceptable compliment to their practice. Clients will eventually ask them whether they are in the practice of providing legal service or litigation support services instead. Further, most firms that tried bringing e-discovery in house have since abandoned this practice and begun outsourcing again. Morgan, WilmerHale, Foley and the few others to stubbornly retain this profit center idea will likely change in the future.

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