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Mar 02, 2009

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Electronic discovery is one of the areas of scale for any legal service provider. A provider with the reach and partners can provide end-to-end solutions for e-discovery starting with collection of documents/materials from the on-site locations until final production. The key to this is by means of having strategic partners in the form of scanning vendors, top tier platform providers etc. Earlier, it was only the 'review' part of electronic discovery that could potentially be outsourced. This trend changed with the on-boarding of big players like Infosys into the legal services space ... e-discovery is key focus area for the big players and its only them who can sustain this in area that promises to be the next best thing that happened in the outsourcing of legal services after contracts... On technology tools, key to winning such deals as I cited earlier are 1) tie-ups with top tier platform providers; 2) trained resources; 3) tie-ups with global scanning vendors; and 4) the ability to scale rapidly

Hi Bob –

While there are certainly law firms taking advantage of the globalized legal market, corporate law departments are by far the bigger drivers. Law firms have seemingly conflicting incentives to maximize their profits and provide low cost services, but corporate law departments tend to be much more focused on their costs. Despite these generalities, some of the LPO vendors have shown that law firms can, in some situations, maintain their profits, if not their revenues, by offering offshore resources. Some firms are currently using this as a competitive advantage and I predict there will be many more within a few years.

Matthew Sullivan
Red Bridge Strategy, Inc.

Matt
Where are you seeing the most interest: Corporate Legal Departments of Law Firms?

Bob

Sri Gupta -

Many LPO vendors have embraced the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (“EDRM”; See http://www.edrm.net), and can provide assistance with many of its elements. However, the value of using vendors depends on the skills within the organization seeking assistance. Many large corporations now have electronic discovery specialists within their corporate legal departments. These individuals are often tasked with coordinating with corporate IT to facilitate information identification such that e-discovery is simplified when it becomes necessary. They are also typically involved with preserving, collecting, and processing (formatting and reducing the volume) data when appropriate. Organizations that do not have these skills in-house may choose to source them from some combination of LPOs, outside counsel, discovery tool vendors or independent consultants. The portions of e-discovery that really illustrate the value of LPO are review (evaluating electronically stored information for relevance & privilege) and analysis (evaluating electronically stored information for content & context, including key patterns, topics, people & discussion). These typically consume the majority of discovery costs because they are completed almost entirely by humans. LPO vendors will typically make their work product available in a form that can be easily produced to the opposition.

The vendors I have interacted all have relationships with multiple technology vendors. Client needs have required them to be technology agnostic and, as a result, they have used such products as Concordance, Ringtail, Stratify, and CaseLogistix. Because the offshore vendors are focused on the technologically simple aspects of review and analysis, they can generally adapt to a client’s preferred provider.


Matt: great article - a excellent view of how this market is developing.

What elements of e-discovery are working offshore? Which technology tools are commonly being used by the LPOs to faciliate this? Appreciate your insights here,

Sri

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