There are three main reasons why in-house litigation support can’t always cut the mustard: cost, technological capability and risk level. Although e-discovery has come a long way since Zubulake and Morgan Stanley, it takes a sophisticated litigation support team to keep up with this rapidly changing field. For most companies, that means bringing in an outside partner with the right level of expertise to address all three of these common failings.
With all the advances in the electronic discovery industry (not to mention the expansive changes in the technology used for harvesting, storing and examining digital data), organizing and running an effective internal litigation support department is cost-prohibitive even for large enterprises. For small and mid-sized businesses, in-house litigation support is often financially impossible.
Even for companies who can afford the investment, the initial costs don’t take into consideration the high maintenance that follows. Besides the necessary hardware, all staff needs to be specially trained across a variety of disciplines, including how to manage and maintain your new litigation support system. Both hardware and software will need constant updating and monitoring, which means either tying up legal staff with IT duties, or hiring dedicated IT staff to handle legal issues. Neither option is ideal.
Outsourcing relieves the financial burden on your core operations, making the cost of e-discovery far more affordable.
2. Technological Capability
Most firms lack the bandwidth (and resources) required to effectively host online review databases in-house. Similarly, most firms also fail to realize the heavy workload commitment that in-house electronic discovery and review requires. Besides the maintenance, training and support that are absolutely essential, there’s the matter of redundancy, back-ups and uptime to worry about as well. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to developing a comprehensive litigation support team.
Outsourcing litigation support instead means gaining access to an experienced staff who are fully trained in the necessary tech components of effective e-discovery as well as the complex legalities at hand. The issues of producing verifiable data through repeatable, defensible means are already fully realized and understood. Plus, the responsibility of managing the ever-changing technological needs falls into the capable hands of a litigation support team with scalable functionality, allowing them to handle enormous cases as well as small ones at a level of flexibility that’s impractical to achieve in-house.
3. Risk Level
In-house e-discovery is usually carried out by lawyers and forensic investigators who often lack familiarity with the technical aspects of collecting, sorting and preserving electronic data. Alternatively, IT staff who are more well-versed in the technical requirements and procedures at hand are equally unfamiliar with the legalities at stake. Neither prospect is ideal, and both open up your enterprise to a higher level of risk. Complications ranging from miscommunication to data corruption to detrimental loss that costs you your case are increasingly likely when handling these issues in-house.
Outsourcing your electronic discovery needs reduces your vulnerabilities to potential sanctions, security breaches or other issues that could arise during litigation. Plus, you’ll have verifiable expert witnesses on hand to testify to the defensible processes and methods used during the e-discovery process, if the need arises.
A Winning Case
You wouldn’t trust anyone but an expert to deliver vital testimony in your case, so why would you lower your standards when it comes to electronic discovery? Take the responsibilities out of the hands of less experienced in-house staff and trust that a full-time litigation support partner will do a far better job. And, at the same time, they’ll save you money and reduce your vulnerabilities throughout litigation, both in terms of defensibility and producing the evidence you need. Outsourcing your e-discovery instead of struggling to keep up with the changing times in-house means a winning proposition from every angle, and one that will help you win your case.