Law Firm Best Practices: Leverage the Right eDiscovery Partner to Help Clients Navigate Today’s Challenging Business Environment
by Ken Neal
September 23, 2020
At the beginning of 2020, businesses of all sizes had to find a way to deal with a global pandemic and a financial crisis at the same time. The challenges were significant, driven by critical needs such as restricting budgets, ensuring regulatory compliance and improving data security as virtually overnight millions of employees shifted to working from home.
Related to these challenges, enterprises also need to maintain their discovery readiness. Otherwise, they will not be prepared to respond effectively to pending litigation and legal investigations. Key to this readiness is working closely with internal and outside counsel to plan and implement appropriate solutions in order to meet discovery obligations.
Within this scenario, law firms need to maximize their eDiscovery services capabilities in order to help clients manage their discovery-readiness in today’s volatile business environment. One essential element of meeting this goal is to team with the right eDiscovery services provider. What constitutes a fitting partner? At a basic level such a provider offers years of experience helping law firms and corporate counsel deal with a full scope of discovery and evolving regulatory requirements. For example, Canon Discovery has helped clients comply with the EU’s Privacy Directive, investigate data breaches, assess and mitigate data management risks and implement defensible, cost-effective discovery response plans.
Leveraging the Right Partner
Leveraging the expertise of an experienced eDiscovery services provider better positions a law firm to help clients solve a variety of business- and discovery-related challenges associated with the current business climate. Some of these challenges include the following:
- In many cases organizational budgets have been significantly reduced due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by engaging with a law firm backed by an eDiscovery provider that can deliver efficient and cost-effective solutions, cutting the corporate budget doesn’t necessarily mean having to sacrifice quality litigation support services.
- Law firms can provide enhanced support to clients by helping them develop continuity plans for handling litigation and eDiscovery in comprehensive and defensible ways.
- Teaming with the right partner enables legal professionals to centralize eDiscovery services rather than contracting with multiple providers to manage data collection and review phases.
- Companies still have the same burden as before the pandemic when it comes to meeting regulatory requirements for records retention and identifying legally relevant information. Experienced services providers like Canon can provide recommendations and implement effective records management practices as well as establish procedures that help mitigate risk and ensure consistent discovery practices.
- The large number of employees working from home increases risk. This is due to workers potentially generating and storing documents locally and/or forgetting to connect to company systems. Risk also increases as more employees manage business activities by utilizing non-enterprise communication tools such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and other chat applications. These are just a few examples that can affect the preservation and collection requirements parties will bear in discovery requests. Discovery services providers that take a holistic approach to helping law firms and their clients deploy solutions that span people, process and technology can help contain many of these risks.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic, personal interaction with clients has greatly diminished. For example, while it may not be practical to personally interview custodians for case-related matters, approaches like using well-written custodian questionnaires can provide useful alternatives. Also, since many content management systems are now cloud-based, data can be stored, accessed and shared remotely.
- Knowledgeable and experienced eDiscovery providers can help firms leverage data analytics and online legal document processing, hosting and review tools to cull large amounts of irrelevant data early in the process. Doing so can greatly streamline downstream eDiscovery processes like attorney review while increasing accuracy and quality.
Canon Can Help
Canon Discovery has a long history of supplementing legal staff in many areas within law firms and corporate legal departments. We leverage seasoned professionals to backfill positions (possibly including litigation support) so that case teams have the support they need to navigate complex litigation matters.
Our teams can assist you in critical areas like document processing and hosting as well as remote data collection and review. In fact, remote document collection capabilities have never been more important with so many corporate legal department and law offices still closed or operating at a diminished capacity. Utilizing eDiscovery providers that do not require direct involvement by the custodians is virtually essential for success today.
We also help firms avoid delays in ingesting, processing and producing electronically stored information. While small amounts of data can easily be transferred online, larger datasets typically require personnel onsite to collect and directly copy the data. Canon offers a local and safe environment with local personnel to handle such requests.
Finally, Canon Discovery has the capability to augment in-house and law firm litigation support resources by deploying our dedicated team across the entire discovery cycle. This includes:
- Predictable pricing models
- Diverse expertise/complex matter handling
- Extensive knowledge across leading industry technologies
- Layered support redundancies