By Kevin Brooks, Managing Partner, TERIS, Northern California
You may believe that litigation support management is better left to your outside counsel. And in some situations, this may be true. However, in many cases your law firm could be costing you time and money, as well as affecting case outcome. Law firms are experts in the law, but very few have the resources and data expertise to manage your litigation lifecycle properly.
This is why a growing number of corporations are bypassing their outside counsel and contacting TERIS directly to handle sensitive services such as eDiscovery, document review and digital forensics. As new case law brings the importance of eDiscovery into the spotlight, more and more companies are discovering that it is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid sanctions by working directly with a knowledgeable data expert.
When a litigation support provider works directly with the corporation, the provider can serve as an effective conduit for both the corporation and the law firm. The provider may even work with a number of different outside counsels, serving as the primary contact for the corporation.
Additionally, many law firms, as well as some vendors, still use one single platform to handle data. A knowledgeable and technologically adept litigation support provider realizes that the one-size-fits-all approach is inadequate and, instead, offers multiple solutions to fit different case and data needs.
Ten important reasons why you should hire a litigation support vendor directly:
Cost and Expense Forecast – Consult directly with data experts to more accurately identify costs for each project and keep expenses down. Vendors can also help cut future costs by proactively consulting on your data.
Timeliness – Manage requests and deadlines quickly and more accurately through direct contact with your service provider, eliminating delays that can sometimes occur when going through outside counsel.
Budget Management – Identify points of savings by being able to initiate volume discounts. The service provider can extend volume discounts as they build long-term relationships directly with corporations. You can also avoid the markup from some law firms which could increase your costs for services from 25 percent to as much as 100 percent.
Streamlined Litigation Management – Reduce the number of vendors your corporation works with. This is especially relevant if your company works with several outside counsels and all have their own separate lit support vendors.
Consultation – Give your litigation support provider a consulting role and front row view into the game plan instead of a 100 percent reactive position. By working with a provider who understands data, you can avoid sanctions for under or overproducing, which could reach tens of millions of dollars.
Preparation – Address issues at the earliest point in litigation and improve efficiency by involving the litigation support provider in planning from the start.
Expertise – Allow your outside counsel to concentrate on their core competency of legal strategy, while you work directly with data experts.
Resources – Access the most cutting-edge technology for handling data. Small and medium-sized law firms may not have an in-house IT department to manage large numbers of electronic documents.
Efficiency – Work hand in hand with the service provider, eliminating the middleman.
Security – Gain better control over sensitive data and information.
Tips for selecting the right provider for your company:
Look for a true end-to-end provider with a litigation preparedness plan that can take your cases from collections to processing, hosting and trial services.
Qualify the provider through experience; your law firm may spearhead that process.
Request references from companies that are similar to yours in size and industry.
Identify the service provider’s true capabilities vs. partnerships. Do they actually own, operate and control the processes themselves or do they collaborate with other providers?
Ask if they are software agnostic. Many providers are locked into one or two technologies, so verify that the service bureau has more than one solution and can meet all your needs.
Ensure their solutions are thoroughly tested and proven.
Verify that the provider has a true physical location and not a virtual office. Request a tour of the facility, as well as a copy of the workflow and security protocols.
It’s clear why your corporation and legal department should have direct interaction with litigation support providers to consolidate efforts and streamline costs. Experts such as TERIS bring a highly-specialized legal and data skill-set for case management, as well as the foresight and consulting experience for client management, so you can be confident your project is always handled with the highest level of professional care.
Kevin Brooks is a managing partner at TERIS, the largest full-service litigation support provider on the West Coast, offering sophisticated consultation-based solutions, state-of-the-art technologies and highly experienced project management. In the past five years, Brooks has achieved 250 percent revenue growth while managing 150 employees in multiple offices in Northern California. For more information, please visit www.TERIS.com.