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1 Topic Pack: Forming a Lasting Strategic Partnership With Your E-Discovery Provider Call or Visit us Today sponsors Consulting Forensics Paper Discovery Electronic Discovery Magnetic Media Discovery Hosting & Review Conversion

2 Forming a Lasting Strategic Partnership With Your E-Discovery Provider Inside this Topic Pack: Self-learning Slides Focus Paper Checklist of Steps

3 Loyal Partner When you re facing a large, complex document population and an aggressive discovery deadline, it s comforting to know that Altep s expert project managers will be there to help your review go smoothly. We offer more than sixteen years of experience in managing large volumes of diverse data for some of the nation s most demanding organizations, and we believe that loyalty and integrity are at the core of every successful relationship. A Loyal Partner Never Lets You Down Call or Visit us Today Consulting Forensics Paper Discovery Electronic Discovery Magnetic Media Discovery Hosting & Review Conversion

4 5 Simple Tips for Building a Strategic Partnership with Your E-Discovery Vendor Self-Learning Slides

5 Valuable Partnerships Each law firm develops its own unique set of discovery processes, standards and methods over time. By establishing a long-term relationship with an agile e-discovery partner, firms can build a collaborative work environment in which standardized methods are accepted and utilized, and expectations are clearly communicated. Co-managed processes and methods can then be re-used from one case to the next, saving time, money and confusion. Firms can also enjoy other benefits by selecting one or a few preferred providers: Centralization: maintaining a centralized repository of review- ready data makes it easy to locate and re-purpose potentially relevant materials as new matters arise. Communication: consistently working with the same group of knowledgeable support providers allows you to establish strong lines of communication, and ensure that industry jargon and the organizational lexicon are completely understood. Familiarity: the e-discovery firm grows familiar with the common types of data that you encounter, and can proactively prepare for the problems that are likely to arise during processing, hosting and review. Innovative Litigation Solutions

6 Tip #1: Find the Right Partner What do you need? Select a preferred provider based on the services and capacity you need today and in the future. If your projects are small today, but you expect that they ll be bigger as your firm evolves, developing a relationship with a qualified vendor will ensure that you re prepared to handle new matters as they arise, regardless of the size of the data population that s involved. What s more, you won t have to switch boats in mid-stream. When looking for the right partner, be sure to consider the vendor s security protocols both physical and technical - and the length of time the company has been in business. Ask the vendor to process and host a sample of your data, so that you can see what an actually project would look like and gauge the vendor s knowledge and responsiveness. Lastly, get proof. Any respectable e-discovery vendor will be happy to explain their processes and provide documentation regarding capacity, technologies and past successes. Ask for references and then check them. Tip #1 Tip #2 Tip #3 Tip #4 Tip #5 Innovative Litigation Solutions

7 Tip #2: Insist on Communication Protocols Expect transparency Throughout the project lifecycle, you should have a clear and complete understanding of progress, risk factors and current and anticipated costs. Request a single, qualified and knowledgeable point of contact whose sole purpose is to communicate the facts of the project to you, relay your requests to appropriate task leaders, and resolve your issues and concerns in a timely manner. Tip #1 Tip #2 Tip #3 Tip #4 Tip #5 Your assigned Project Manager should notify you the moment any risk factors arise. Moreover, the service provider should have a communication protocol in place that guarantees reporting at regular intervals throughout each phase of the project. Ask for documentation of the vendor s communication protocols and project management standards. If documentation is not available, proceed with caution the vendor may prove unreliable. Innovative Litigation Solutions

8 Tip #3: Set Standards Define expectations up front Before any project begins, your team and your discovery provider s team should sit down for a planning meeting. During this discussion, clearly communicate the facts of the case, and define your expectations, including format for deliverables and project timelines. Additionally, develop contingency plans to handle unexpected developments, such as higher-than-anticipated data volumes, and make sure that your provider is aware of any factors that may impact your timeline. Tip #1 Tip #2 Tip #3 Tip #4 Tip #5 If anything changes during your project, be sure to update your service provider immediately so that they can respond appropriately. At the conclusion of the planning meeting, request a summary of the items that were discussed, in writing. Innovative Litigation Solutions

