Why law firms and corporate legal departments should examine litigation support practices to cut costs

By Shawn Sieck
Vice President, ESI Business Development
TERIS/Silicon Valley

If your law firm or corporate legal department is like most, you are continuously looking for ways to cut costs and streamline operations. With the downturn in the economy, as well as the increasing strictness of regulations at both the federal and state levels, it is now even more crucial to evaluate all areas of your business or practice.

One area for the legal industry to examine is litigation support. Services such as electronic discovery and document management are critical to favorable case outcomes. But what is the most efficient way to manage these services while facing tight deadlines and unanticipated obstacles?

I recently met with a financial institution that was using several providers for litigation support: a consulting firm, a data collection subcontractor, a third vendor in charge of processing electronically stored information (ESI), plus the law firm handling interviews and paper collection. With so many cooks in the kitchen, it’s predictable that something will fall through the cracks. Using numerous providers also inevitably costs more in time and money and is inconvenient to manage.

For litigation support professionals, one option is to consolidate services with a full-service solution provider that can manage cases from conception to conclusion. An end-to-end litigation support provider offers several advantages:

– Cost Savings – By bundling the numerous litigation support services into one provider, you can achieve cost efficiencies with pricing. You also gain the ability to see where there may be redundancies or overlapping sections which can be eliminated to further cut costs.

– Consultation – Litigation support has changed dramatically in recent years, requiring consultants with deep legal knowledge and litigation expertise to solve case management problems. A full-service provider builds consulting services into their offerings, usually at no charge, eliminating the need for a separate consulting firm.

– Streamlined Processes – The proactive processes that a full-service provider develops and manages can assist your case team with timelines and tracking deadlines with respect to the new case laws in place. This simplifies the document management process so you spend less time and money through all phases of case management.

– Flexibility – A full-service provider recognizes that one size does not fit all in document management and litigation support. They can provide many different approaches that employ the best practices and most cutting-edge tools on the market, rather than one proprietary software that may not be the right fit for the job.

– Quality – With one provider managing your litigation support activities, you have a partner dedicated to maintaining a higher level of quality and increased accuracy. They are there from start to finish to implement quality control measures and ensure consistent results every time.

– Security – With all of your data in one place, the risk factor is eliminated. The infrastructure a full-service provider has built into place, both offsite and onsite, means your data is backed up and protected from any kind of loss.

– Improved Workflow – Full-service providers can avoid costly delays with one point of contact that sees your project through every step of the process. By simplifying the information flow and managing data in an efficient manner, you get an improved workflow and a much greater return on investment.

The benefits of a full-service provider certainly sound great, but one question I hear from litigation professionals is how can one provider do everything? It’s a valid concern, as many litigation support companies who say they are full-service are, in reality, sending out work to third parties. There are only a handful of companies who are really a single source for all litigation support needs.

When evaluating a provider, ask about their client history, case studies and references. Find out how they will respond if a crisis erupts on a Saturday or national holiday. They should listen to your concerns and be able to address them with examples of their experience in all areas.

A true one-stop shop for litigation support, such as TERIS, will have experts available at any time for any matter. This adds value to the relationship by having the people, expertise, technology and resources to handle all of your needs in-house.

Shawn Sieck is the vice president of ESI business development for TERIS, Silicon Valley. With eight offices serving clients nationwide, TERIS is a full-service litigation support provider offering sophisticated consultation-based solutions, state-of-the-art technologies and highly experienced project management. For more information, please visit www.TERIS.com.

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