e-Discovery, record retrieval, software maintenance and other forms of litigation support are already tedious tasks that take up your attorneys’ and paralegals’ valuable time. But as your firm’s caseload picks up and resources grow stretched, these tasks cease to be mere frustrations; instead, they become untenable.
When there isn’t enough time, expertise or attention to devote to litigation support, many firms turn to third parties to outsource litigation support services. Firms looking to reduce their overhead costs certainly stand to benefit from the services of an outsourced litigation support provider, but litigation support services can also fill crucial skills or technical gaps in your firm. In this article, we’ll break down 5 reasons why litigation support services can help round out your firm and enable you to do more with less.
1. Take advantage of automation and AI
If you find that your in-house resources are stretched thin, it may not be because you need to hire more attorneys or because your firm’s caseload has grown too large, but rather because your firm’s processes could be improved. When you’ve got the time and manpower to focus on your cases, the use of spreadsheets, manual search and human-driven research gets the job done — but plentiful time and manpower can’t be counted on forever.
Adopting more sophisticated tools to speed litigation support is key to become faster and more robust. One option is purchase and maintain these extra tools yourself; another is to outsource litigation support services.
For third parties specializing in litigation support, making the investment into the tools and skills needed to conduct litigation support in an automated and AI-enabled fashion is well worth it. As the primary focus of their business, a litigation support services organization’s main method of differentiating itself from its competitors is through performing e-Discovery, legal research, record retrieval and more in a faster, more intelligent and automated way.
2. Stay up to date without diverting resources
Just as working with a litigation support services organization provides you with access to advanced technology, it also ensures that you’ll continue to leverage the most current technology as tools, techniques and software grow more sophisticated over time. Importantly, staying current in this way won’t require additional investment from your firm.
Maintaining advanced technology in-house is an option, but this requires hiring a dedicated team of experts trained in machine-learning techniques, optical character recognition and natural language processing as well as any ancillary software you choose to deploy. What’s more, staying competitive requires periodic re-investments into your tech stack and training for your team.
As described above, however, litigation support services organizations must make these investments into their tech stack and team — it’s the core of their business. By employing a third party dedicated to litigation support, you’ll reap the benefits of cutting-edge technology without the associated maintenance costs.
3. Ramp up on new technology and techniques faster
Just because your litigation support partner may have more of a reason to adopt the latest technology and data science techniques doesn’t mean that your firm needs to forgo this skill set entirely. Even with a partner, some firms may be interested in cultivating in-house capabilities in AI, e-Discovery software and other skills that don’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of a traditional legal education.
If you work with the right partner, a litigation support services firm will be available to recommend software and provide training in its use so that you can maintain in-house expertise. In fact, maintaining a minimal level of this in-house expertise could serve as a crucial link between your firm and your litigation support partner, facilitating communication and requirement sharing.
4. Improve case scoping
Unless you’ve been through data extraction, processing and storage many times, the work that it takes to complete these tasks can seem like something of a black box. The size of a data set, its formats, requirements for processing techniques and more all affect a given case’s timeline. If you underestimate the timeline of the technical work required to support your litigation case, then you’re more likely to find yourself in the all-too familiar position of staying up late, crafting strategy with too few hours of sleep under your belt and too few hours of work before deadline.
This scenario is far less likely to occur when outsourcing litigation support activities to a third party for three reasons:
- Your partner has specialized experience in litigation support activities and can more accurately assess timelines as a result.
- As described above, a litigation support service provider has access to more advanced technology, enabling a faster resolution to this component of litigation work.
- Without the burden of these litigation support tasks on your plate, you’ll have more time to dedicate to strategy, ensuring that you’re not scrambling to form a plan before deadlines.
5. Gain more evidence
The purpose of litigation support activities like e-Discovery is to surface evidence that backs up or discredits a claim. So much attention is paid to performing e-Discovery quickly or in a cost-effective fashion that it can be easy to forget that it can be done better and more thoroughly.
Data exists in a multitude of formats and to varying degrees of integrity — extracting actionable evidence from a given data set takes creativity and technical expertise that a dedicated litigation support partner will be better able to provide.
The bottom line?
Organizations that specialize in litigation support services will generally perform those services to a more thorough and cost-effective degree than can be done in-house. Because their business model depends on offering litigation support faster and more effectively than their competitors, they’re able to invest more into the technology and expertise that litigation supports requires, and they’re able to leverage economies of scale from their multiple clients to offer lower prices than bringing such expertise in-house would cost.
If you’ve identified gaps in your firm’s approach to litigation, it’s important to remember that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a sign of specialization — your law firm should specialize in executing well-researched, precise and rigorous legal strategy. In turn, a litigation support partner should specialize in the technical skills to support that strategy. Speak with one of our experts to learn more about what to look for in a litigation support partner.