eDiscovery Daily Blog

Working Successfully with eDiscovery and Litigation Support Service Providers: Preventing Unexpected Schedule Problems


Of all the problems you might have to report to an attorney, the worst may be that you are going to miss a production deadline.  Deadlines get missed because document or data collections are larger than expected, the task is more difficult than expected, sufficient technical resources aren’t allocated to the project, or the project simply isn’t staffed properly.  Good communication up front with a vendor, and good monitoring throughout a project can minimize the chance of missing deadlines. 

Here are some steps you can take to prevent deadline problems and keep a vendor on track with your schedule requirements:

  • During the vendor evaluation and selection process, get commitments from a vendor on scaling up to accommodate changes in volume.  Ask about their ability to add staff, technical resources, or second shifts to meet deadlines if things get off track.
  • Before signing a contract with a vendor, ask for a schedule that includes weekly estimates of completed work, and that includes expected staffing levels for labor-intensive work.
  • In addition, require that the vendor provide you with weekly status reports that include estimated weekly numbers, actual weekly numbers, estimated to-date numbers, actual to-date numbers, and variances.  This will enable you to see – each week – how the project is going and whether the schedule is slipping.  Carefully review status reports as they are received and speak to the vendor right away if things are getting off-track.  Be proactive in requesting additional resources if the project is getting off-schedule.
  • Require that the vendor notify you in writing – in advance – if a deadline will be missed.
  • When you communicate schedule information to a vendor, build in pad!  For example, give the vendor a deadline well in advance of a production date.
  • Stay in constant communication with the litigation team about discovery issues.  The more notice that you have about additional documents or data, the more notice you can give to the vendor.

What steps do you take to prevent schedule problems with vendor work?  Please share any comments you might have and let us know if you’d like to know more about an eDiscovery topic.