By Tim Rollins
In the not-so-distant past, fear was a big motivator for organizations to invest in e-discovery software. Tom Mullane, E-Discovery Process Manager at United Technologies Corp., remembers, “Risk was a huge driver. It was easy to point at several large and well-publicized sanctions cases that highlighted the importance of creating your own internal program.”
But since the FRCP amendments of 2015, judges have adopted more proactive case management strategies, steering cases toward resolutions, using meet-and-confers to resolve potential e-discovery disputes where possible, and pushing (if not successfully) for greater cooperation between opposing parties.
While the dramatic headlines may be fewer and farther between, the case for bringing e-discovery in-house is still quite compelling. And the three big drivers are familiar, too: money, efficiency, and risk.
Managing E-Discovery Costs
The high costs of outsourcing all e-discovery activities can weigh heavily on legal departments. Even bringing part of the process in-house, like legal hold management, can make a substantial impact on a departmental budget.
Tara Jones, Lead Paralegal for E-Discovery and Litigation at Oath, explains, “We were definitely trying to combat the costs. The costs were outrageous constantly using outside firms.”
Increasing Efficiency of E-Discovery Processes
Bringing e-discovery processes in-house will increase your ability to manage and improve it.
Alayne Russom, Business Ethics and Legal Support Manager at Thrivent Financial, saw problems in communications and process. “There was a disconnect over who was doing what and when. There appeared to be a disconnect over where information was located and what had been sent to outside counsel. Custodians were confused as to who they should contact for each of their legal holds.”
Managing Risks in E-Discovery
Repeatable, documented processes for e-discovery reduce the risks present in the e-discovery process. Reasonable preservation and defensible legal hold processes limit the chances of sanctions or negative case rulings.
Whether cost, efficiency, managing risk, or some other reason is prompting you to move e-discovery in-house, the next step is answering the question: “Which parts of the process you want to bring in-house?”
In the past, it was traditionally easier to start at the beginning of the e-discovery process, with preservation and legal hold. But now, with e-discovery software platforms that span the EDRM, it’s possible to in-house more complicated areas like collection, processing and review all at once.
If you're considering purchasing e-discovery software, download Exterro’s Comprehensive Guide to Buying E-Discovery Software today.