Focus: To insource or outsource e-discovery – Law Times

Sarah Millar

Dec 14, 2016

In a recent article for Law Times, reporter Jim Middlemiss looks at the e-discovery process and examines the pros and cons of insourcing and outsourcing. To gain insight, he turns to legal experts involved in e-discovery, including Osler’s Sarah Millar, Head of the firm’s Discovery Management Practice Group.

In the article, Sarah discusses Osler’s e-discovery and review service, which provides litigation support to Osler lawyers and is offered to clients as a part of the firm’s Osler Works platform. The Osler Works – Discovery team is composed of lawyers, e-discovery review experts and computer technologists, who work to help clients execute discoveries faster and more effectively  as well as lower the costs of litigation work.

Sarah tells Law Times that Osler decided to bring e-discovery in-house as part of its “menu of services” because “we felt we knew how to use the back end and the tools just as well as any vendor.” “This is a legal process,” she adds, and, as the article points out, lawyers need to be in command of the process and “drive the bus to protect things such as solicitor-client privilege.” The immediacy associated with litigation was also a factor, as a delay in getting an e-discovery vendor approved as a supplier can use up valuable time. “Internal investigations at our clients need to be looked at today,” says Sarah.

Sarah also talks about the components of insourcing e-discovery, including the importance of using internal servers and having in-house tech talent who can write script and code. While Sarah believes lawyers need to oversee the process, they shouldn’t be doing the tech portion. However, as the article states, finding talent can prove to be a challenging part of bringing e-discovery in-house. “There’s a glut of law clerks that understand the legal piece but do not understand the tech piece,” explains Sarah, who recruits recent computer science graduates to complement legal experts. In the article, Sarah highlights one instance where the Osler Works team was able to “write some code for about $1,000 worth of time, which allowed a client to avoid having to spend $50,000 on a human review.” “When I can do that, I get really excited. I feel like we are living what we say,” says Sarah.

For more information, read Jim Middlemiss’s full article “Focus: To insource or outsource e-discovery” in Law Times.