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Successful in-house eDiscovery for small & mid-size law firms

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Jeffrey Wolff |February 12, 2019|Read time: 10 min

Many small and mid-size U.S. law firms are not yet using eDiscovery platforms in-house. For years, they’ve been priced out of the tech market by the need for large, upfront capital expenditures to buy the necessary software and hardware. They’ve also lacked the time for the extensive training needed to perform eDiscovery services in-house, as well as the manpower to support its ongoing management. 

That means they have been missing out on a critical element for effective differentiation in today’s legal market.  

Finally, these barriers have now been knocked down, and the path for a more dynamic delivery of legal services has opened. Today’s affordable and easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) eDiscovery platforms give small and mid-size firms unfettered access to powerful technologies that deliver much-needed cost and efficiency savings.  

 

No hype: a new generation of eDiscovery technology 

Leaders from small and mid-size law firms have told us they need to make in-house eDiscovery a reality. They recognize its value for clients. But they’ve been prevented by the roadblocks mentioned above, and they have not bought into the hype many tech vendors put out for years.  

Because of that hype, many attorneys and law firm leaders are not aware that the eDiscovery technologies available today are much more effective and affordable than those of the early 2000s. They are often surprised and intrigued to hear we’ve made significant improvements to many eDiscovery technologies that already worked well, such as machine learning and automation, and we’ve eliminated the time and cost concerns preventing their in-house use.   

 

Perform high-value work in-house 

The new generation of eDiscovery technology platforms are now accessible to small and mid-size law firms for the first time, and they are tailored for immediate use. 

  • SaaS “cloud technologies eliminate the need for large, upfront purchasing and continual maintenance costs; 
  • Transparent subscription pricing models offer flexible, affordable rates; 
  • More sophisticated machine learning techniques do not require long sessions to teach software how to detect relevancy 
  • Intuitive dashboards and user-friendly features allow lawyers to start reviewing immediately with little to no training; and 
  • More powerful tools automate repetitive, low-value work and unearth more critical insights faster. 

In short, technology does the grunt work, and lawyers start immediate review on documents that are pre-selected for their relevance. Lawyers perform more higher value work the instant they start using SaaS eDiscovery platforms 

 

Lawyers perform more higher value work the instant they start using SaaS eDiscovery platforms. 

 

Align your services with your clients’ needs. 

To gain new business in today’s legal market, you must align your services with the needs of your clients. Your clients face challenges in collecting mountains of data from various sources and processing it efficiently. Doing so manually is either extremely time consuming or, much more often, downright impossible 

Beyond the courtroom, eDiscovery technology is used to effectively manage large data sets related to many other areas of business such as responding to regulatory requests, monitoring compliance, creating virtual data rooms for M&As, vendor due diligence activities, and performing internal investigations.  

These are important areas of business where clients need lawyers to guide them toward their best interests. But without the appropriate technology to handle the data, you are stuck relying on third-party vendors or consultants to gain insight into your clients’ data. That is a less-than-ideal situation because it takes you out of the driver’s seat when your clients need you the most. 

Relying on alternative service providers to handle eDiscovery for your clients creates missed opportunities and introduces unnecessary complications. It drives a wedge in your communications and relationships with clients, as if a language barrier has sprung up. Most of the information you need to know about your clients is in their data. Performing eDiscovery inhouse allows you to deliver personalized, quality legal services directly to clients without waiting on someone else to translate their data for you. 

 

Relying on alternative service providers takes you out of the driver’s seat when your clients need you the most.  

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Be more competitive in a crowded market. 

The Great Recession and the Digital Revolution had major impacts on the legal industry. But the truth is, many Big Law firms are not facing the same struggles as their mid-size and smaller brethren. They’ve been able to adopt the technologies necessary to retain their position as first in line for bespoke and “bet the farm” work.  

The remaining millions of small and mid-size firms need to carve out unique spaces for themselves in a highly competitive market. Now, you can arm yourself with the same sophisticated technology as the big firms without incurring the same hardships. Learn more about the value of incorporating eDiscovery into your firm’s service offerings by downloading the white paper Law Firm Technology: A Modern Asset for True Differentiation in the Legal Market. Find out why using today’s new generation of eDiscovery platforms is the differentiator you need to stay competitive. 

Jeffrey Wolff
Jeffrey Wolff joined ZyLAB as eDiscovery Director in May 2015 with over 20 years of experience in Information Systems and enterprise software. He has been involved in solution architecture, design, and implementation for major projects within the Department of Defense and Fortune 1000 corporations. Prior to joining ZyLAB, Jeffrey held senior positions within firms specializing in Microsoft SharePoint and enterprise search solutions, so he has vast technical knowledge in the fundamentals of information management and eDiscovery.

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