Three Big Takeaways from IG3 West 2019

By Scott Nichols

From December 9-12, 2019, Reveal joined a diverse group of eDiscovery and legal technology professionals at the IG3 West conference in Newport Beach, California. The intimate gathering focuses on providing a better understanding of best practices, current trends, and emerging technologies in the fields of eDiscovery, information governance, cybersecurity, audit, risk, and compliance, and privacy and data protection. Attendees ranged from small consultants and service providers to medium and large law firms and corporations.

Reveal was fortunate enough to network with law firms and corporations through a series of product demonstrations and informative panels.

Scott Nichols, vice president of global business development at Reveal, moderated a panel at the event titled “SaaS or Vendor: An eDiscovery Conversation.” The session featured a seasoned group of eDiscovery experts on the panel, including:

⦁ David Yerich, director of eDiscovery at UnitedHealth Group
⦁ Marley Jaffe, executive director of legal technology and services at Sony Pictures Entertainment
⦁ Jaime Raba, counsel at Seyfarth Shaw LLP
⦁ Christopher Surdak, executive partner at Gartner; and
⦁ Gordon Calhoun, partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP

Here are the top-three significant takeaways from the discussion.

1. In-House vs. Outsourced: Both Prevail

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for corporations when it comes to utilizing SaaS (software as a service) tools. For some, it makes more sense to bring these tools in-house. For other companies, there are more significant benefits to using vendors for things like eDiscovery work. The consensus at the conference was that there would continue to be a need for both models.

When SaaS tools came to prominence years ago, there were discussions that they would eliminate the need for eDiscovery providers – the reasoning being that SaaS would give law firms and corporations access to all the tools needed. However, that frame of thought has dissolved. Instead, many legal departments and law firms continue to use eDiscovery solution providers and consultants – even if it costs more – because they offer unrivaled experience, expertise, scalability, and software options.

2. eDiscovery Knowledge Matters

Corporations and law firms gain distinct benefits from working with vendors – they provide specific expertise because of their business focus. The knowledge makes them valuable partners in all types of litigation, whether the companies and firms use a vendor’s tools, or a vendor uses the tools of the firm or company. Often, however, it’s the companies and firms that are capitalizing on the tools of the vendors.

eDiscovery providers allow companies and firms on-demand access to a wide variety of tools and processes applicable to different data types. In most instances, these are tools that the firms and companies would not themselves have. Such offerings will always keep vendors relevant and ensure that there’s a need for their services.

3. Variety Makes a Difference

Corporate legal departments and law firms tend to view vendors as providers of a menu of technology and services. Just as people decide on a type of food they want to eat, then on a restaurant, and finally on the exact menu item, most legal professionals approach technology vendors the same way when tackling a new matter. They first determine the type of matter, then which vendor has the appropriate expertise, and then what tools they want to utilize with that vendor.

The conference showed that cost tends to have very little to do with the decision. Instead, the driving factors are expertise and the menu of options a given vendor can provide. Of the range of available services, legal professionals most often seek managed contract review.

Overall, IG3 West showed that there’s no right or wrong way to navigate the decision whether corporations and firms should bring tools in-house or turn to vendors, but that vendors are ultimately involved in all scenarios at some point. We look forward to gaining further insights from our colleagues at future IG3 events.

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