Document review is an essential part of eDiscovery, a process that can often demand a great deal of time, money and other resources. The requirements can be particularly challenging for small law firms or legal departments of smaller companies. To streamline the process, many smaller departments turn to outside eDiscovery vendors.
At larger firms and corporate legal departments, the litigation support manager or a senior paralegal often manages the decision-making process for choosing the right vendor. At smaller firms, however, lead associates or sometimes general counsel are tasked with making the choice.
No matter who is in charge of the selection process, it’s essential that they ask the right questions, so they can pinpoint the best eDiscovery vendor for their unique needs. To identify the most important questions, we talked to Sunny Sanghani, Robert Half Legal’s associate director for eDiscovery, managed review, and consulting services. Here are four essential questions to ask before you hire an eDiscovery vendor for document review:
1. How will you handle my case requests?
This point is particularly important for small firms looking to host their first review. “Small firms should ask whether they’ll be interacting with a partner who actually understands the process, or working with a ticketing system that just completes tasks,” Sanghani says. The vendor’s answer to this question is key, because many smaller firms will need comprehensive, one-on-one support throughout the entire document-review process.
2. How is my data being secured?
The safety of sensitive and confidential data is always crucial for law firms and legal departments. So it’s essential to ask the vendor how your data will be secured both while it’s being stored and when it’s in transit. Once you hire a vendor, you should also establish confidentiality and data-security safeguards by requiring the vendor to sign airtight confidentiality agreements.
3. Can you send me some references?
One of the quickest ways to determine the quality of an eDiscovery vendor is to speak with other firms and organizations that have used their services. Request a list of references from each vendor, and contact these companies for a quick interview. Ask whether they’ve been satisfied with the vendor’s overall performance, attention to detail, customer service, pricing and response time.
4. What is your pricing structure?
It’s important to ask about an eDiscovery vendor’s costs as early in the process as possible. However, don’t simply ask for a ballpark estimate. You're looking for full cost transparency. Sanghani recommends you ask specific pricing questions, such as: How detailed is the billing for hourly line items and per-unit costs? What can I expect to pay for these per project? How often will my rates be updated to reflect market availability and our needs?
Although it’s an additional expense, hiring an eDiscovery document review vendor can save you a significant amount of time and money in the long run, especially if you look for vendors that offer eDiscovery solutions that can be tailored to your company's needs. External companies provide trained staff, facilities, equipment and expertise that will slash the overall time and cost of document review.
Have you hired document review vendors? Share your experience below.