eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Professional Profile: Do You Know Duane Lites?

This blog is the first in a series aimed at helping you to get to know your peers better.  Each week I’ll give you career highlights of a law firm or corporate law department eDiscovery professional.  Today’s profile is on Duane Lites – an eDiscovery and Litigation Support veteran.


Duane is the Director of Litigation Support at Jackson Walker LLP, located in the firm’s Dallas office.  Jackson Walker is one of the largest ‘all Texas’ firms with 350+ lawyers in seven offices located throughout the state.  Duane has been with the firm since 2007.

Duane manages the firm’s Litigation Support department, which offers litigation support and eDiscovery services to all the firm’s litigators.  The department does its own eDiscovery processing, manages document reviews, provides trial graphic services, provides litigation support consulting services and on occasion provides forensics services. Duane manages the day-to-day operations of the department, trains and manages the staff (located in 4 of the firm’s offices), develops and implements department policies and procedures, consults with litigators, and procures and implements technology based on the practices and needs of the litigators.

In the mid 1980s Duane worked as a computer programmer at an oil and gas company in Dallas.  His boss left to take a position at a litigation support vendor, and convinced Duane to join him there in 1986.  Duane’s first work in litigation support was on a large asbestos case, working with a paper collection of about 500,000 documents (that was a huge case in the 1980s!). He worked converting key-punched data into load-ready form for the vendor’s timeshare system. Over time, he moved into working more with the databases and was heavily involved with integrating images with databases when that technology was first implemented in the industry. Between then and starting at Jackson Walker, Duane worked at two other law firms in Dallas and also spent some time with a few Litigation Support vendors and consulting organizations to round out his experience.  Over time he realized that his preference was being in a firm, assisting and working directly with litigation teams, understanding their needs, and finding solutions to their problems.

The move to Jackson Walker was a good one for Duane. He has buy-in at all levels. Litigators through the firm’s executive managers support his efforts, trust his judgment, and provide the resources he needs to optimize the department’s value to the firm.

One of the most valuable things Duane has learned in his years as a litigation technology professional is that ‘relationship’ is critical to the success of a litigation support department and to effectively marketing litigation support and eDiscovery services within a firm. To be successful you really need to understand what the lawyers are doing and what they need.  The best way to do that is to develop good relationships with them.

His biggest challenge today is managing resources with workflow — the workflow is increasing at a faster pace than the resources are, and managing that can be tricky.  One of his initiatives for this year is to get everyone in his department cross-trained, thereby giving him more flexibility in allocating resources.

Throughout his career, Duane has been active in professional organizations and endeavors.  He is a past president of the Dallas Fort Worth Association of Litigation Support Managers, a member of ILTA, on the editor board of the Litigation Support Today publication, and a co-founder of the popular Yahoo Group, The Litigation Support List.  Started in 1998, the list has grown its membership to over 9,000 litigation technology professionals. Duane still maintains and monitors the list.

Duane was born and raised in Texas and has been in Dallas for almost 30 years.  He is a history buff.  In his spare time he researches American history, builds military dioramas, and enjoys antique shopping with his wife. He has recently taken up restoring antique desk fans, circa the early 1900s. He also enjoys golf, sporting events, and spending time with his family.

He’ll be at the upcoming annual ILTA conference in Nashville in August.  Say hello or introduce yourself if you haven’t yet met him. Duane always enjoys meeting peers in the litigation support and eDiscovery community.

Please let us know if there are eDiscovery topics you’d like to see us cover in eDiscoveryDaily.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.