Digital Justice: How Partners can drive a growth agenda with the right eDiscovery service provider
Amid a thick climate of client apprehension higher and an increasingly saturated eDiscovery market, discover how investing wisely in the right eDiscovery services could be the key to driving an effective growth agenda for your legal team.
Striving for growth amid a climate of caution
While the reasons may alter from year to year, for most litigation teams the situation remains the same – despite wanting to attract as many clients as possible, and despite putting in some of the highest working hours of any sector, client acquisition remains an uphill slog.
Currently, the timid atmosphere among prospective clients and customers is down to a number of large factors that have gradually been growing more volatile as of late.
The digital disruption of the disclosure process continues to streamline and transform legal best practices, and while on the one hand this means that legal partners can unlock new operational efficiencies and empower their staff to work more effectively, accurately and profitably, it also raises apprehensions.
Client vigilance: a double-edged sword
As technology continues to reduce and replace human labour, clients become more demanding and their expectations more rigid, all while the acceptable margin for error slowly edges closer towards nonexistence.
And as if wanting a more improved, value-added experience from their legal services wasn’t enough, clients have also grown increasingly conscious of the sensitivity of litigation data, with everyone from Adobe to the NHS being victim to very damaging and very public breaches of cybersecurity in recent years.
But that old adage about opportunity coming from the midst of chaos rings true here.
While there is more pressure than ever on litigation teams and the legal sector as a whole, that also means that firms offering eDiscovery services in parallel with their disputes services can deliver greater value than their competitors – granted if you do it right (but we’ll come to that shortly).
The growth of eDiscovery in numbers
Regardless of whether your firm currently combines disclosure with technology, eDiscovery uptake is growing at a rate that legal teams would be foolish to not take note of.
Reports have predicted the global eDiscovery market to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10% (ranging between £5-11 billion) until 2023, and Robert Half Legal has stated that in the coming years, litigation is the area of legal practice that will provide the most jobs for law professionals, dominated by those with demonstrable skills in litigation support and eDiscovery.
But the real question here is, will partners be able to leverage the expansion of eDiscovery services to fuel their own growth? Ultimately, that rests on their ability to use the most potent sales enablement tool in this current market: trust.
Competing for trust
With concerns around the apparent vulnerability of electronically stored information and digital data at an all-time high, proving your organisation to be fully deserving of the trust of your clients has never been more important.
Those who are investing in a technology-driven service like eDiscovery not only want to be sure that they’re using the most cost-effective and secure solution available, but they also want to be sure that the person they’re buying it off knows how it works down to the finest detail, so as to avoid any unwanted costs or sudden sinkholes in productivity.
Essentially, the best way to earn the trust of your clients and stand out is to outperform
competitors. That may sound like a lofty ambition, but when you consider the generally low levels of digital competency in law – which we discussed in this quick guide to digital transformation
– it suddenly appears viable. Just be sure to get ahead of the curve while those profitability gains are still within reach.
Enter your eDiscovery provider
The quickest way to gain that competitive advantage and start outperforming the competition is to enlist some third-party assistance, and invest in an ongoing relationship with a worthy eDiscovery vendor.
Driving a growth agenda means serving more clients in a value-added fashion, maximising productivity by managing your time and internal staff as effectively, and keeping operating costs down, so you can then in turn make more money, and grow and improve some more.
Achieving all of the above while internally training your team and investing in the tools and technologies required to carry out market-leading eDiscovery at the same time simply isn’t feasible.
Plus, as well as placing a strain on resources, by the time you’ve invested in training your team, upgrading your processes and implementing the tools and technologies you need to deliver a leading edge service and differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, a series of changes may have rendered your knowledge and software (which will likely have come at a significant cost) redundant.
By outsourcing these responsibilities to the right third-party provider, you can reap the rewards without these risks, and as whole enable your resources to go further, empowering your team to handle more cases and delight more clients with lower, more controllable operating costs.
Now you know that outsourcing eDiscovery is the best solution to drive your growth agenda, it’s time to learn how to assess which eDiscovery provider is right for you.
Finding the right eDiscovery provider
If you’ve read our blog on the qualities of an eDiscovery provider you can trust, then you will already know the key characteristics of a reliable vendor, and might also have a good idea of what to look for in a partner that you wish to help drive your growth agenda.
But, for the sake of clarity, we will quickly recap them for you here. The right eDiscovery provider will have…
Tailored, scalable solutions
There is no one-size-fits-all eDiscovery solution.
The right eDiscovery provider will take the time needed to achieve a thorough understanding of your team and its unique needs, internal dynamics and priorities. Then, they will tailor end-to-end solutions that match.
Your provider should also have the technological capability and infrastructure to accommodate sudden expansions in the scope of a given case – that means being able to handle an influx of additional users, as well as the capacity to process a surge of data and documentation without seeing any significant slump in productivity.
This ability to nimbly scale up (and down) as appropriate is also vital to keeping productivity high and costs low.
A strong reputation and track record
Want to know whether that prospective meeting with a potential provider is worthwhile? Look into how they fare in terms of repeat business and customer retention. Consistent turnover is a cause for concern – whether that’s across their team, or their client base.
Once you’ve looked at that, dig a bit deeper to find out whether they have a history of delivering projects on time and within budget.
Look for client testimonials on their website, or even email their current and former clients directly, and then investigate how long that client has been with them for. Don’t forget to also scour Google reviews and industry forums too.
Rapid responsiveness and round-the-clock support
What unit of measurement does the provider use to describe their response times? General hint: if it’s minutes, you’re dealing with a provider worth the investment.
To provide a market-leading service, you need a vendor that can be on hand to support you the very instant you need them, and that works on a basis of centring their support around your needs. You need a team of experts on-hand to help, with a specialist knowledge spanning both litigation and IT.
Leading edge tools from recognised software providers
We covered this topic in a bit more detail in our Competitor’s Checklist
, but from our perspective, these are three of the key system capabilities your eDiscovery needs if you want them to help effectively drive your growth agenda.
TAR – or Technology Assisted Review – dramatically streamlines the document review process by processing vast volumes of electronic case data and retrieving exclusively relevant documents, eliminating the need for your team to manually sift through piles of documents.
The accuracy of TAR also significantly reduces the probability of overcollection or undercollection, which allows eDiscovery teams to keep costs under control and consistently manage client expectations with accurate price quotes and a real value-added service.
Unlike the first iteration of TAR, TAR 2.0 can deliver its benefits out-the-box, and provides superior accuracy and efficiency, while TAR 1.0 requires a professional to train the system itself and set up its processes, which can leave it open to occasional delays on deliver and reduced accuracy.
With most key decision-makers in the litigation constantly working on the move, why settle for a stationary eDiscovery solution?
If you want to outperform your competitors, you can’t afford to be held up by sign off and approval logistics.
Overcome those productivity roadblocks and save your clients (and yourselves) time and money by empowering your team through cloud-based collaboration software, allowing your discovery team to progress with document review and litigation procedures anytime, anywhere.
Language ID and translation capabilities
Issues with language identification and translation are another common frustration that can drastically slow down the discovery process and lead to otherwise avoidable bottlenecks.
Many eDiscovery tools now come with machine learning capabilities that can automatically detect the language (or languages) of a given document on the fly, with as little as the click of a button.
When looking to work with an eDiscovery provider offering language ID and translation tools, shoot for one that supplements their tech with a domestically-based translation team, ideally comprised of native speakers with specific legal translation experience.