eDiscovery: When Does Partnering with an Outside Vendor Make Sense?


When it comes to managing eDiscovery, what’s keeping lawyers up at night? One-quarter of lawyers surveyed for Robert Half Legal's Future Law Office research said volume of data was their greatest eDiscovery challenge, and 19 percent pointed to inadequate technology.

I’m often asked for my opinion on when it makes sense to tackle requests in-house, versus outsourcing this resource-intensive task to a capable third-party service provider. Here are five suggestions to help you consider whether to outsource your eDiscovery process.

1. What are you trying to find? Do you have the staff and infrastructure you need?

How many documents need to be reviewed? What types of documents will your attorneys be reviewing? Do you have the means to invest in the necessary infrastructure and the expertise on your team to tackle the job, on deadline? Or would it be better to utilize an outside eDiscovery vendor, who can work faster and save money?

2. Working on a small case? Going it alone might be easier

If you opt for managing eDiscovery in-house, consider the costs associated with the necessary technology and staff training to extract the maximum benefit. Look for software companies with track records of supporting their clients with the use of their technology over the long haul. Remember that with technology, one size does not fit all cases — also be prepared to educate your staff about rapidly changing eDiscovery matters.

3. With larger, more complex cases, you may want help

When dealing with larger caches of data, it may end up costing more money to try to manage the project on your own. If you can’t scale up your infrastructure in-house, many larger eDiscovery firms have at their disposal specialized data processing, project management and customized consulting solutions to deliver superior results during your review. Furthermore, larger eDiscovery firms may have expertise in specialized areas such as processing government or medical data.

4. Consider potential security issues

A common perception is that if you keep your information in-house, it will be more secure. In reality, however, firms and companies are susceptible to data security breaches. Be sure to thoroughly scrutinize your vendor’s security history and read up on their profile in news media and trade publications before signing service agreements.

5. Explore partnering with an eDiscovery services vendor

There is a tipping point for every law firm partner or corporate counsel when it becomes apparent that the volume of eDiscovery data eclipses your in-house resources. If you’re unsure of the value or likelihood of success of scaling up your technology and your team’s skill set to handle the eDiscovery process, allow a trusted vendor to do the heavy lifting, and free up your attorneys to focus on the review and strategy-building for the case at hand.

Ready to consider outsourcing eDiscovery? Robert Half Legal’s eDiscovery solutions can provide predictable, transparent and cost-effective results for clients across industries and markets. We’ve also published a guide, Future Law Office: Overcoming the eDiscovery Challenge, to help law firms and legal departments better understand and manage eDiscovery and its associated risks.


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Tags: eDiscovery