eDiscovery Professionals: Order-taking or Consulting? – Consulting Tips
August 22, 2012
In this blog series on eDiscovery Professionals: Order-taking or Consulting?, we’ve talked about moving into a consulting role and skills you need to develop to be an effective consultant. In this installment and the next, I‘ll give you some tips for working with your clients in a consultant capacity. I’ll start with tips regarding a general approach to take on your projects:
- Be an “information clearing house”: Your project is not likely to succeed if you don’t get the information you need or if you don’t communicate important information to those who need to know. Collect as much information as you can about the case, the client and the documents. Collect as much information as you can about available technology, vendors and pricing. Determine ‘who needs to know what’ (what do vendors need to know about the case? What do attorneys need to know about technology and vendors?). Organize the information you have and present it clearly and concisely. As a consultant, strive to be the person who others come to for information.
- Get involved early and stay in the loop: It’s hard to be an effective consultant if you’re brought into a case late in the game or just called on sporadically for advice. Do what you can to insert yourself early in the case and to stay involved moving forward. Be proactive about finding out about new cases the firm is handling and approach the responsible attorneys. Let them know how you can help. Ask to be included in meetings and to be on case correspondence distribution lists.
- Don’t make assumptions: Whether about the litigation team, about the client, about the case, or about the documents, don’t make assumptions. While there may be similarities from case to case, there will always be differences and nuances that could affect your recommendations. Ask a lot of questions and don’t take anything for granted.
- Be respectful of your clients’ time: Don’t schedule unnecessary meetings. Start meetings on time, stay focused on what needs to be accomplished, and finish on schedule. Make it easy and efficient for your clients to reach you and to give you the information you need.
- Be respectful of your clients’ work preferences. Find out how your client wants to work with you and how they want to communicate with you. Determine how much detail they want. Find out how often they want status reports. Come to agreement on what decisions you can make and what issues you’ll need to run by them. Your clients are more likely to work well with you if you adjust to their habits and preferences.
In next week’s post, I’m going to give you some advice on working with a team and building consensus. Please let us know your thoughts on this. Do you have tips you can share for working effectively as a consultant with a litigation team? And please let us know if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.