4. Demand centralized vendor management and billing to monitor spending on a real-time basis.
It is far easier to avoid a needless expense than to negotiate discounts after the fact. Thus, you should be proactive with your vendors regarding roles and rewards for cost savings. You should also escalate to a real-time billing review process, involving national discovery counsel from the outset, to identify potential areas of mission drift and waste before they escalate. This proactive approach to vendor relationships can save millions of dollars in significant litigation and investigation events.
5. Don't delegate legal issues to nonlegal service providers.
As recent ethics opinions from the District of Columbia make clear, there are significant nondelegable roles for lawyers to play in handling discovery and investigations for corporations. Of course, there are substantial obvious advantages to involving legal counsel in the discovery process, including the direct applicability of the attorney-client privilege and the ability to sign pleadings and make representations as officers of the court. Moreover, while nonlegal service providers are critically important to the efficient provision of discovery services, many of their employees are not lawyers and do not fully understand the litigation process, and other employees who do have law degrees do not have the experience and ability to stand up in court when needed. Having national discovery counsel at the helm and up to speed reduces any need for multiple counsel to learn secondhand from vendors what was done (which can further lead to wasteful second-guessing). National discovery counsel also provides an independent view as to the legal defensibility of processes and technologies offered by any given vendor at the outset rather than when questions arise later. A best practices approach is the creation of a team that blends the best expertise, technology and process from all of the service providers and law firms involved in defending your company in "big ticket" litigation.
Jonathan Redgrave is a founding partner of Redgrave LLP and has spent the past two decades providing advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies in the context of e-discovery, global records and information management, and data privacy. Redgrave is a chair emeritus of The Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production.
This article originally appeared in The Recorder.