A few short years ago, eDiscovery was thought of as a luxury accessible only to big law firms with the resources to invest in considerable infrastructure.
While the need clearly existed for firms of all sizes, legal industry observers like Craig Ball (“E-Discovery for Everybody,” 2009) and Tom O’Connor (“Electronic Discovery for Small Cases,” 2012) wondered how small firms could possibly afford to perform eDiscovery on small to medium-size cases.
As is often the case with evolving technologies, the eDiscovery market has gradually been democratized.
Today, small firms can not only effectively conduct complex eDiscovery, but these firms actually possess advantages when competing with their larger counterparts. With no legacy software and processes in place, small and solo lawyers can often adapt more quickly to today’s technical challenges in eDiscovery. That includes embracing second and third generation software that was built to specifically address those challenges.
This guide outlines some key considerations for anyone starting their eDiscovery software purchase journey. It also includes an editable, two-page software comparison chart with vital questions to ask any potential software provider.
Think about what you need.
When considering your eDiscovery technology needs, be sure to take a holistic view of the litigation process. Alas, it does not begin and end with discovery. There will likely be data collection and file processing needs to be aware of on the front end, as well as post-production data management concerns (depositions, transcripts, expert testimony, etc) on the back end.
Scrutinize how any eDiscovery or document review software intersects with those two operations on the litigation timeline. Managing the data flow across these milestones can require multiple vendors, and most often add time, complexity and cost to the overall project.
Each eDiscovery platform comes with its own set of strengths and limitations. Each may allow you to perform more or less ‘heavy lifting’ of data across that litigation continuum.
Some are one-trick ponies designed to address isolated segments of the eDiscovery process, while others offer a more end-to-end solution. It’s important to know exactly which tasks you need your software to accomplish, and how it will gel with your desired workflows.