The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

eDiscovery Software – Gaining a competitive advantage

October 29th, 2013

An increasing number of New Zealand law firms are gaining a competitive advantage through their choice of eDiscovery software to meet their discovery requirements.

Last week, LawTalk published an article of mine Gaining a competitive advantage (A link to the article can be found here). The article highlighted how firms that may not have the internal resources are outsourcing their eDiscovery requirements to help level the playing field.

The on-going challenges of managing eDiscovery in-house

There are considerable challenges in managing eDiscovery and these challenges will become even more complex as technology evolves further – if solely managed in-house this is the law firm’s responsibility.

Managing e-discovery in-house is starting to become increasingly burdensome, complicated and costly. Most New Zealand law firms are not set up to effectively manage solely in-house models. The investment is not just what the eDiscovery software costs, but also the hidden costs of installing the software, what hardware is required and who internally is going to manage it.

In addition, due to the inconsistent and unpredictable nature of litigation, dedicated in-house resources are not always fully utilised.

With technology constantly evolving, it becomes a constant battle to try and catch up. Often once a firm installs eDiscovery software in-house something better and cheaper has come along. As a result of this frequent change, numerous firms have been using technology that no longer meets their evolving eDiscovery requirements.

Greater opportunity to re-evaluate options 

Many legacy software products have a licence structure where they are renewed annually. This pricing structure allows firms the opportunity to evaluate what is the right solution for them on an annual basis.

Opportunity to re-evaluate eDiscovery options

In the past firms that operated an in-house model may have made considerable upfront investment to purchase eDiscovery software, with only paying a nominal amount annually to maintain the software. This considerable upfront investment was an obstacle for firms to move away from their existing software, even if it was no longer the best option to suit their evolving requirements.

The opportunity to re-evaluate the options provides firms with the choice to either deploy software in-house, or outsource their eDiscovery requirements on a matter by matter basis. With whatever option law firms now have the choice to find the right solution to suit their requirements.

Greater options – levelling the playing field

The internet and accessibility of options has significantly ‘levelled the playing field’ as far as eDiscovery software that is now available. There are now considerably more options available that can provide efficient and cheaper options for law firms and organisations to outsource discovery work.

For firms that cannot justify the expense of deploying eDiscovery software and specialised resource in-house then there is the viable option of outsourcing your eDiscovery requirements. When that matter comes along, you have the comfort knowing that there are options for you and you can easily compete with firms that may have greater internal resources at their disposal.

Where do I start?

One of the first steps for any firm that wants to look at the options available is to explicitly understand their own requirements.

Independent advice can be invaluable in helping find the right e-discovery software to suit your requirements. An independent perspective can assist firms presenting the facts about the software –  different to what any ‘sales pitch’ can provide ! The advice will help firms understand the benefits and limitations of the software, as well as assessing if an in-house or outsourced model is the best option to suit their requirements.

Selecting the right e-discovery software and outsourcing provider can provide a significant competitive advantage to those organisations that do not have the internal resources available to manage the challenges of eDiscovery. Outsourcing parts of their eDiscovery requirements allows firms to utilise the best technologies to suit the case at hand to ensure that the case can be managed in a cost-effective and efficient way.

From a cost perspective, outsourcing parts of the discovery process can be less expensive (usually passed on as a disbursement), as well as allowing lawyers to focus on their real area of expertise – the law.

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