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

Providing technology options for small matters

November 15th, 2011

A common misconception by many in the legal profession is that technology is always expensive and only suitable for large matters.  This does not have to be the case, as there are eDiscovery solutions available for smaller matters that do not need to cost the earth.

‘We do not have large volume matters…’

Since the NZ Law Society sessions on the discovery rules, I have fielded many queries from firms that are concerned that they do not have suitable software to comply with the new discovery requirements. Adding to their frustration is the belief that their matters don’t justify a firm wide investment in litigation support products because most of their matters are small and don’t justify the cost.

One must, be careful to point out that many software solutions are designed to navigate through large volumes (these solutions are not the focus for today), but solutions can also be used for the smaller and medium size matters. The smaller matters probably won’t require the benefits of predictive coding, email threading or complex keyword searching, but they will benefit from having a platform that can assist them manage their documents efficiently and cost effectively.

It is true that for smaller matters, the initial setup cost associated with litigation support software often precluded many from going down that path. I remember the early days of litigation support technology working back in the United Kingdom, when the price of outsourcing and hosting services was very expensive. What we saw was firms might only use litigation support software on the larger matters, making do with traditional paper based methods on the smaller and medium size matters. This is no longer the case as the cost has come down considerably, and the technology is now significantly more advanced.

There are now cost effective options

To assist with the smaller matters we are seeing some service providers tailoring their pricing structures to encourage the smaller to medium size matters. Essentially, the service providers are taking a ‘hit’ on the smaller matters, in the hope that once a client experiences their solution, they will continue to use it for other matters. The upshot is that the consumer that only has small matters, can get a very good cost-effective service – something that was not possible a few years ago.

With the accessibility of modern technology, many new solutions are now available. You no longer have to buy the solution, as there are options to just pay for what you use. This is something that should level the playing field for the firms that haven’t got the benefit of litigation support solutions in house. At the same time they do not need to worry about any infrastructure or maintenance issues as this becomes the responsibility of those providing the service.

As many who follow my blog will recognise, I try to promote more efficient and cost effective methods for conducting discovery exercises. Too often I come across outdated paper based practices that are leading to inefficient (and costly) use of lawyer’s valuable time. There are options available that can significantly assist the role of lawyers and reduce the cost for their clients.

For the larger matters (or more precisely the matters that have a large volume of electronic information), it will be the software that can filter through this material quickly and accurately that will be the key. However, there are technology solutions available to suit all matters – whatever the size. If you seek independent advice, you will be able to find a solution even on small matters that is not as expensive as you once believed. The adoption of the right technology solution should help make the life of a lawyer easier.



No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.