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By Joanna Harrison

Published on Mon, October 5, 2015

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Are you looking for a new ediscovery provider but struggling to figure out how to find the perfect match? The process of assessing providers is time consuming, costly, head banging work that tends to happen on top of your daily responsibilities. The trick is writing an RFP that addresses the problems your company faces in ediscovery each day. Since you want the RFP to specifically address your company’s needs, that cookie cutter RFP that is floating around out there is not going to get the job done. You need to tailor it to ensure you can identify the partnership that will best meet your needs for the long term.

About Me - What you have

Do an internal assessment of your litigation process to determine which parts you will handle internally and which parts will be outsourced to an ediscovery partner. Some considerations include:

  • Do you self-collect data with your IT department? Are there situations where you outsource (ie, collection of overseas data)?
  • Did your company invest in technologies behind the firewall (ie, processing tools)?
  • What filtering/culling needs are necessary for your types of litigation?
  • Do you leverage technology to reduce the volume of documents that go to review?
  • Is review done by a review partner, outside counsel, or internally?
  • Do you plan to leverage TAR?

Interests – What you need

Now that you have clearly identified what you have internally, you can now more easily identify your areas of need. In writing an RFP, you need to outline the sections that apply to you.

  • Company: Ask for all the information on the company’s background. Understand who they are and whether you can trust them with your business.
  • Differentiators: We are all familiar with the technologies used these days; all providers have the same stuff (Nuix, Clearwell, Ipro, Relativity, Equivio). The most important question to ask is: “What do you do differently with these same technologies?” (ie, Even though the kid next door and I have the same toys, if I can do tricks with mine that he can’t all neighborhood kids will come to my house to play.)
  • People: People matter! As much as automation is critical to speed, efficiency, and cost savings, there are people that determine the automation to be used. This includes your project team.
  • Technology: Technology is what moves your data through. It is critical to know what technologies the providers have and why. Identify what proprietary tools they offer and the added value they could provide to you.
  • Reporting: There is a budget for all work. (Even if there is no hard number set, there is always a budget.) You need to know that the provider you choose will keep that in mind. Find out what they will do to drive your costs down if you choose them? Understand their reporting capabilities, as they are critical for giving you visibility into the value the provider brings in driving down your costs, showing you exactly how your process is working, and delineating where improvements can be made.

The First Date – Writing your RFP

Based on your interests in ediscovery needs, be thorough with questions you need addressed, but be cautious not to make the RFP so comprehensive that you cannot even begin to assess how providers can help you. Your time is money, so assess internally the needs you have and then draft the RFP to specifically address those needs.

Remember, these providers all want your business. Be sure your RFP is designed to help you find the one that will be the best match for the long term.

If you have other RFP techniques that have been particularly successful in helping you select the best vendor match for your organization, I’d love to hear about them. Email me at info@lhediscovery.com.

About the Author
Joanna Harrison

Solutions Architect

Joanna has over 19 years of experience in both the legal and technology industry spanning from operations, delivery, and sales support. She has managed and supported end-to-end ediscovery projects, designed best practice solutions, consulted on technology workflows, and implementations for multiple global businesses. She also has had hands-on paralegal experience for over 7 years, having significant experience in IP, toxic torts, and labor and employment litigation. As a member of the Onboarding team at Lighthouse, she is responsible for designing technology solutions and implementing cost-effective ediscovery programs for prospective and current clients.