eDiscovery Daily Blog

Working Successfully with eDiscovery and Litigation Support Service Providers: Capacity, Scalability, and Flexibility


In the last couple of blogs in this series, we talked about evaluating service-provider pricing and quality.  The highest-quality, fairest-priced vendor is of no use to you, however, if they can’t get your work done by when you need it.  And, unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as telling them what you have, what you need, and by when you need it.  Early in an ediscovery project, you are in a world of “unknowns”.  You are working with assumptions and best guesses, and the only thing you know for sure is that things will change.  The bottom line is, when you start talking to service providers, you probably won’t have good information. 

One thing, however, most likely won’t change:  your schedule.  Regardless of how big the job gets, you still have production deadlines and interim milestones to meet.  You, therefore, need a vendor that has the capacity to handle your work, that can scale up with the resources needed to deal with increased volume, and that can be flexible to adapt to changing needs and priorities.  What’s important today, may take a backseat to something more important that arises tomorrow.

The best way to deal with this is open communication with the service provider in the evaluation process.  Don’t limit your questions to computing power and capacity.  That’s just part of the picture, and that’s the easy part.  You want a service provider who will go the extra mile and work with you to get you what you need, when you need it.  The technology doesn’t do that. 

In your conversations with service providers, provide information on what you do know, what you are assuming, and what you are guessing.  Ask how changes in the volume or requirements will impact their ability to meet your schedule.  Ask about their ability to scale up.  Ask about their procedures for changing priorities in processing a collection.  Give them best and worst case scenarios and ask for commitments for either situation.  Ask about after-hours resources and their ability and willingness to run multiple shifts if that’s needed.  And ask for references — specifically for people who had last minute, dramatic changes to the scope of a project. 

What has been your experience with service providers meeting your schedule requirements?  Do you have good or bad experiences you can tell us about?  Please share any comments you might have and let us know if you’d like to know more about an eDiscovery topic.