We are in the midst of yet another paradigm shift in e-discovery, one in which corporate legal departments – especially those supporting companies involved in frequent or repetitive litigation and investigative matters – are more critically assessing cost structure optimization and looking for ways to create efficiencies in e-discovery.
Many corporate legal teams today are exploring the “shared services” approach, which combines insourcing and outsourcing based on cost and resource optimization. Much like the IT managed-services model, in an e-discovery context this means outsourcing day-to-day tasks, processes, workflow, project management – and even the technology itself – to partners that work as an extension of the legal team. I explored this trend in greater detail in a recent Metropolitan Corporate Counsel article.
As noted in the article, under the shared services model, the corporate legal department maintains management responsibility for the e-discovery function, leveraging internal resources, including existing personnel and technology, and outsourcing other areas to allow them to scale up or down quickly without making permanent investments in resources.
A more consistent approach creates defensibility and avoids potential pitfalls in e-discovery. Since many corporations rely on hundreds of outside law firms, to ensure a consistent approach across matters, the processes themselves—which we call the e-discovery “rules of engagement”—should be driven from within the corporation. The shared services approach allows clients to control these e-discovery “rules” without having to invest in additional people, hardware, software or support to achieve a defensible e-discovery approach.
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