As companies confront a wide array of litigation, one key task their legal departments face is ensuring the discovery process is handled effectively and efficiently.
Typically, this is an area where legal teams retain outside counsel and alternative legal service providers for support.
For example, 52% of legal departments reported turning to outside law firms to handle the data hosting and processing portion of the discovery process, according to the 2022 Law Department Management Benchmarking Report.
But officials at ediscovery provider Casepoint said they are starting to see more legal teams bring discovery in-house. They attribute this shift in large part to the continued growth of the legal operations field, which puts an emphasis on lowering costs while at the same time reducing risk.
Jessica Robinson, Casepoint’s vice president of operations, said when companies outsource ediscovery work to law firms they give up a lot of control. This includes control over risk, costs and the schedule.
She said bringing ediscovery back in-house can help companies gain greater oversight of key tasks and provide greater direction to their outside counsel.
For example, the insights gained from operating ediscovery internally can help legal teams ensure manual discovery processes and reviews are automated and that the lawyers handle the higher-level legal issues in play. Such an approach can help reduce costs, a high priority for legal departments.
One Casepoint client used such insights about its outside counsels’ review processes to build a standard process around document review, which helped reduce their ediscovery spend by 57%, according to a Casepoint whitepaper.
“If you bring the technology internally, not only do you gain insight into how your legal teams are working with your data, you can also help shape how your legal teams work with the data,” Robinson said.
Repurposing ediscovery technology
Another advantage of keeping ediscovery in-house is that the software can often be used to assist with other legal department functions and processes.
Amit Dungarani, Casepoint’s vice president of partnerships & strategic initiatives, said that in recent years more legal departments have used the company’s software to assist with data breach responses.
This includes bringing data into Casepoint to determine a company’s level of exposure, which then informs how the business must respond.
Legal departments also use Casepoint for internal investigations, compliance projects, data privacy work, claims management and IP management, among other tasks.
“Generally we're coming in because they have that litigation need or the internal investigation need,” Dungarani said. “But then when they realize that they can support their compliance need or things around privacy, like data subject access requests, their eyes kind of light up and they understand that they can really take advantage of this one solution for multiple needs.”
Reducing tech stack
By utilizing ediscovery software for a variety of functions, legal departments can consolidate their tech stacks.
Companies reducing their tech stacks in turn boosts their legal teams’ efficiency and decreases costs, according to Robinson.
For example, Casepoint helped a large logistical corporation that was seeking to reduce its ediscovery costs develop a claims management process within the ediscovery platform.
This assistance allowed the company to “replace three required, yet separate, technologies for repository, case management and knowledge management for claims” and dramatically reduce their tech stack, according to a Casepoint whitepaper.
Companies that minimize the number of technology platforms they operate also decrease their security risks because they have fewer systems containing sensitive data, the Casepoint officials said.
Overall, Robinson said bringing ediscovery in-house helps legal departments “move from a cost center to contributing to risk management and cost controls across the firm.”