surpriseThere appears to be a growing number of e-discovery middle men in the industry.  Be careful of who you trust!  I have recently met many people who have no experience in the digital forensics and electronic discovery fields.  Neither do they have an information technology background.  Many of them do not even have any legal training.  One client recently told me that he came back to us because the people they were dealing with “sounded scammy.”  He was correct in that classification.

What is currently happening in the industry is that a potential client would call a nationally known brand for electronic discovery or digital forensics services.  This national brand will send the client a slick sales sheet and explain, via phone script, of the vast variety of professional services which are offered.  Mind you, this is a salesperson who usually has never forensically acquired a digital device before.  If the client knows a little about what he/she wants, then the client may be graced by a technical sales representative, who may actually have some ED/DF experience.  This sales rep will further expatiate on how their quality surpasses all others, especially local vendors who are not qualified to service their needs.

Once the client signs a binding contract with them, the exorbitant national brand prices rear their ugly heads.  Acquisition usually is subcontracted out to the same local vendor which the sales rep had stated was not qualified to service the client.  This image is then ported over to their national offices, adding additional time and expense.  Response time for search term requests is usually much, much longer from a national brand than a local vendor.

When it comes to a deposition or court testimony, a slew of challenges come into play.  This is a result of that national brand farming out its work, creating issues with chain of custody, 3rd party affidavits, and multi-party subpoenas.

Not all national brands are bad, and sometimes, it may even be necessary due to the volume of the work involved.  However, for the vast majority of law firms, this type of work normally is and stays local; for that, I see no advantage of using a national brand.  And neither did that client.  Buyer beware!  (whoever thought that 4 years of Latin in high school would come in handy one day?)

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