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

Get advice before you buy

October 20th, 2011

Choosing the right eDiscovery software can be a daunting process for many firms.  For most lawyers, software selection is foreign to them as their experience and expertise is with the law, not the technology. Experienced independent advice can assist you in your software selection, as the advice can help you decide what the best solution is for you.

On one hand it is refreshing to see firms wanting to adopt technology to assist them in their practice, but at the same time it does concern me that many do not appreciate exactly what they are purchasing. Recently I have been inundated with queries about eDiscovery software. The surprising aspect is not the query itself (as I welcome being able to provide firms with options), but more the fact that the query has come after they have already gone out and purchased new software, and they find out it is not what they were looking for.

“the person selling me the software didn’t tell me that”

When I press people further on why they made the purchase in the first place, I am usually told the person selling me the software didn’t tell me that, or they didn’t tell me it couldn’t do that. It is important to appreciate that these people are selling the product and (understandably) they will have a vested interest that you purchase their product over other options, so they may ‘gloss over’ any shortcomings.

If you are going to spend considerable money on eDiscovery software, then it is worth getting some independent advice up front about what the best solution is for you. Get the advice first about the right technology solution for you and then make the purchase – unfortunately many make the purchase and then get the advice afterwards (sometimes with dire consequences).

Many eDiscovery options available

There are numerous eDiscovery software options available in the marketplace – all able to be accessed by lawfirms in New Zealand. Most solutions have their own areas of expertise, with some focussing more on particular parts of the electronic discovery continuum than others. There is no single ‘silver bullet’ as far as eDiscovery software go (although some providers will try and convince you otherwise). To complicate matters, technology continues to evolve – a product that may have been effective yesterday, may not now suit your requirements. It is more of a case of finding the right solution that will suit your requirements. I have clients that I present different options to, compared to another, mainly because there are different factors that dictate their software selection – i.e., accessibility, functionality and cost. Your requirements may be different from the firm next door and the intricacies of your case may require something different to another matter.

The new discovery rules in New Zealand do not require everyone to go out and purchase the most sophisticated eDiscovery software in the market. The discovery reforms require parties to be more informed at an early stage about their case, as they should be in their choice of the right software solutions to suit their requirements. IF used effectively the right eDiscovery software will go a long way to making the role of lawyers easier, especially as they tackle the discovery process.

If you are looking for a software solution, you should consider seeking independent advice prior to doing so.



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