I spend a lot of time in Music City. On a recent trip I stopped by Hattie B’s to try their famous Nashville hot chicken. I placed my order with a guy while he simultaneously jammed to a rock anthem. After hearing my Western Pennsylvania accent, he warned me off of the hottest flavor – “Shut the Cluck Up”. The food came out fast, really hot, and delicious.
The key to great eDiscovery is the same as great Nashville hot chicken: repeatable excellence. Anybody can make a good dinner once. Restaurants like Hattie B’s become local legends by knowing how to deliver a great meal every time. (more…)
To ensure value, eDiscovery projects should look to both provide a compelling narrative to the trial team, as well as continuously improve case outcomes by facilitating case management.
The goal of eDiscovery should be to provide value in enabling better client outcomes. As we talked about last week, value implies more than just a defensible production, which is the bare minimum. Value from eDiscovery comes in two additional ways: (a) providing a compelling case narrative as work product after the review, and (b) facilitating the trial team’s interaction with the data by a thorough understanding of the needs. Last week, we talked about why this is important. This week, we will cover some practical impediments that exist in the eDiscovery industry at large, and then cover some practical solutions to the challenge of providing better eDiscovery value.
Impediments to Facilitating Better Outcomes
Why has so much of the eDiscovery industry stopped short of delivering real client value?
Part of the answer is that eDiscovery’s intrinsic nature as a “manufacturing process” activity has been poorly understood across the legal industry, directly leading to high costs and inconsistent results. Stated differently, if each eDiscovery project is treated as a special snowflake, ignoring that eDiscovery is a repeatable process, the variability of the results/outcomes will get the attention. If eDiscovery is seen clearly as a manufacturing process, however, process deviations will get the attention. (more…)
To be valuable, eDiscovery needs to ensure the greatest usability of all data reviewed and produced. Every dollar spent should buy more than mere compliance; it should buy valuable case insights.
While it is easy to focus on making a defensible document production, eDiscovery should not stop there. This post is going to discuss why it is critical to focus on providing value in eDiscovery by giving the trial team a compelling case narrative and making it easier for them to uncover the key facts. Next week’s post will get practical on how it can be done.
What is the “Outcome Economy”?
For several years our eDiscovery Group has been working on bringing more value to the document review process. Recently, I read a book that shed a fresh light on this issue with a modern parallel. (more…)
So what are we suggesting?
We have covered a lot of ground over the past five LeanDiscoveryTM blogs (and our one guest blog). Let’s pause to consider how the concepts we’ve discussed enable us to address what our collective expectations for eDiscovery should be. If you are new to this conversation, this will summarize where we have been so far.
Our core mission as an eDiscovery team is simple: to enable better client outcomes. That is our singular goal for effective eDiscovery and should be what our clients expect. To enable better client outcomes, we rely on three interrelated principles: strong foundation, (process and project management); coordinated teamwork (experience and concentration); and clear value (getting beyond compliance). (more…)
Why are we settling for less than exceptional eDiscovery results?
My guiding principle for eDiscovery is simple: eDiscovery always must deliver exceptional value to the client. A general counsel purchasing eDiscovery services should expect nothing less than tangible, identifiable and measurable value. As a trial lawyer first, I see real value as equating to meaningfully better client outcomes. (more…)
How do we keep our focus on the case objectives throughout the eDiscovery cycle?
A trial team is focused, first and foremost, on the outcome of the actual litigation. To be valuable, the eDiscovery costs must directly advance the overall case objectives. We believe that you maximize the impact of the client’s eDiscovery spend, and ensure eDiscovery’s contribution to the desired outcome, by making the eDiscovery team a natural extension of the trial team. (more…)
This week, I wrote a guest blog on the criticality of the eDiscovery supply chain. Just like a modern factory, the modern eDiscovery project requires the close coordination of key partners who provide a variety of services. This guest blog, found here, covers this important point and explores the ways eDiscovery can be improved by incorporating valuable lessons from the manufacturing industry. eDiscovery requires great process design, exceptional project management, first rate experience and vetted, value-adding partners.
What is required to make eDiscovery maximally efficient?
My oldest son is currently practicing his clarinet because he wants to go to a local magnet school. Practice makes perfect has become a consistent refrain in my household. While he doesn’t always enjoy the practice, he knows that it’s essential to achieve his goal.
The “muscle memory” that comes from relentless practice is equally important to eDiscovery. Experience supplements process to enable effective project management. “EDiscovery muscle memory” manifests itself as better judgment, smarter problem-solving and an eye for increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Experience is created by the “practice” of seeing more IT systems, using more technology, running more projects and taking ownership of more review processes.
In other words, experience matters in eDiscovery. (more…)
Who is responsible for managing an eDiscovery project?
My brother, Jason, is an experienced project manager who also happens to be building a new house. In this age of social media, I can watch the progress of his house on a private Facebook page, even though it is 2,500 miles away.
Frankly, I can’t imagine having him as a client, and I mean that in a very positive way.
Jason is the perfect storm for his general contractor. He’s a great handyman and has all the necessary skills to build his new home by himself. Also, as a project manager he’s developed many detailed plans and schedules for completing complex projects. He checks in on the progress of construction every single day and makes notes of where everything stands.
Most importantly, Jason absolutely owns the project. He is unabashed about standing up for schedule compliance, the construction budget and the quality of the work. In this “simple” residential construction project, he makes sure everything is going according to the process he defined with the general contractor before work started. His diligence has paid off. (more…)
Why another eDiscovery Blog?
As an eDiscovery group, we read just about every other eDiscovery blog out there. There is already plenty of material covering the case law development, espousing more technological adoption and discussing the most recent legal themes. Also, there are already numerous places for the eDiscovery professional to find resources to utilize in his or her practice.
What’s missing – and in our opinion, sorely needed – is a frank dialogue about the weaknesses prevalent in this industry and practical ways to fix them. We decided to start this blog to share our thoughts on meaningful cost reduction and ways of gaining more value out of the eDiscovery process. The blogs will be accessible to all consumers of eDiscovery services, but will primarily be directed at corporate legal departments and focus on the underlying reasons why eDiscovery has proven resistant to cost reduction.