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e-Discovery “

Volume 3, Number 4 • August 2006

First-Level Review: The Next Legal Service to Be Sent Offshore?

By Priya Keshav and Mike Dolan

range of total costs was computed across organization to deliver those services to

sk any corporate general counsel
today about his or her top concern, the different approaches, the majority of multiple clients, and to enhance the
and the answer almost invariably the cost in all cases was in first-level services — including cost-saving and
will be “cost control.” In a recent Fulbright document review — ranging from 58% to developing greater expertise.
& Jaworski client study, the firm’s Second 90%. So the cost and time are not in the With regard to supplemental legal
Annual Litigation Trends Survey Findings, processing and production of documents, services, basic offshore bibliographic legal
cost was the most-cited concern . but within the review. coding started around 10-15 years ago, and
Interestingly, some respondents expressed is now widely accepted as a much better
more concern over the costs of litigation HISTORY TEACHES A LESSON value for the money than its domestic
than whether they won or lost the case. The evolution of skills and services in counterpart, provided that care is taken with
Discovery costs continue to spiral upward litigation support will continue to parallel vendor selection. This line of development
because of the vast amount of electronic that of other global industries. Contract also parallels the contract-manufacturing
data created daily, and the need for robust manufacturing — a more mature outsourced industry, where unsophisticated and
technology to reduce document sets for industry — can be studied for parallels, and lower-value manufacturing components
review, coupled with high-quality/low-cost perhaps provide hints of legal outsourcing’s w e re outsourced for assembly first.
review, is acute. future. In that industry, early service Drawing a comparison with document-
But the greatest success for clients, as companies put electrical components into review services, current U.S. practices make
measured by cases won and costs saved, circuit boards and delivered them back to it common for law firms to use teams of
will be realized by combining robust clients, such as IBM. contract attorneys (occasionally paralegals)
technology with lower-cost, offshore legal Over time, those service providers began on an as-needed basis for said services.
workers. In a recent KPMG white paper, A to purchase the components for assembly These teams are routinely being formed
Revolution in E-Discovery: the Persuasive themselves — known as “turnkey services.” and disbanded with each case, often resulting
Economics of the Document Analytic They also developed skills in scheduling in a constant “train-and-retrain” and
Approach, four different methodologies for their factories, organizing sophisticated “hire-and-rehire” method, which can waste
pre-paring and reviewing documents in procurement operations strategically located time, money and resources. There’s no
litigation were compared. While a broad around the globe to obtain better prices reason why this “churn” can’t be avoided by
than their clients, and adding value by using service providers who specialize in
designing lighter and cheaper components these services. As such, our research and
Priya Keshav is CTO of Tusker Group,
and finished products. These early service experience dictates that much like other
a litigation-support company helping
providers were instrumental in setting up legal services, the adoption rate for using
legal professionals review electronic factories in geographic areas where skilled, offshore attorneys for first-level document
and paper documents. She has many low-cost and high work-ethic labor is review will significantly increase due to the
years of experience helping clients win available. They developed such expertise following drivers:
their cases while leveraging technology over just two decades that major • Huge cost-savings over domestic re-view.
to control costs. Contact her at corporations eagerly sold their operations Top Indian attorneys cost less than half or 281-759-5336. with “take-or-pay” contracts to these what very junior domestic-re v i e w
Mike Dolan is CEO of Tusker Group service providers. attorneys and paralegals cost;
and has decades of experience building When studying the contract-manufacturing • Higher client comfort level with off-shore
and running “value-for-money” operations industry, a clearly observable trend from work, because quality and service have
a ro u n d the globe, as well as “out-tasking” to “outsourcing” emerges; that vastly improved over the years;
leading domestic operations for major is to say, there has been a shift from work • Existing infrastructure. Offshore management
multinational corporations. Contact him at provided in an assembly-line setting to expertise, coupled with high-bandwidth, or 512-499-8660. actually setting up the infrastructure and low-cost and ubi-quitous data networks,
LJN’s E-Discovery Law & Strategist August 2006

