Discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) now is a standard part of commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution. As a result, there has been a rapid and robust growth in the number of companies offering ESI collection, management and processing services. Although increased competition and consumer choice generally are positive for law firms and their clients, in-house counsel and executive decision-makers should recognize that this quick and recent boom in the e-vending industry also can result in a kind of “gold rush” factor, thereby flooding the industry with vendors that lack corporate training, experience, equipment and/or software to properly handle clients’ data and the needs and demands of electronic discovery. Recognizing and steering clear of these under- or unqualified vendors is a critical step in the e-vendor selection process.
Before choosing an e-vendor for your discovery needs, you should engage in a structured due diligence effort to determine the right company for the specific case at hand. Some areas of inquiry to explore include:
4. The e-vendor’s customer service
- How are the cases managed and staffed?
- Can the vendor accommodate the level of work intensity that you require? Do you expect your team to be working 24/7, and, if so, can the vendor support that level of work intensity?
- How much lead time, if any, is required for collection, processing and production work?
- How available are the vendor representatives during off-hours?
- Will there be a primary point of contact person?
5. The e-vendor’s quality of services