As I've stated in this column before, much of my experience as a GC managing litigation stems from large-scale, document-intensive tobacco cases that were often multi-district, large class actions, or other complex cases of extended duration and broad discovery. For these suits, my legal team continually analyzed the best approaches for our litigation support including the technology best suited to provide that support. The needs of the organization, the legal team and the litigation itself are main considerations each time a thorough technology analysis is conducted.
There once was a time when having an internal system to manage all litigation technology needs was the best choice, but those times have gradually shifted. Now with the tremendous influx of data and need for larger litigation support teams, it is not as advantageous to always use an internal system. From my experience, some of the key reasons for choosing an external Web-based hosted litigation support system are listed below.
The majority of litigation application providers are able to customize client systems, either at an additional cost or included in the monthly contract. Since you won't know in the beginning of the litigation what features and capabilities you will need for the life of the case, it is beneficial to have the ability to make adjustments as the litigation progresses. For e-discovery projects, for example, opposing counsel may add additional production requests that weren't required in the beginning of the case, but are imperative at a later stage. Being able to include these new production features or other types of features to your existing online review system enables you to meet the demands of your discovery request and not have to wait for a custom internal tool to be developed.
With an external Web-based system, users can collaborate instantly on one set of the most current data, eliminating duplication. Internal and external teams working on a case can access the same information regardless of where they are and the time of day.