eDiscovery Professionals: Order-taking or Consulting? – Shifting from Order-taking to Consulting
August 08, 2012
In the first posts in this series, we talked about order taking: we defined it, we talked about why and how it happens, we talked about the problems it causes, and we talked about the benefits of moving from order-taking to consulting. Now we’re ready to move on to shifting from order-taking to consulting.
Moving into a consulting role is a process. It won’t happen overnight. You won’t be an order-taker one day, and a consultant the next. You can, however, grow into a position where the litigators in your firm will look to you for information and advice. Here are some areas to focus on and things you can do to make that happen:
Become an expert and keep current: You need to start with the basics -- you can’t be an effective consultant unless you know your stuff, so make sure you keep on top of eDiscovery technology tools, the internal eDiscovery capabilities at the firm, vendor offerings and pricing, and current case law and how it affects the firm’s approach to eDiscovery.
Collect information and learn from every case: One of your most valuable assets is your experience on a number of cases, in a variety of industries, with a number of document collections. The best way to leverage that experience is to have a systematic approach to organizing and tapping in to what you’ve learned. Do lessons learned meetings after each case and document what you’ve learned. Collect metrics and maintain a database of information on document collections, by client and industry. Having information like the average percentage of relevant documents in similar cases can be invaluable to a litigation team when they are preparing a plan for handling discovery on a case.
Become a “resource center” for the litigators in the firm: Offer tools that they need, even for tasks with which you may not be involved – tools like a client technology survey, a meet and confer checklist, a litigation hold checklist, and a witness preparation form.
Before a meeting with a litigation team, do your homework: Find out what you can about the case, the client, and the litigation team. Be armed with relevant statistics from the metrics database we just discussed!
Strive to become part of the team and not the support staff: Be proactive about getting involved early in a case and on staying in the loop. Ask to attend meetings; ask to be on the cc list for case correspondence; volunteer to assist whenever you can.
Stay tuned for the next posts in this series… we’re going to cover consulting skills and characteristics of a good consultant. Please let us know your thoughts on this. Do you function as a consultant in your firm, or do you do more order-taking than you’d like? Have you successfully shifted from order-taking to consulting? If so, how did you make that happen? Do you have tips you can share? 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.