eDiscovery Daily Blog

Working Successfully with eDiscovery and Litigation Support Service Providers: A Centralized Approach


Law firms take different approaches to working with vendors.  In some firms, individual litigation teams evaluate, select and manage vendors on a case-by-case basis.  Other firms take a centralized approach where all vendor activities are coordinated and managed by a centralized litigation support department.  And taking that a step further, many firms that use a centralized approach, establish a preferred vendor program.  What works best?  That probably depends on the culture and organization of a law firm. 

For most firms, there is a strong argument to be made for a centralized, preferred-vendor approach.  It has several advantages: 

  1. Vendor evaluation and selection is more likely to be done by those with the most knowledge and broadest experience.  Litigation support professionals are experts in the services provided by litigation support and eDiscovery vendors.  This is what they are trained to do and it is a primary focus of their jobs.
  2. Vendor evaluation is likely to be more thorough and careful.  When vendor evaluation and selection is done when faced with short case deadlines, it may be rushed.  Corners might be cut. 
  3. Working with vendors is likely to be more efficient.  You won’t be reinventing the wheel on every case.  The time-consuming task of evaluating vendors is done once.  On each case, it’s simply a matter of selecting the most appropriate vendor from a list of pre-approved vendors.
  4. You’ll have a stable of good vendors that you trust on-call for rush cases.
  5. Project start-up will be faster and easier.  On each case, you’ll need to communicate case-specific requirements and nuances, but overall expectations, work flow procedures, and communication protocols are already in place.
  6. Expectations regarding deliverables are already in place.  The vendor will know what you expect and will be in a better position to get things right, the first time.
  7. For many tasks, vendors offer pricing based on volume.  You may be able to negotiate preferred-pricing based on overall business with the firm rather than volume on a case-by-case basis.
  8. A centralized, preferred vendor approach will facilitate good working relationships with individuals in the vendor organization.  This can only help with maintaining consistent, high-quality work.

In the upcoming posts in this blog series, we’ll discuss the components of a preferred vendor program and how to go about establishing a program in your firm.

How does your firm work with vendors?  Please share any comments you might have and let us know if you’d like to know more about an eDiscovery topic.