Why is it so hard to make eDiscovery affordable?
The American Bar Association published a couple of useful guides on low-cost eDiscovery recently, one by Bruce Olson and another by Tom O’Connor, both well-known litigation and eDiscovery experts. The general thrust of these articles is that lawyers can and should take advantage of the reasonably priced or free software tools available to help them manage small to mid-sized cases in eDiscovery. Both articles prominently mention Nextpoint’s Discovery Cloud and Trial Cloud litigation services, so we obviously agree with everything these articles have to say. Well, almost.
We’ve been promoting the idea of low-cost eDiscovery for years. When Craig Ball, a well-known eDiscovery expert and pundit, issued a challenge to the industry to make low-cost eDiscovery possible, Nextpoint was the only vendor we know of to successfully respond. (See our response in Nextpoint Takes the EdNA Challenge, Part I, Part II, and Part III.)
Changing Our Tune, a Little
We agree with Bruce and Tom that there are inexpensive software solutions that make it possible to manage small and medium sized cases for a reasonable cost. However, managing Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in litigation will always be complicated because of the concerns in protecting privilege, maintaining chain of custody, reviewing millions of records, producing data to opposing counsel, and all of the legal challenges.
We want lawyers to come to us, sign up, and start using our software. But these articles might give lawyers the impression that making eDiscovery affordable is just a matter of throwing low-cost software at the problem. The problem with cobbling together a home-built solution is that it means the small firm attorney is also the IT manager. That’s not a position any lawyer wants to be in.
Nextpoint has been serving small and mid-sized firms in eDiscovery for almost a decade. Many of our clients manage entire cases with our litigation software with no help from us. But we have also seen that discovery for large volumes of data also leads to unforeseeable complications. It is not a big deal for most tech savvy lawyers to upload PST files collected from an email archive into our system. But once data sets become more complicated than that, there are inevitably new file types that can’t be accessed without special support or technical glitches that make discovery more difficult. That’s when you need to know that your vendor has full-time, around the clock customer support to resolve technical issues. If you don’t, an opponent will pounce on a technical glitch and possibly have your best evidence invalidated.
Nextpoint not only has customer support, but our software is 100 percent owned and supported by the company. We do not resell services- our development team built and maintains the applications we offer. That means we can not only help you with any technical challenges that arise, but we are often able to create custom solutions for customers with unique legal and technical challenges. That’s the kind of support no freeware downloaded from the Net can ever offer.