During January’s Legalweek, a panel of attorneys from major companies stated that risk and cost issues—critical IG considerations—are paramount in evaluating e-discovery processes. The in-house counsel panelists on the, “Rethinking Your E-Discovery Approach for In-House Counsel,” panel cautioned against attorneys being seduced by fancy technology and instead should focus on risk and the impact of the e-discovery process on the company’s profitability.
Brian Corbin, executive director and associate General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said a legal department’s needs are influenced by industry segment, company size, industry, litigation profile, regulatory requirements, and other company-specific variables.
Dawson Horn III, AIG VP & Assistant GC, emphasized a focus on metrics to assess a legal department’s e-discovery process. “… one of the factors I point to is the increasing development of legal operations in corporate law departments in driving a more focused approach of what metrics are, how we can see and measure our costs and… how we can see and measure our risks over a course of data.”
So, there is no cookie-cutter approach that legal departments can apply. Each company is unique and e-discovery needs assessments and cost-benefit analyses must reflect that. Sometimes, highly-litigious companies simply outsource their e-discovery tasks, and sometimes, companies with low litigation profiles but few internal resources outsource those tasks. It is a risk and financial decision that each company must make. Handling e-discovery in-house may seem to be less expensive at first blush, but GC’s should also evaluate the level of risk this introduces.