Quantifying All of the Discovery Process

I was fortunate to spend time this past week at a two-day event with a number of in-house attorneys who have created a series of best practices related to record management and litigation holds. It was an educational experience, and it was very clear that the issues we discussed during our time had everyone's attention, more so than at any similar event I've previously attended.

Why? Because everyone is under economic pressures -- extreme pressures -- to cut the cost of litigation and show how they’re doing it. Most of these individuals have already implemented measures to reduce the volume of material prior to litigation ever being filed via document retention policies, records management, and issuing strategic litigation holds when there is litigation. Most talked about their repeatable processes, the software utilized … and the need to have quantifiable data. This information puts them in a position to budget what needs to be spent in order to reduce the volume of data to review. It was clear they have the front-end of the litigation process mapped out and that there was a comfort level with, or a good level of understanding of, those challenges. But this is why I wanted to attend the event.

These same themes -- repeatable processes, the ability to save money, and receiving quantifiable data -- are what we have created for the next steps in the litigation process, when the review is being organized and conducted and the discovery process is moving forward. We have spent the past three years working with clients across the country to mold the best practices when it comes to discovery -- providing a core team of experienced and quality attorneys working on all of a client’s discovery matters and quantifiable data about our team’s performance. This allows our clients to make smart decisions in real-time, justify decisions, and to save not just on one matter, but on all litigation matters moving forward. So when a business person asks his in-house counsel, "What is this going to cost me?" we put that in-house attorney in a position to be able to give a very accurate and detailed answer. We also allow them to proactively follow-up with, "And this is how we have reduced the cost and plan to reduce it even more going forward.”

There's little doubt that these in-house attorneys were seeking new ways to ease the financial pressures they are facing, and it was great to be part of such a collaborative event. Even better was that the more we spoke about the processes that are available and how there are some very real ways they can save money – and quantify it -- the higher their respective comfort levels rose.