eDiscovery Daily Blog

Working Successfully with eDiscovery and Litigation Support Service Providers: Establishing a Preferred Vendor Program, Part 2


Yesterday, we covered the first couple of steps in establishing a law firm preferred vendor program.  Here are the next steps in the process:

3. Review the vendors with which the firm has worked in the past year.  Make a list of the vendors with which the firm has recent experience.  For each, answer these questions:

  • What services were provided?
  • How much work did the vendor do for the firm?
  • Were deadlines met?
  • Did the vendor provide high-quality work?
  • Were costs reasonable and within expectations?
  • Was the vendor easy to work with?
  • Are there thresholds that if exceeded, the vendor might not be a good candidate (for example, high volume or quick turnaround projects)?

The vendors that pass muster in this initial review can be the starting point of your preferred vendor list.

4. Classify vendors by service.  So far, you’ve created two lists:  a list of the services you need provided, and a list of the vendors that have done good work for the firm.  Combine those lists.  Under each service, list the vendors that provide that service.  Make qualifying notes regarding thresholds, if applicable.

5. Evaluate additional vendors.  Fill in the holes on your list, if that’s necessary.  For each service, you should have multiple vendors.  If you need to add to your list, do some research and vendor evaluations.  Even if your lists are complete, it’s always a good idea to find out if there are other vendors you should be considering.  Talk to peers in the industry and do a little research to make sure you are not overlooking good candidates.

6. Finalize the list and negotiate “relationships”.  When your list is filled in, make sure you’ve met with each vendor and that you’ve clearly laid out the firm’s expectations and come to agreement on how you’ll work with the vendor.  This may involve negotiating standard pricing, standard deliverables, project start-up procedures, and communication protocols.

Next week we’ll focus on establishing the next component of a preferred vendor program:  establishing mechanisms for doing on-going evaluations of the vendors on your list.

Have you developed a preferred vendor program for your firm?  How did you do it?  Please share any comments you might have and let us know if you’d like to know more about an eDiscovery topic.