The heightened IQ of vendors in this space is driving much of the move to the managed services model, Cowen said. A few years ago, firms would buy a software program and there would be no one to tell them how to use it. Now there are companies that can manage the entire e-discovery process, he said.
Before 2004, vendors were focused on getting into the law firms, Cowen said. From 2004 to 2012, they were focused on penetrating the corporate market. Now the vendors have a clear understanding of what the corporate market needs, he said.
"We're at the beginning of the middle of the e-discovery service model," Cowen said.
Early on, it was chaotic, and now there is more clarity on how to handle it and why. Technology and, more specifically, predictive coding, were tipping points there, he said.
What is clear from all involved in figuring out these questions of delivery models, wherever they may fall on the spectrum, is that there is no right answer and no one would be judged for sending the work to vendors.
However, some area firms have opted not to send out the work. And each firm with its own e-discovery arm has its own approach.
Read about the variety of approaches firms have taken from insourcing to divesting the e-discovery process in Thursday's Legal.