If you work in an in-house legal department, chances are you’ve already started to confront the question of whether to handle your eDiscovery workflow “insource” or outsource it to a qualified service provider. If you’ve done all of the homework, conducted all of the analysis and decided to bring your eDiscovery in-house . . . now what?
As with most business challenges, the hard part is the execution.
To help in-house legal professionals understand the practical landscape of bringing eDiscovery in-house – as well as provide them with some pointers on how to achieve this goal in a way that is affordable – LexisNexis sponsored a webinar with EDRM, a guidelines and standards organization that creates practical resources to improve eDiscovery and information governance.
The panelists identified five key pointers for bringing everyday eDiscovery inside your organization:
1. Build appetite for change
Many of us fear change, to one degree or another. Once the decision to bring eDiscovery in-house is announced to your employees, it’s likely to create confusion, trepidation and perhaps even some anxiety about being displaced. It’s important to build the internal appetite for change by focusing on the strategic objectives and the long-term benefit to the organization. Then focus on finding, developing and supporting the people who will drive this change by managing your internal workflow.
2. Identify barriers to progress
The panelists pointed out the importance of flagging the specific challenges that are likely to stand in the way of bringing eDiscovery in-house. For many companies, the greatest barrier is the ability to smoothly adapt to the new workflow processes you will put in place. In these organizations, it’s essential to develop and implement processes that are well-defined, can be easily repeated until they become routine, and will hold up under testing for quality assurance.
3. Maintain momentum with workflow transition
Some organizations do a great job at building the appetite for change by developing the right people, exceling at navigating major barriers to progress by implementing well-defined workflow processes and then . . . see the implementation momentum just come to a screeching halt as soon as inertia sets in. The most important way to maintain momentum is to secure management-level buy-in from the outset and then stay connected with those administrators throughout the transition. The panelists suggested the best way to obtain and maintain this buy-in is the old-fashioned way: point to the impact of eDiscovery costs on the company’s litigation budget and emphasize the potential cost savings and/or risk management advantages of bringing eDiscovery in-house.
4. Stay flexible with possible hybrid approach
The speakers noted that “eDiscovery” is not just a single holistic process, but in fact a dynamic workflow with a dozen or so individual components. It’s important to remember that the in-house vs. outsource debate is really just a discussion of the extremes; many organizations have found great success with handling certain pieces in-house and outsourcing other pieces that can be done at a lower cost and/or greater efficiency by third-party service providers. Avoid locking yourself into one approach and close your mind to a more flexible hybrid model, even after you start down the path of bringing eDiscovery in-house.
5. Pick the right tech partners
The speakers agreed that a “make or break” factor with successfully bringing everyday eDiscovery in-house is choosing and implementing the most appropriate eDiscovery technologies to make it all possible. In particular, make sure that you’re working with technology partners that have all of the latest industry certifications for data security and information systems (e.g., ISO 27001:2013). Vendors with the highest levels of data security capabilities will not only provide your organization with greater confidence in how your confidential data is being handled, but also provide your senior management team with reassurance that the new in-house workflow is minimizing risk exposure.
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The decision to bring eDiscovery in-house is a tough one, but once that call has been made, the truly hard work has just begun. Focusing on a few key tactical considerations –and then taking one step at a time – can make the journey far less difficult.
- Meghan Brosnahan, director of eDiscovery services for Sutter Health;
- Alon Israely, director of strategic partnerships at BIA; and
- David Popham, eDiscovery and Litigation Management Specialist at LexisNexis.
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