So You’ve Decided on Managed Services for E-Discovery … Now What?

More and more firms are making the move to a Managed Services environment for E-Discovery.  Specifically, firms are entering into multi-year contracts with committed levels of spend for processing and hosting.  There are number of compelling reasons – steeply discounted rates, mitigating the risk of hosting client data, getting access to best-in-class software, obtaining true disaster recovery, avoiding capital expenditure in firm infrastructure, etc.

When it comes time to negotiate with a provider, the following are a number of items you will want to address within your contract:

Are there SLAs with penalties for non-compliance?
While most contracts have identified service levels, make sure there is “teeth” to the guarantees with financial penalties for non-compliance.

Make sure your data is not held hostage.
In the unfortunate event of canceling a contract, how much of a burden of time and expense is there to get your data out of the service provider’s environment?

Try to get software flexibility.  
One of the main reasons for choosing a Managed Services provider is to avoid the technology obsolescence of “going it alone” internally.  As it is a multi-year contract, you will want to make sure there is access to future best-in-class software or additional modules (analytics, review tools, etc.).

Make sure there is a detailed disaster recovery plan with a committed time-frame for fail-over.
Again, a critical aspect for choosing Managed Services … what is the guaranteed up-time and timeline for case restoration?

Obtain rates for “bursting” beyond the allocated users and storage.
Are there temporary “bursting” overages priced in your contract, or are you pushed into the next “tier” of pricing?

Identify any fees for off-lining or archiving cases.
While everybody pays attention to user and storage allotments, identify any hidden fees outside your purchased “tier” of software and infrastructure.

Are there additional fees such as Project Management or Tech Time billed at an hourly level?
Understand the true cost of ownership for managing and running your environment.

Mattern & Associates assists law firms in the process of choosing a service provider, negotiating the pricing and contractual terms, and monitoring compliance over the life of the term.  As well, Mattern creates charge-back models for these services in-line with firm goals and accepted industry practices.  If you are considering a Managed Services contract, reach out to Mattern & Associates to see how their expertise can help you.