The world of eDiscovery can be a complex place, and there are several misconceptions that plague the industry. One of the most notable of these misconceptions is that the size of an eDiscovery company is a direct reflection of the quality of their work and the scope of their capabilities. While it may seem that because a company is large, sometimes even spanning into international territory, that they are the most capable of providing a supportive and defensible platform for cases that arise in the legal practice of eDiscovery; this is often not the case.
According to Michael Yager, Vice President of Research Data, Inc., “It never ceases to amaze me that there are many decision makers who equate size with quality, or defensibility.” With this in mind, it is important to note a few of the biggest problems that stem from working with these large e Discovery “mega-companies:”
- There are often layers of big firm structure to work through and project managers to consult. This is not always conducive to cost-efficiency
- Hosting fees for data storage can be extremely costly and many of these companies still retain pricing models that are somehow related to per gigabyte (GB) of data
- Software and hardware alone are simply not defensible; only a defensible protocol provides defensibility
So what does it mean when a large e-discovery provider offers tools as opposed to a personalized service, or the personal touch has become overwhelmed and absorbed by the large corporate structure? As stated by Yager, “These large national, and often international, companies carry with them the aura of success by virtue of their size alone. Yet many of them are involved in the legal malpractice cases stemming from some failure in eDiscovery.” A malpractice case be detrimental in terms of cost and reputation for law firms or corporations that do not have the monetary means to recover from being taken to court. In addition to running into malpractice issues due to lack of legal protocol knowledge, most smaller law firms and corporations who find themselves involved in issues due to said lack of knowledge have an extremely hard time getting support or assistance from large scale eDiscovery services. This is an issue that RDI addresses head on by providing services, not tools.
As said by Yager, “I always preach in the CLE’s (continuing legal education courses) that I offer attorneys, that there is no defensible hardware or software. Only a practice and protocol that speak to the law and associated due diligence are defensible.” This emphasis on practice and protocol over software and a customer service approach that tries to fit every case into a monolithic template is one aspect of RDI that truly set them apart from some of the larger e-discovery companies that sell themselves simply based on the size and aura around them. In conclusion, RDI is a small and nimble company that will answer the phone when their clients call, and still manages cases with their clients in a direct and simple manner, unencumbered by layers and layers of corporate protocol. The only protocol with which RDI is concerned is one that speaks directly to due diligence and defensibility.
What other problems might I run into with a large eDiscovery company?
Another issue that RDI sets out to solve has to do with hosting documents and data for law firms or companies and the fees associated with it. Hosting, when used in regards to the eDiscovery industry, refers to the process of storing data on the server of the eDiscovery company. Hosting fees can range anywhere from $15 to $250 a gigabyte. Now this may not sound like a lot, however if a case required fifty gigabytes of data to be stored for three to five years, which is not a rare occurrence in litigation, a firm or corporation would be looking at between $27,000 ($15/gb for 3 years) and $750,000 ($250/gb for 5 years) just in hosting fees. This fee, in addition to the other costs associated with eDiscovery services such as collection and processing fees, can really take a toll on the pockets of any client. RDI offers a simple solution: no hosting fees, ever.
e-Discovery is a complicated and complex subject that can be detrimental to law firms and corporations of all sizes if approached or handled in an inappropriate fashion.
Due to the fact that RDI has its own secure server that is constantly updated to accommodate the data that needs to be stored on it, they will never charge their clients any hosting fees. Not only does this help solidify RDI’s stance as being a service that is always there for their clients, it helps clients keep more money in their pockets as they can save considerably by taking advantage of the lack of RDI’s hosting fees, an aspect of e-discovery that is practically unheard of in the industry.
In conclusion, e-Discovery is a complicated and complex subject that can be detrimental to law firms and corporations of all sizes if approached or handled in an inappropriate fashion. All too often, the aforementioned firms and corporations can be found approaching the largest eDiscovery service providers they can find, thinking that this is the best response to the needs of a case.
RDI is here to help shift how the eDiscovery industry operates. As a small company with huge capabilities, RDI is able to work with clients one on one and ensure that they have the legal platform they need to be successful whatever the needs of their case. All in all, when it comes time to choose an eDiscovery company to go with, bigger is not always better.
About Author: Michael Yager
Michael Yager is a graduate of The College of William and Mary. His experiences include serving for the Department of Defense, on the corporate staff of Bell Howell Corporation in Chicago, and in law firms. Michael brings a holistic approach to solving one of the greatest challenges for corporations, law firms, and agencies in the Information Age–defensibility, reliability, and predictability. Michael brings over two decades of law firm experience with the last ten years invested exclusively in working at every level of eDiscovery. His most recent tenure was with a well-known Virginia law firm where he served as Director of eDiscovery.