Selecting EDiscovery Vendors – Comparing Apples to Apples

Selecting the wrong Electronic Discovery vendor to handle your data or your client’s data can have dire consequences.  The mishandling of data by your vendor can result in loss of a client, reputation, court sanction, or all of the above.  Therefore, the vendor selection process should be carefully handled and thoroughly vetted.  The best way to compare vendors across the board is to request all candidate vendors to complete a standardized Request For Proposal (RFP).

Although pricing is important, it shouldn’t be the main criteria for selecting an Electronic Discovery vendor.  Selection criteria should entail the following factors:

  1. Geographic coverage

Do they just have regional offices or do they have national offices or even international offices?  Obviously, vendors with a global footprint will appeal more to large international corporations with potential E-Discovery work originating from various geographic regions.

  1. IT and physical security

What processes are in place to protect confidential client data?  Are they ISO certified?  Safe harbor certified?

  1. Breadth of services offered

What other services do they offer aside from standard data processing – (e.g. ECA, data forensics, data collection, hosting, project management, consulting, etc.)?

  1. Expertise/Experience of personnel

What information can they provide about the qualification of their technical group, project management group, and executive management group?  How long have they been in business? What kind of matters have they handled in the past?

  1. Pricing

What are their unit pricing for data collection, data processing, data production, data hosting, hourly tech time, and project management fees?

In addition to considering these factors, you should do the following:

Perform a site visit to see if what the vendor tells you about their operation is indeed true.  See what kind of physical security measures exist within the facility.

– Find out about their capacity, the most amount of work they can handle, and their throughput, how quickly they can accomplish the work.

Ask the vendor to process and host some sample data so that you can evaluate their work in a test environment before you hand over your data.

– Inquire if the vendor works with any third parties and if so, find out who they use so that you can make sure that the parties that they use are reputable, and not in conflict with you or your client.

Check your vendor’s references and obtain feedback from their clients to see how satisfied they are with the vendor’s work.

The vendor selection process can be difficult and complicated.  But if you take the time to carefully vet E-Discovery vendors, it could save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road.

By: ERIC AU

ABOUT TOWER AND THE AUTHOR

TOWER LEGAL SOLUTIONS AND TOWER CONSULTING SERVICES HAVE SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE THAT HAS PROVE TO HELP LAW FIRMS AND CORPORATIONS IDENTIFY AND HIRE HIGHLY SKILLED CANDIDATES.  TOWER HAS A NATIONAL PRESENCE WITH OFFICES IN NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, ATLANTA, D.C., CHARLOTTE, DALLAS, MINNEAPOLIS AND LOS ANGELES. ERIC AU IS CURRENTLY THE DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT AT TOWER CONSULTING SERVICES.

Learn more about Tower Legal Solutions: www.towerls.com

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