As we wrote in our last article, some law firms have created their own in-house or captive e-discovery service providers to support their attorneys. Firms that have adopted this strategy believe that their in-house e-discovery groups increase accountability to the client, improve performance and reduce client costs, while providing an opportunity to enhance firm revenue. These law firm groups give in-house counsel an alternative to outside e-discovery vendors, which which may rely on less efficient cost structures and limit their liability via contracts. (Law firms must be insured, thus providing an added measure of accountability.)
Law firms that have successfully adopted this model have done so because they know their strengths and, perhaps more importantly, their limitations. This is not a model for firms to learn on the job with client interests hanging in the balance. There is no black-box toolkit on the market that firms can simply buy to enable them to offer in-house e-discovery services. The following is an assessment of the steps a firm must take to successfully offer clients e-discovery services and achieve the “win-win” model. In-house counsel should be cognizant of these requirements when shopping around for a partner firm.