permits real-time video conferencing and

remote access to systems, while allowing
all images and documents to remain in
the United States; Offshore
• The large available pool of lower-cost
First Phase
offshore attorneys; and
• A shortage of domestic review attorneys. Review
(See, “Why Offshore Review Will Ta k e
Off,” right.)
(Despite such trends with contract
attorneys as noted above, temporary
lawyers can be a boon to some firms’ work.
For a rundown on hiring contract lawyers
for e-discovery and other projects, see, “The
Basics of Hiring A Contract Attorn e y :
Different Jobs Require Different Skills and,
Maybe, Different Hiring Approaches,” in the TIME
May 2006 edition of e-Discovery Law &
Strategy, p. 3.) firm prefers is more efficient than a newly training. Management skills and operational
assembled team of contract attorneys. experience are critical to success.
In the last decade, India has been the INDIA: PAST EXPERIENCE WHAT THE FUTURE HAS IN STORE
primary destination for leveraging a In the last few years, we’ve specialized in We conclude that an explosive growth in
global workforce to derive tremendous reducing costs and improving efficiencies offshore document review will be driven by:
cost-savings. Political and economic stability in bibliographic coding and other • The development of offshore project/
and a large, English-speaking, educated, people-intensive legal work for many program-management skills;
high-quality and low-cost workforce have domestic and international law firms, and • The availability of low-cost and
made India a very compelling option for corporations, by using our production teams ubi-quitous communications networks;
many industries. As litigation costs soar, the in India. Our research and experience have • The large pool of common-law edu-cated
legal industry can also leverage the skilled found that the best improvements in Indian attorneys;
legal workforce in India to control costs. efficiencies come from using a constant • A shortage in the domestic attorn e y
India has all the elements necessary to team of trained individuals to manage all of review market;
successfully meet the challenging needs of a law firm’s or corporation’s individual • A time differential that allows for
the legal industry: cases, thus maintaining work-product round-the-clock advantages; and
• The second-largest pool of English-speaking consistency. Such a dedicated team enables • A major emphasis on corporate cost control.
graduates in the world; the knowledge and understanding of best Fortune 500 companies are quickly taking
• A large, skilled workforce, with more than practices gained from previous cases to be notice of the significant benefits associated
70,000 law students graduating annually funneled into future cases, in what we call a with offshoring document review, and once
from Indian law schools; “consistency model.” This sort of model is a few of them adopt a practice, others
• The Indian legal system is based on difficult to create and sustain with current usually follow. For law firms, the option to
English common law; and U.S. practices that constantly band together, significantly lower document-review costs
• English is the primary mode of in-struction and then disband, contract attorneys with for their clients is available. Forward-thinking
in Indian law schools. each project. firms will embrace the opportunity to
Attorneys based in India, then, can Also, consider that advances in technology perform litigation more efficiently, allowing
immediately help the U.S. legal industry and communication have continued to them to concentrate on the core issues
control rising costs by improving expand and improve document-re v i e w of their cases and, consequently, gain
e ff i c i e n c i e s in document re v i e w . processes. It’s not uncommon for a review new and more satisfied clients in a
India-based document-review teams may to be spread over many geographic competitive marketplace.
continue to prove to be crucial in cases as locations and among many firms. Attorneys
their knowledge of the information and from different offices may be reviewing the
documents can provide senior associates
and partners with an invaluable source in
preparation for final review, depositions
same set of documents with co-counsel,
clients and attorneys from other law firms
— all enabled by Internet-ba-sed document
and trial. A strategic relationship with a repositories that can be ac-cessed via
group of attorneys based in India can allow se-cure and high-speed Internet connections.
This article is reprinted with permission from the JULY
partners and their enterprises to retain the It must be noted, though, that assembling, 2006 edition of the LAW JOURNAL NEWSLETTERS - E-
intangible knowledge critical to the case, training and retaining a best-in-class DISCOVERY LAW & STRATEGIST. © 2006 ALM
along with the coded databases derived production team in India has its own unique Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication
without permission is prohibited. For information, contact
from reviews. Also, an established team that challenges, including those involving ALM Reprint Department at 800-888-8300 x6111 or visit
has adopted the review style that the law communication, cultural differences and #055081-08-06-0015

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