9 Tip #4: Be Realistic Nothing is fool-proof Even under the best of circumstances, even with thorough planning, things can still go wrong. People aren t perfect, and no plan is absolutely foolproof. When problems arise, don t let frustration lead to a blame-fest. Stay focused on a collaborative solutions to overcome the issues and keep the project on track. Generally speaking, your discovery provider should have processes and infrastructure in place to scale any project as needed. However, don t expect miracles there s a limit to everything. If capacities and lead times were thoroughly addressed during the up-front planning meeting, you shouldn t experience any unpleasant surprises. When deadlines are looming, keep in mind that attention to detail and coolheaded focus are your best friends. Take the time to confirm instructions, double-check production data sets, and reiterate expectations. Tip #1 Tip #2 Tip #3 Tip #4 Tip #5 Innovative Litigation Solutions

10 Pitfall # 5: Do a Post-Mortem Examine the project after completion At the conclusion of each project, request a discussion revolving around the things that went well, and the things that could use some attention. Offer honest, constructive criticism, and provide specific examples of what went wrong. Then discuss things that can be done to improve problem areas, and ensure that your expectations are reasonable. In return, ask about things that you should do differently, and be prepared to commit your own team and resources. Discuss and document specific action items each organization will undertake in order to foster improvement. Ask for and make - a commitment to continued improvement. Tip #1 Tip #2 Tip #3 Tip #4 Tip #5 Innovative Litigation Solutions

11 The Advantages of Forming a Lasting Strategic Partnership with Your E- Discovery Vendor and 5 Simple Tips for Building One You go to the same doctor every year for your physical. Why? Because he knows you, knows your body and knows your health. He keeps a record of each visit, and he remembers important details that will allow him to respond to recurring symptoms, if and when they arise. You can and should - develop the same sort of long-term relationship with your e- discovery vendor. Consistently working with the same service provider allows you to become familiar with their processes, people and turn-around times, so you re better able to manage timelines and expectations within your own organization. In turn, your e-discovery partner becomes an extension of your organization, fully aware of the details that govern your business process, including your driving factors and the most common types of data that your organization produces. With this context of knowledge, your partner will be well-prepared to avoid the types of problems that are likely to arise during processing, hosting and review of that data. Familiarity also offers an advantage with regard to the use of specialized terminology. As you develop well-established avenues of communication, you begin to learn each other s acronyms, jargon and organizational lexicons. This creates a more streamlined workflow your partner can interpret your needs and anticipate your expectations, and won t be tripped up by semantics. You can rest assured that when discussing discovery, your long-term discovery partner will understand the terms, concepts and expressions that are used in your particular practice area. Additionally, as you develop a relationship and a shared history with your e-discovery vendor, you will collaboratively develop polished, co-managed processes and methods that can be interchanged, integrated and re-used from one case to the next. You can avoid reinventing the wheel for each project, and save both time and money. Finally, maintaining a long-term strategic partner with one or a select few vendors allows you to recycle data from one matter to the next. Maintaining a centralized repository of review-ready and previously-produced data allows you to re-purpose documents and production data sets. As the data population grows, your service provider can readily identify data populations that were used in similar matters; often, only much smaller supplemental collection, processing and production is needed. Data can also be recycled in Deposition Prep kits, which help deponents review their previous testimony in preparation for a subsequent similar matter a valuable capability in serial, multi-jurisdictional litigation. Remember, like all relationships, a strong partnership with your e-discovery provider requires commitment, effort, honesty and patience on all sides. Take note of the following simple tips for building a long-term discovery management partnership. These 2010 Altep, Inc. All rights reserved. [ SE] www. altep.com Please contact Altep for permission to reprint or distribute this article. Page 1

