Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Babs Deacon. Published: 2013-02-25 11:38:12  

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I wanted to kick off the eDiscoveryJournal Profile Series by interviewing someone working in the eDiscovery trenches:  Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is the Litigation Support Coordinator of Outten & Golden LLP, a Plaintiffs’ firm specializing in employment law.  Kerry-Ann and O&G are getting a lot done with a lean head-count by empowering the whole firm, embracing Technology Assisted Review “TAR”, and partnering with vendors.Ms. Reid-Brown joined Outten & Golden at the completion of a recruiting process whose goal was to fill the roles of both paralegal and litigation support manager with one person as litigation support coordinator.  Also, just prior to bringing Kerry-Ann on board, the firm created an eDiscovery Task Force because while the firm felt secure that it was a recognized leader in employment law it wanted to be known for reaching equally high standards in eDiscovery management.  In addition to the Task Force, the firm also launched an informational employment blog, on it’s own site: http://www.employmentlawblog.info/Kerry-Ann joined O&G in September of 2011 following a nearly ten-year career in litigation.  Like many eDiscovery professionals, she started as a junior paralegal and when introduced to litigation technology and eDiscovery for the first time, “just got it”.Her group at Outten and Golden is staffed with paralegals who work on cases, several of whom are technologists.  She believes that this is a good model because, “I can reinforce the need for paralegals to understand eDiscovery and to be deeply involved in cases because we aren’t two different departments.”She feels that it is important that paralegals understand eDiscovery in all phases, not just document review because at O&G, paralegals “are the foot soldiers of eDiscovery”.  Under attorney supervision, they perform some of the casework at a lower cost and once they are experienced, “they don’t always need a litigation support consultation, although as paralegal supervisor/litigation support coordinator, I am always aware of the progress of each case.”During her tenure at O&G, she has also seen the firm’s partners and associates become more eDiscovery savvy and make more use of the litigation support group. “As the attorneys navigate eDiscovery related cases, they are exposed to various technologies and tools.  Consequently, their interaction with litigation support in the terms of feedback and questions has become more sophisticated and this has created a learning experience for me, as well.”  They have made litigation support part of many case teams by asking Kerry-Ann to sit in on meet and confers and to help draft ESI protocols.Standardizing on the Relativity platform, hosted by D4 eDiscovery, has also helped raise the level of attorney comfort with litigation support.  They don’t have to learn different systems because they don’t use one in-house review platform and a different hosted application for larger matters.   It also enables the firm to act as lead counsel without a lot of expensive infrastructure.The firm made sure that all litigators and paralegals were trained on Relativity and they videotaped training sessions so that trainees could review the class content off-line.Kerry-Ann keeps a tight rein on eDiscovery costs by, in part, by closely monitoring the status of matters stored on line.  Outten & Golden, also moved to a subscription pricing model because case teams were generating more and more eDiscovery and becoming increasingly comfortable with litigation support methods.  Subscription pricing enabled the firm to more easily budget eDiscovery costs and benefit from volume pricing.According to D4’s COO, John Rubens, “Effective subscription pricing needs to be built on an organization’s own metrics and the agreement needs to include some flexibility to accommodate spikes in activity.” Bob Rowe, eDiscovery Consultant at Huron Legal, mentioned during a briefing at LegalTech, the “benefit of fixed model pricing is its predictability.  It is like life insurance.”  However, he added, some organizations are still in “disaster mode, related to their litigation response and they may not be ready to benefit from a predictable process.”Like many plaintiffs’ firms, O&G’s business model encourages them to do more with less.  They have embraced TAR, including predictive coding because they like to conduct reviews with in-house associates and partners to add to the knowledgebase of the case team.Kerry-Ann mentioned that this was another area where her vendor relationship was helpful.  D4 offered the foresight that TAR was, “something you should be thinking about,” and then almost immediately, she needed it for a case.Unlike some firms who are only considering TAR for large responsiveness reviews, O&G deployed analytic technology on a recent deposition preparation project of fewer than 100,000 documents.  With a combination of Equivio Zoom and Relativity with Content Analyst, they were able to narrow the document review to one week, with only two in-house attorneys.After receiving the document production from the opposing party, two senior attorneys reviewed approximately 2,500 documents, in training batches.  The system then prioritized 25% of the remaining documents for senior attorney deposition preparation.  The remaining documents were reviewed by junior attorneys.   “We were able to help attorneys understand the ROI of predictive coding” through the experience, recalled Kerry-Ann.I have to say that Kerry-Ann and Outten & Golden have pretty much covered all of the bases, from my perspective: they created a firm mandate to use litigation support; their litigation support coordinator participates in meet & confers; their paralegals are an important part of the eDiscovery process; they are standardized on a single database platform; they have a budget-smoothing relationship with a preferred vendor, and they are using TAR.Real-life experiences with emerging technologies such as TAR and new-to-some procurement methods such as eDiscovery subscription pricing, are worth discussing in more detail.  eDiscoveryJournal contributors will continue to cover industry thinking on predictive coding and other types of TAR and will also continue to ferret-out as many helpful case studies as possible.  We will also cover, in more detail, the impact of TAR and subscription agreements on service provider pricing and eDiscovery procurement.I’m also excited to announce that the next eDJ Profile will be, “What do aquatic mammals have to do with eDiscovery?  A profile of Dr. Herb Roitblat, co-founder of Orcatec.”eDiscoveryJournal Contributor and eDJ Group Director of Strategic Consulting – Babs Deacon

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