eDiscovery Daily Blog

Working Successfully with eDiscovery and Litigation Support Service Providers: Is Checking References Important?


Over the years, I’ve been asked many times to serve as a reference for vendors with which I’ve worked.  And, I’ve taken many reference-check phone calls.  More often than not, those calls were less efficient and productive than they could have been — because they weren’t planned and good questions were not asked.   In the next blogs in this series I’ll make some suggestions for doing an effective reference check.

First, recognize that checking references is very important.  Yes, it is almost certain that a vendor will direct you to clients that are satisfied, so you know — to an extent — what to expect.  You need to speak with them anyway.  There are a few reasons for this:

  • The clients provided to you as references might have had different priorities than you do.  They may be satisfied because the vendor performed well in an area that was most important to them.  That same client, however, may be able to shed light on “minor problems” that in your case could be “major problems”.  Of course, this assumes that you ask the right questions.
  • The clients provided as references may be inexperienced in eDiscovery and litigation support, and therefore not a good judge of the vendor’s work.  Clients like this may be satisfied because they had a good relationship with the vendor staff and nothing blew up in their faces.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that the work was done well or cost-efficiently.  When you speak with references, you can get a feel for their level of experience and knowledge, and be able to determine, therefore, whether their good experience with the vendor is truly indicative of high-quality and cost-effective work.
  • The clients provided as references may not have worked with the vendor on a case that was similar in scope to yours, or they not have had requirements similar to yours.  This too, can be discerned with the right questions.

In the next posts in this blog series, I’ll suggest an approach to checking references and give you examples of questions that can uncover the information you need when doing a reference check.

Do you get valuable information when you check references?  Please share any comments you might have and let us know if you’d like to know more about an eDiscovery topic.