12 steps will help you identify the right partner and forge a relationship based on honesty, integrity and accountability. 1. Find the right partner a. Ensure the selected firm is able to offer all of the services you need now, plus services you may need in the future. b. Ask for proof that the selected firm can do what they say they can do. Request documented information on their capacities and processes. Ask for multiple references and then check them. c. Review the firm s information security policies and infrastructure, physical security measures, access protocols and disaster recovery plan. Very likely, you ll be trusting the vendor with sensitive, confidential documents, and you ll rely heavily on these elements to ensure that your data safe and secure; that you have a defensible chain-of-custody; and that the information is readily available to you and your team. 2. Insist on communication protocols a. Ensure that the firm assigns a single point of contact that can gather information and direct your questions to the appropriate internal experts. b. Status reports should be provided on a regular schedule make sure you define that schedule up front, and communicate your expectations with regard to content, format and recipient lists. c. Require immediate notification if timeline, budget or deliverables are at risk. 3. Set and communicate standards a. Discuss and agree upon the expected deliverable and project timeline before the project begins. After the discussion, ask for a summary, including action steps, roles and responsibilities in writing. b. Make sure that the discovery provider fully understands and plans for factors that may impact the timeline and/or budget, and immediately convey any change so that your provider has time to adjust. c. Insist on a formal Statement of Work and project plan. 4. Be realistic a. Even with the best planning and intentions, sometimes things go wrong - no plan is absolutely fool-proof. When problems arise, focus on collaborating to create positive solutions. b. Take the time to confirm instructions, double-check production data sets, and communicate expectations. When deadlines are looming, coolheaded focus and attention to detail are your best friends. 5. Do a post-project follow-up assessment a. At the conclusion of each project or case, insist on a frank discussion about the things that went well, and the things that went poorly. Offer honest criticism and specific examples that the service provider can use to foster measurable improvement. b. Ask for a commitment to improve and be prepared to commit your own team and resources. No one is perfect, and everyone has room to grow and learn Altep, Inc. All rights reserved. [ SE] www. altep.com Please contact Altep for permission to reprint or distribute this article. Page 2

13 c. Discuss and document specific actions that each organization will undertake in order to foster improvement. Check progress on these items before beginning the next project. Altep, Inc. is a leader and innovator in the fields of e-discovery and document management. For more information about best practices for discovery and review, or to discuss any of our service offerings, please contact us at or visit us online at Altep, Inc. All rights reserved. [ SE] www. altep.com Please contact Altep for permission to reprint or distribute this article. Page 3

14 Checklist for Forming a Lasting Strategic Partnership with Your E-Discovery Vendor Find the Right Partner Be sure you select a vendor partner that can Offer the services you need today Deliver the quality you expect Provide consistently excellent customer service Scale services to meet evolving project requirements Offer services you may need in the future Provide references Verify that they have no pending suits against their work Defend their processes and protocols in court Prove their financial stability Show they have a long track record of success Communication Protocols Once a preferred vendor is selected, set minimum standards for communication and reporting: Identify a single point of contact Define a regular schedule of reporting on critical aspects of the project Ensure that you will be immediately notified in the event that budget, timelines or deliverables are at risk Communicate changes as they happen so that your service provider can make appropriate adjustments Set Standards Communicate standards and expectations up front: Expected deliverables: format, distribution method and recipient list Anticipated timelines, checkpoints and goals Action steps, roles and responsibilities for key players on your team and the vendor s Ensure that both you and the vendor receive a summary of the agreedupon terms of engagement, in writing. Partnership Nurturing Building a strong long-term relationship with your e-discovery vendor requires commitment from both sides. Take the following items into consideration: Keep in mind that, despite the best planning and intentions, sometimes things go wrong. If an unforeseen issue arises, remember to focus on collaborative, creative solutions. Request a debriefing at the end of each project to discuss positive and negative aspects of the interaction and the outcome. Insist on a commitment to improvement based on your feedback Be prepared to commit your own team and resources to continued improvement as well Check the status of each change item prior to the start of the next project 2010 Altep, Inc. All rights reserved. [ DC/SE] www. altep.com Please contact Altep for permission to reprint or distribute this checklist. Page 1

15 Altep, Inc. is a leader and innovator in the fields of e-discovery and document management. For more information about best practices for discovery and review, or to discuss any of our service offerings, please contact us at or visit us online at Altep, Inc. All rights reserved. [ DC/SE] www. altep.com Please contact Altep for permission to reprint or distribute this checklist. Page 2

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