eDiscovery Providers : Decision 2016
As we near the end of 2015, there is a good chance you have either planned or are planning on what 2016 will look like for your business. Part of those plans will include what vendors you will choose to work with in the New Year, and if you are a law firm or corporate legal department, what eDiscovery vendor(s) you choose to work with is one of the major components of the 2016 plan. Coincidentally, even if you are not a follower of politics, you are probably aware that 2016 is a presidential election year. Just by the sheer amount of media coverage already devoted to the race, it is nearly impossible to avoid a sound bite, news segment or a candidate appearing on a late night talk show attempting to convince voters that he or she is the one to lead the country forward. Throughout this process, certain caricatures of politicians, justly or unjustly, have been reinforced.
While watching one of the debates along with 20M of my fellow Americans, my mind began to turn towards the eDiscovery industry, which tends to happen to me from time-to-time outside of work. As the candidates were trading barbs, sparring with the mediators and making declarations, I started to think about how some of these media caricatures of the candidates could be used to generically describe certain types of eDiscovery providers. By no means are these classifications all encompassing, but like some of the presidential candidates, certain providers are remembered for certain behaviors/representations. In keeping with the theme, have any of you seen parallels with your eDiscovery representatives and some of the caricatures of politicians below?
- The vendor who began working in another part of the legal industry, but has recently added eDiscovery capabilities, so experience becomes an issue.
- Sales reps that speak about the greatness of their firm, but when pressed for specific information, have a difficult time coming up with the answers.
- The vendor who likes to discuss all that could go wrong if you do not choose to go with its services.
- The sales rep who continues to quote the least expensive offering because everything is about finances.
- The vendor who has done excellent work in the past, but you question if they have gotten too large to embrace newer technologies and processes.
Now, I am well aware that the above is a gross generalization and tied loosely to our politicians today, and as our industry evolves and providers continue to get better due to the intense competition, the above attributes become less common. While it is easy to recognize the behaviors above and where they continue to exist, I’d like to offer my take on what positive characteristics an eDiscovery provider should have.
From conversations I have had over the years, I am assuming that some of the characteristics below are on your list, and depending on your firm or legal department, some may be more important than others.
- Vendors who are consultative in nature and transparent in their abilities and pricing arrangements.
- Groups who are proactive in recommending the most efficient ways to handle a project during an initial discussion.
- A vendor that has international capabilities.
- Rapid response to any questions or concerns that may arise during evaluation process, which are usually a good indication of response times during actual engagements.
- Groups that employ and are constantly evaluating the latest technology to improve efficiencies.
- Vendors that not only utilize the best technology on the market, but also innovate, customize, and improve said technologies.
You may have many more elements that you can add to the list, but as you move into 2016, the important thing is having a set of criteria for proper vendor evaluation. The more you know about what you are looking for, the better your chance of casting your vote for the right eDiscovery provider.