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Managed Services in Electronic Discovery: Our Digitized Future

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

Just when finally found the time to catch up with the latest technological development, another one comes up. Technology is moving at such a brisk pace that even those in the tech fields have trouble keeping up. So, how can you -- a busy lawyer -- hope to stay on top of everything?

Realistically, you can't. And developments in ediscovery case management are the latest concern you have to deal with. But with just the smallest investment of time, you can at least ensure that your small to mid-sized firm doesn't get blindsided by unseen factors in ediscovery.

E-Discovery: Get Ready to Pony Up

It's been happening for a number of years now: ediscovery is taking up a larger and larger percentage of the discovery pie, both in actual discoverable evidence and in costs. This is partly due to the nature of cases that rely heavily on ediscovery.

Ediscovery cases generally tend to be high profile, involve corporations, business record heavy, and opaque with pages and pages of numbers. A slip-and-fall case can be handled with traditional paper discovery, while a class action suit against an auto-maker cannot. In fact, previous discovery processes that blended modern ediscovery techniques with more human based interaction were responsible for billions in expenses. Why? Because as cases got bigger, traditional discovery processes simply couldn't handle the volume of Electronically Stored Information (ESI).

The point is, discovery is expensive -- but it's getting cheaper. In fact, even mid-sized firms can now begin to afford some options with regards to ediscovery. The most practical option is to outsource discovery needs to a third party provider. This is known as the fully outsourced model and it is, for all intents and purposes, probably the best option for most firms.

Infrastructure Model vs. Fully Outsourced E-Discovery Managed Services Model

Many firms, particularly very large firms, tend to favor the infrastructure model of ediscovery. These organizations generally tend to favor quick access to their discovery materials and often hire IT people to help them create an ediscovery system within the eight corners of their building. Not only are these systems clunky and expensive, they tend to become obsolete very quickly.

The better choice is to let the professionals handle it. In a fully outsourced model, the firm contacts an ediscovery service provide to do ediscovery work. You provide the software containing your material and the service providers sits behind a secure firewall. Broken down by hour, EMS is more expensive than the fully integrated model, but the costs are defrayed significantly by the reduced maintenance costs and time considerations. Keep in mind that reasonable minds have disagreed as to the cost savings of going completely third party. Due diligence demands that you spend a little time to consider your options.

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