Last November, Ralph Losey penned a compelling article discussing the "Five Reasons to Outsource Litigation Support" and how the model works well for his firm. He makes some very valid arguments as to why some firms might outsource these services, specifically pointing to issues of core competency, complexity, cost, risk, and ethics. For some firms, outsourcing these services is absolutely the correct answer. However, for many firms (like Reed Smith), keeping select litigation support services in-house, aka insourcing, can provide substantial benefits and cost savings to corporate clients.
In today's legal landscape, law firms are constantly looking for ways to provide quality and value for clients, who are seeking greater predictability and reductions in their legal spend. One area that's virtually impossible to overlook is e-discovery , which can consume upwards of 18 percent of an organization's total legal expenditure.
One of the ways Reed Smith has seized this market opportunity is by insourcing e-discovery services within our litigation support department. It has greatly contributed to our goal of offering the reductions and predictability in legal spend our clients seek. We do not internalize every facet of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model; in fact we take a hybrid approach to e-discovery services, utilizing preferred e-discovery vendors to handle heavy lifting and overflow work when necessary. These vendors are an essential extension of our firm's service model, employing some of the most intelligent folks in the industry. Internally, we're focused on a few main services that we believe can be done at an equal or higher quality than vendors, and at a lower cost to clients.
Here are six reasons for law firms to insource litigation support:
1. Cost savings for clients
Excluding trial, the most expensive phase of litigation cases can be the storage and review of discoverable evidence. These costs are soaring, with no end in sight as companies continue to increase the amount of electronically stored information. In fact, according to a 2011 State Of Storage Survey by InformationWeek, the average annual rate of data growth across all enterprises is 20 percent per year, "and we see a long tail of besieged IT staffs dealing with growth rates exceeding 50 percent."
To reduce e-discovery storage costs, Reed Smith has invested in a large and robust Relativity environment within our state-of-the-art data center co-located with a leading technology company. As a result, we're able to provide a much lower-cost hosting option to clients than most vendors, while utilizing a cutting-edge facility. Our facility routinely passes strict security audits conducted by both independent auditors and some of our largest Fortune 100 clients. Along with Relativity, we utilize Equivio to group email threads and perform data analytics. By integrating these two tools, we're often able to minimize and target the most relevant data in half the time of traditional review methods.
According to a 2012 report from the RAND Corporation, approximately 73 percent of e-discovery expenditures can be attributed to document review. Our Records & E-Discovery (RED) attorneys offer creative solutions for combating high review costs. In comparison with the time it takes a traditional contract review team and a secondary team to review documents, our RED team can review the same documents in less time and at a lower cost in one quality pass, with QC. Couple the aforementioned technologies with our highly skilled RED team, and we typically are saving clients 25 percent to 75 percent on document review and hosting costs.
Many litigation support teams consist of professionals who have a cross section of e-discovery experience in both the law firm and vendor setting. For example, at Reed Smith, our data hosting and processing team handled the same services as e-discovery vendors and other Am Law firms in the past. Additionally, half the members of our litigation support team have vendor backgrounds in e-discovery consulting, project management, and courtroom presentation. Ultimately, this provides a deeper breadth of experience for clients.
Having an internal group that can offer more comprehensive expertise and longevity than a vendor fosters synergistic utility. Our litigation support group doesn't just follow instructions like many vendors, but instead proactively helps clients tailor more cost-effective e-discovery solutions.
Lawyers can walk down the hall and have in-person discussions with their local litigation support team member about a project, and can converse candidly about legal technology strategy. They do not have to wait for a vendor to assemble its team for a conference call. This saves time and provides peace of mind, pointing back to quality and value.