Jackson Lewis national e-discovery counsel Ralph Losey recently decided to outsource the entire e-discovery process handled by the firm's litigation support staff. Instead, the firm focuses only on the legal issues surrounding e-discovery.
Losey said the business side of e-discovery will only become more of a money-maker, but not for law firms.
"I don't think the law firm should be in the business of making money from clients for selling legal services," Losey said. "Law firms don't have captive court reporter companies. I think the whole model of law firms being in a business is flawed."
Ancillary e-discovery work at law firms started out of necessity when there were no decent vendors. There are now plenty of good vendors, Losey said.
"I'm so glad to have my law firm stop doing a business and start focusing on law," Losey said. "It's a big headache I don't have to worry about and stops the question of how to make money."
While researching whether his firm should outsource nonlegal e-discovery services, Losey said he talked to a number of other law firms that told him they didn't really make money on their litigation support departments.
"The writing is on the wall. The litigation support departments of law firms are doomed," he said.
Losey admitted many people disagree with his view and argue vendors can't provide the same quality a team within a law firm could. But he called that view naive.
Losey said litigation support people won't be out of jobs, they will just be working with vendors. He predicted the litigation support teams at firms will be spun off as e-discovery vendors. That is essentially what Drinker Biddle did when it converted its litigation support team into the staff of Drinker Discovery Solutions.
Losey said e-discovery is a "booming growth area" with a lot of money to be made on the business side.