As digital devices, computer systems and big data have overtaken our modern life, the business of law has been radically transformed in four critical areas: core IT systems, data governance, eDiscovery and cyber security. It is rare to find a legal matter today that does not include electronically stored information (ESI).
However, the challenge is that most lawyers are not technologists. So when it comes to eDiscovery, many law firms try to manage eDiscovery in-house, through third-parties or a combination of both. Rarely are these approaches programmatically effective.
Law firm client data is a primary target for hackers. Many law firms are not fully prepared to protect and maintain client data from internal and external threats. In the event a law firm is hacked and client data is compromised, the fall-out can be very substantial.
ABA Model Rules 1.1 and 1.6 require law firms to maintain client confidentiality. The ABA CYBERSECURITY HANDBOOK cites situations where law firms have collapsed because they didn’t protect client data. See the introduction to our eBook for details on this.
We believe most law firms are not aware of the magnitude of the risk they are undertaking today. Virtually every Synthesis E-IT Secure® law firm assessment we have conducted since 2012 has confirmed that they are not only uncompliant with their own data governance policies but more importantly, those of their clients!
With law firm hacks grabbing headlines, many corporations now require law firms to pass technology audits as a condition of doing business. Law firms who bring client data in-house will struggle to pass these audits, particularly from corporations in regulated industries. The extensive scope of these audits is often shaped by the standards of the regulating bodies which could include: SOX, HIPAA, FINRA, HITECH, FDIC, Gramm Leach Bliley and others. If you can’t pass the audit, you don’t get the business, which no law firm can afford.
Another challenge with trying to handle eDiscovery in-house is that the evidence may not stand up to scrutiny in court. From identification of data custodians to collection of digital devices and assets to processing, hosting and production of evidence, lawyers must prove chain of custody, preservation and a complete absence of tampering and spoliation in order to be legally defensible. Most staff at law firms are not properly trained nor do they have the resources to ensure their process will hold up to the challenges of opposing counsel.
This is why some law firms outsource eDiscovery to third-party providers, often to more than one This too has its challenges. The costs of eDiscovery are often unpredictable from one provider to the next which makes passing them through to the client a very tenuous and sometimes contentious task. The risk of damaging client relationships becomes very real in these scenarios and should be weighed against any reward perceived by entering into such an arrangement.
So if trying to manage eDiscovery in-house is not a good idea and if a carousel of third-party providers doesn’t work either, what does work? LOGICFORCE’s eDiscovery service offering is designed to address all of these concerns and produce the outcomes you want. Here are the core reasons you need this service.