In-House Counsel Delivering Poor Marks on eDiscovery, and for Good Reason

The eDiscovery industry has been met by a variety of frustrations from nearly every sector since its inception, and many of the bad feelings toward the players in the sector are well founded. Many litigation solutions firms either unwittingly or purposefully cause extraordinarily high costs for their services, and this has led to bad blood in enterprises and law firms around the world.
However, it simply does not have to be like this, and it is unacceptable that some are ruining the experience for so many executives.

Survey brings preconceived notions to light

New England In-House reported that a new survey revealed that in-house counsel are giving poor reviews for their outside counsel in handling and managing eDiscovery. According to the survey from a Boston-based consulting firm, nearly 60 percent of respondents graded their experiences with their outside counsel at a 6 or lower on a scale of 1 to 10. Poor planning, ineffective strategies, a lack of expertise and high costs were among the most cited frustrations by in-house lawyers. In the report, Jamison J. Barr, general counsel at Jenzbar in Cambridge, said “law firms could generate new business opportunities if they could only position themselves more effectively as e-discovery experts.”

Like it or not, eDiscovery will continue to expand, as data grows at a rapid rate and more companies are faced with requests for electronically stored information (ESI) every year. Luckily, there are firms out there who take their profession seriously, and work to partner with their clients to provide the best services at the lowest possible costs.

Identifying and quelling the problem

The most common issue apparent in poor experiences with eDiscovery is poor planning, either the result of incendiary or ignorant decision-making and lack of expertise. For example, some suggest in bringing specialized ESI attorneys to assist with eDiscovery. ESI attorney’s can be helpful and certainly they add another layer of billable hours but adding additional attorney’s does not necessarily solve the issue of collecting data off a corporation’s subversion server.

Ask yourself this question? When working on criminal case does the lawyer become a forensic expert and tell the medical examiner how they should examine a body or tell the police how they should investigate a crime scene? The answer is obviously no. Law Firms should focus on being experts in reviewing the evidence that is presented to them to best litigate on behalf of their clients.

The End Result

Corporations should partner with a managed services company that provides eDiscovery Managed Services expertise in order to best provide services for the enterprise and their outside counsel. Companies benefit from choosing a litigation solutions provider that throws technical experts at technical problems, not attorneys into situations in which they could never possibly succeed.