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Does litigation support entail any risk?

Litigation support companies provide consultation and support services to attorneys with regard to existing and awaiting cases.” Litigation support services can range from legal research to assisting attorneys with complex lawsuits on various levels i.e. performing wide range of tasks, including designing and implementing databases and technology assistance. Litigation support providers are typically hired by law firms, corporations, and legal consulting firms.  As the market rises towards adoption of digital technology to transform services, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology, so are the litigation support companies progressing towards focusing on digital formats.

ElectronicDiscovery discusses about the discovery of information in civil litigation which majorly deals with the exchange of information in electronic format. E-discovery denotes to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case. E-discovery can be carried out offline on a particular computer or it can be done in a network. Litigation support service, being one of its form, is frequently utilized by law firm and business support staff, outsourced by the firm to specialty groups whose sole role is to extract and analyse evidence supplied by attorneys using digital analysing procedures which are incorporated into a document review format.

Today’s expeditiously racing commercial environment, is making the road rockier for a law firms and litigation support companies to exclusively rely on its in-house staff to resolve legal disputes and conduct the necessary due diligence reviews of customers.  Outsourcing has become an obligation; it is now an expected possibility that any company that has retained the services of a law firm will have litigation support services featured prominently.

The scope and work of eDiscovery is considered outside the dominion of what many attorneys are exposed to, while imparting legal education and this creates a challenge due to its imperceptible form, capacity, and complexities for many attorneys with less proficiency with computer technology.  Most data that is stored in an electronic format is subject to a discovery order under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  In majority of the cases, this data has encompassed company data, personal email, office documentation, as well as photos, video, databases, PDF files and audio files. E-discovery is conducted for almost every case, whether it is needed or not, introducing complications and costs related to the storage and processing of sometimes very large datasets.

The reach of social media sites has gone from being personal “fun time” activities to an important aspect of many company operations.  The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure contains guidelines that allow liberal discovery holding which states “any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defence” is subject to Federal discovery regulations.  Since potentially discoverable information is now generated and stored in social media sites, a review of social media activity is now a key component for litigation support companies.

Considering these risks, the big shot law firms bank onoutside consultants for expert investigative litigation support in order to win cases for their corporate clients. The firms also involve litigation support companies in the process of identifying witnesses and initiating background checks on all parties to the litigation. They can conduct asset verification to check whether the proposed litigation will be able to collect on a judgment, should one be awarded.  They can use forensic accountants to analyse business transactions and can often draw upon a wide network of Federal and State law enforcement agencies with whom the consultants have working or former employment relationships.

Thereby, firms must extensively research on whether to conduct their litigation support activities with in-house personnel or to transfer this function to specialty consulting firms.   Bigger names in the legal industry and law houses, may have the revenues and personnel to conduct many litigation support activities, but even large firms find that from time to time certain litigation support services must be conducted by specialty firms. Litigation support service is not just limited to new technologies like digital data storage.  Placing trust in an experienced litigation support services partner to aid in project management, ensures accuracy, unity, and precision in presentation of documents. Finding the right partner for litigation support projects can be challenging, reason being, while looking for an outsourcing solution, one should compare providers to see which company will best suit their needs.

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