eDiscovery Daily Blog

More Questions to Answer Before Selecting Your Next eDiscovery Platform: eDiscovery Best Practices

Yesterday, we covered the first four questions that you should ask when considering selection of an eDiscovery platform for a case or for your entire organization to use, as discussed in a recent article on Legaltech© News.  Today, we’ll cover the remaining four questions.

To recap: In Buying a New E-Discovery Platform? 8 Questions You Need to Ask First, the author (Zach Warren) reaches out to two prominent e-discovery attorneys: Gareth Evans of Gibson Dunn and John Rosenthal of Winston & Strawn, to get their takes on eight questions that firms should ask themselves before investing in an eDiscovery platform.  We’re covering them here and I’ll provide some of my own thoughts, as well.

Should I choose just one platform, or should I look at multiple to handle different parts of the process?

Rosenthal stated “No brainer – one platform – one process. Volume is the enemy. Only through using people, process and technology at each stage of the EDRM can you ultimately reduce the volume that is subject to review and, thus, the overall cost of the review.  By using one platform with a consistent tool set you have the ability to develop work flows to develop a consistent, repeatable and defensible process for attacking the volume.”  I would add that the age of eDiscovery automation is upon us and it’s no longer necessary (in most cases) to have a different platform for processing, review and production.  Choosing a single platform to handle the bulk of the eDiscovery workflow is easier than ever before.

What cost does the firm prefer, and what costs are actually present?

Rosenthal stated that “Cost is a deceptive term when it comes to e-discovery platforms because there are components to cost that may not be obvious in the vendor’s proposal”.  When it comes to software, the ability to predict costs has become more important as data volumes have made eDiscovery more expensive.  It’s important to understand whether the eDiscovery platform provider assesses charges for each user or limits the number of cases that are included, whether they charge for training and support and whether they offer options to even waive processing charges.  All of those charges make it more difficult to predict costs for the software, whether hosted or in-house.

How long is the contract for?

As the article notes, locking into a contract “can go one of two ways – it creates a partnership between the vendor and firm which leads to more specialized service, or it locks the firm into a contract while technological advances happen all around them.”  That’s assuming, of course, that your provider isn’t keeping up with those technological advances, which they may be.  If not, it may be an issue whether you’re locked into a contract or not (switching eDiscovery platforms always comes with challenges such as moving data and training users on the new platform).

Locking into a contract can also result in loyalty discounts for your firm’s commitment and it’s also a benefit to the provider because it enables their revenue to be more predictable from month to month.  It’s a true “win-win” for both parties.  But, locking into a contract is not for all firms, so it’s important to know whether you can opt for shorter term commitments or even a no-commitment, pay-as-you-go plan.

Where will the data reside?

Evans noted that in order to properly assess the firm’s capabilities, decision makers should engage a knowledgeable expert – either internally or externally if need be – to ask some key questions: “What will make more economic sense and data security sense? Is your data security robust enough to protect your clients’ data, or are you better off hosting it in the cloud with the security of a vendor?”

It’s not just eDiscovery cloud providers that are advocating cloud-based over in house solutions, law firms are beginning to do so as well.  And, it’s also important to note that not all cloud storage is the same.  Some providers use public cloud storage, such as Amazon AWS where the data could be located anywhere in the world, for their data storage while others use a protected cloud data center approach where the data resides on their servers in a known location.  How important is it for you to know where your data is located?

So, what do you think?  What questions did (or would) you ask in selecting your eDiscovery technology solution?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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