Many January blog postings focus on the 2012 predictions. Rather than further opining on what several brilliant writers (here, and here) have already discussed—I thought I would skip the predictions this year. I’m not sure that clairvoyance is my strongest skill anyway.
Instead, this blog will focus on what clients should demand from their service providers in 2012.
Demand #1: A Technology Assisted Review Differentiator.
We know almost all service providers have some sort of Technology Assisted Review offering. And, clients generally understand what it does (that’s what 2011 was all about). Judges are even starting to accept it. But, to use the technology to its maximum capacity and in a defensible manner, service providers need to be true experts who fully understand the technology and the best process for implementing it. For example, service providers need to know how to select appropriate training documents (because not all training sets are created equal). It also helps to have computational linguists on staff to expertly train the computer on the nuances of the case (the devil is always in the details). In 2012, clients should focus on the differences between service providers’ offerings and ask questions like:
- What makes your TAR offering different?
- How are you a qualified TAR expert?
Demand #2: An eDiscovery playbook.
Understandably, corporate counsel use different law firms for different types of cases—they want to top legal experts in a certain area of law. This model doesn’t make a lot of sense in ediscovery.
eDiscovery providers have ediscovery expertise, that expertise doesn’t become obsolete when the subject matter of a case changes. To the contrary, there are efficiencies to be had streamlining your ediscovery and using one provider. For example, it allows corporations to take advantage of volume discounts and to reuse data from case to case. In 2012, corporations should work with their vendors to create an ediscovery playbook containing their streamlined repeatable ediscovery workflow.
Demand #3: Reuse of their data.
These days, even occasional litigants have data that is relevant to multiple cases. And,
there is no sense in paying to process, review and image the data twice if you don’t have to. As my colleague Chris Dahl points out, there are some complications with reusing the data. However, a smart service provider can figure out a way to do it. Clients should demand this service in 2012.
Demand #4: Flat fees.
Much as the heyday of the hourly law firm rate has passed, so too has the height of the per GB service provider model. These per unit models both still have their appropriate use but the shift has to be toward a more predictable model. Data sizes are skyrocketing and nobody has the stomach for high and unpredictable litigation costs. Thus, clients should be demanding flat fee arrangements.