by Stephen Cole
When it comes to practicing litigation, the use of technology is no longer optional. What is optional, however, is under which business model firms deliver this service to their clients, and how to determine which model balances the most value — to the client and the firm. On the firm side, a persuasive consideration is the opportunity to recover for these costs. Here’s more as to how, why and what we are seeing in the market.
In-House Model Trends
Some firms are offering litigation support (e-discovery) capabilities to their clients via several different service-delivery models. These capabilities often rival those of third-party service providers, with offerings ranging from Early Case Assessment (ECA), to processing and review with the use of data analytics. As firms have standardized tool sets in support of their overall practice, the use of “case-based” transactional agreements with third-party service providers no longer makes sense.
Instead, firms are leveraging their spend by investing directly in the tools and infrastructure in-house to support multiple clients, or committing time and money to a managed service agreement that allows them to cost-effectively and consistently support all cases using an identified third party. This allows their attorneys to work in a consistent manner, while offering the same high level of professional service to all clients (not just the large cases that may have justified the use of technology in the past). By leveraging the overall spend, the firm can pass along significant savings to clients when compared with the transactional models in the marketplace for years.
Managed Service Model Trends
Another delivery method we see gaining traction in engagements involves firm staff utilizing a third party for software and infrastructure in a managed services arrangement. This requires an annual commitment of spend, thereby differentiating it from transactional case-based pricing models that vendors have offered for years. Additionally, firms are looking to these third parties with certified data centers in order to mitigate the risk of hosting client data on firm infrastructure. Client scrutiny at the beginning of an engagement continues to increase, with many firms finding it favorable to shift the infrastructure requirements to the experts. This still results in significantly discounted pricing when compared with transactional engagements, and allows the attorneys to build a client pitch that involves a market-leading solution, savings, and the transparency of third-party “hard costs.”
Read the full article: Law Journal Newsletters: Selling the Value of Litigation Support September 2017