Posted by: johnocunningham | February 6, 2017

E-Discovery: Encroachments on One More Piece of Law Firm Turf

As if law firms did not have enough competition, statistics show an increasing outflow of e-discovery work going to firms that specialize in technology solutions for litigation tasks.

Thus, law firms have to make a strategic decision now on whether to outsource their own e-discovery work to pass on efficiency savings to clients or compete with the outsource providers on efficiency and results.

They also have a challenge to meet in communicating the results of their strategic decisions to clients in order to convince clients that they are getting the best, most thoughtful solution to their needs.

A recent blog post by Dan Meyers, asserting that law firms are not the preferred one-stop e-discovery solution for clients, summarizes the case for outsourcing, but the future has yet to be definitively written on this subject.

E-discovery, like many other aspects of legal service, is rapidly evolving, and law firms have to decide whether to defend this piece of turf, or let it go so that they can focus on defending and owning the strategic ground where they are clearly at their best in providing superior value for clients.

If large law firms can establish e-discovery practices that are truly world class, those practices (which will ultimately look more like operating divisions of a company) may be able to attract work from other law firms, especially smaller ones looking for mutual referrals, who have chosen to outsource this work. Law firms that can effectively operate and innovate in the e-discovery space will also be able to attract direct hiring by some corporate clients who are parceling out pieces of litigation work, thereby gaining an opportunity to get more work from those clients.

Firm leaders need to make up their minds now on what kind of work they want to do, what they don’t want to do, and how they will communicate those decisions to clients.

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