Recently, the ediscovery industry has started to see a new trend where there is a desire to take all or part of the ediscovery process in house in order to rein in costs, introduce stricter controls, or both. If you are currently considering taking this step, there are a few items below that you should be aware of that can make this evaluation meaningful and produce desirable results:
Know what you are trying to achieve before you begin the review process.
It is tempting to begin a review of ediscovery processes in order to learn what exactly is going on without explicitly defining the goals of the analysis. This is likely to lead to sub-optimal results. For example, if the focus is on reducing costs, the analysis process needs to be geared towards finding out the costs associated with each phase of the EDRM lifecycle. The analysis can also focus on finding out the variability of costs depending upon size or complexity of matters being handled. Similarly, if the point of the analysis is to determine how best to optimize the speed by which data can be processed, the analysis can be geared towards finding out the time spent in each phase of the lifecycle. So, be sure to outline your plan.
Establish meaningful benchmarks.
While it is possible to perform an analysis of the current state of ediscovery in the firm without knowing how peer companies are doing, it does not give one a good idea of whether or not the results obtained are good, bad, or so-so. An outside consultant can help the company determine how it is performing relative to industry peers, and this can serve as a lead off to discussions where processes that are sub-optimal can be improved.
Know your capacity and knowledge.
If ediscovery has traditionally been outsourced, there may be a dearth of knowledge and/or bandwidth to accommodate taking all or part of the process in house. In situations where there is a lack of in-house capacity to handle all of the additional work, it behooves those conducting the analysis to point this out and to make recommendations to address this shortfall.
Establish a path towards your end state.
For most companies, taking ediscovery in house cannot be done all at once. It is a good idea to establish clear boundaries to determine which matters can be handled in house and which can continue to be handled using the current process. For example, one demarcation could be to handle all employment related matters or small matters in house (like my colleague Suneel Bhagat demonstrated in his recent blog article) while continuing to outsource larger matters. This allows companies to learn what works, what does not, and the scope of insourcing that is realistic for their organization.
Have a fallback option.
In certain situations, matters that are being handled in house can become much more complex than initially anticipated and can benefit from a full-service delivery process. There should be a clear process established ahead of time to enable handing over matters of this type to a full- service delivery team.
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