Along with a group of more senior lawyers and a director of operations in various WilmerHale offices, the firm employs 60 document review lawyers in Dayton.
New York-based Steven Berrent, managing director of WilmerHale Discovery Solutions, said the firm brought advanced technology from Recommind in-house to increase the efficiency in which the firm managed matters and to save clients money.
The firm still uses vendors, as some clients have strong relationships with vendors, Berrent said. But clients have the option to use the technology the firm has invested in and become familiar with, he said. WilmerHale Discovery Solutions only works on matters in which the law firm is engaged as counsel.
"We're not looking to drum up business just for Discovery Solutions," Berrent said.
Because of the increased volume of data in the discovery space, the distance between the merits counsel who uses that data at trial and the discovery of those facts has grown. In the paper days, Berrent said, the person who looked at all of the documents was the same one who ultimately took depositions, wrote briefs and went to trial.
"A commoditized view of document review removes the people most interested in the facts from the discovery of those facts," Berrent said.
While the firm realizes things can't go back to the paper days, Berrent said senior attorneys can leverage technology to become more familiar with the facts. Berrent said bringing work in-house is a financial and time investment that is admittedly hard to do.
"No one will criticize for just pushing it all out," Berrent said. "The problem or question for us is, at some point you have to have an understanding of the facts. We'd rather be more involved with that."
Underlying any conversation about e-discovery is the concern over growing costs for clients. But law firms and vendors are not charities and there are billions of dollars at stake in this space. Read Friday's installment of Discovery Dollars in The Legal to see who can get a piece of the estimated $5 billion pie.