Small Firms Hit the Big Leagues: Leveling the e-discovery playing field

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 12:34

In the following case study, Scott Robinson, senior solutions consultant at Inventus, LLC, discusses how the right e-discovery provider can make all the difference in helping small firms compete on an equal footing with larger firms. He can be reached at srobinson@inventus.com.

Background

Following the economic crash in 2008, Joe Leventhal, a former Am Law 100 attorney, founded a boutique firm, Leventhal Law, based on the proposition that client needs were changing. He observed that, post-crash, clients began to take a different, smarter approach to hiring outside legal service providers. Specific to his practice, clients were looking for business litigators who were savvy about handling matters, large and small, which he saw as an opportunity to start a small firm and practice litigation in a different way from the large firms while still maintaining a high level of quality and client service. This case study tracks his process in achieving that goal with the help of Inventus.

Challenges

He reports that the process was challenging. His current client base is the same as it was at the big law firms, with similar high-stakes and complex litigation matters and, therefore, similar expectations as to support services. Large firms provide substantial in-house litigation support resources, including highly involved administrative staff and paralegals who are well trained in e-discovery. In starting his own firm, it was critical to have outside partners that could provide the same level of support and expertise.  

E-discovery was the most challenging because he wanted to mimic the resources available at larger firms, which included assistance with asking the right questions of clients and opposing counsel in order to identify the proper scope of preservation and collection. It was critical to have reliable and trusted partners, companies like Inventus that really help lawyers at small firms litigate a case, handle electronic discovery and practice just as competently as they could at a larger firm.  

Selecting the Right E-Discovery Provider

Of great value in the selection process was the fact that he had worked with the Inventus team before starting his own firm, and thus knew that we had the knowledge, expertise and experience to handle very large e-discovery projects – essentially that we could seamlessly replace the in-house resources he enjoyed at larger firms. What he wanted was an e-discovery partner that understands the issues and can work collaboratively in any case that implicates a large amount of data.

Sample Matter: Workflow Drives Results

Inventus’ proven discovery workflow is embodied in its Luminosity ecosystem of tools. In one client matter, Leventhal Law started with a very large volume of data. After deploying Luminosity, the data was processed overnight, reduced by 15 percent and ready for review the next day. Ultimately, by using Luminosity’s inVerito tool, the client was able to drastically reduce the original data set by a total of 55 percent.

In just under a month, and on deadline, the client had successfully processed, reviewed and produced their data. The case was settled two weeks later.

 
The Value Proposition

By partnering with Inventus, Leventhal Law maximizes its resources through the efficiencies and processes that the Luminosity platform provides. This arrangement affords Leventhal Law access to the most leading edge e-discovery technologies within the industry, paired with the highest level of support. The result is not just a level playing field, it is a workflow that has been refined over time, giving Leventhal Law’s clients the most value possible when it comes to their outside legal spend.

Driving this point, Mr. Leventhal reports that one of the most expensive challenges in electronic discovery relates to missing something critical on the front end. “Unpleasant surprises, such as being ordered by a court to redo a collection and review, are avoidable if you engage in a defensible process right from the start. Invenus’ project management team is the best in the business. They have the experience to come in at the beginning and either work directly with my client or help me generate the right questions that will tease out the challenging issues and avoid surprises later on. That translates into huge cost savings for the client.”

When it comes to e-discovery, the smarter you are as an attorney, the more likely you will prevail in narrowing the universe of what you need to collect, review and produce. In Mr. Levanthal’s words: “Rather than following an adversary’s direction, Inventus educates me on how to articulate why the process I’ve selected is the right one, and to do so in a way that adversaries simply don’t have the knowledge to refute.”

And further to the value story, multiple engagements enable Inventus law firm partners to provide better cost projections to their clients. They can suggest proven solutions because they’ve already been down that path with Inventus – with successful outcomes. “In every case,” adds Mr. Leventhal, “we discuss how to maximize efficiencies at each step of the process. We already have the context of thinking creatively and staging matters with that in mind, so the prior relationship has tangible value when it comes to keeping costs down. In short, Inventus is very adept at thinking about a case from a business standpoint.”

Partnership

Finally, Mr. Levanthal showcased the importance of relationships that run deeper than the mere fact of doing business together. As president of the San Diego Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, he takes a broader view on what it means to be part of the legal community, and we at Inventus decided to support these efforts in being the e-discovery sponsor of that chapter.

In his words: “Inventus knows that it's important to me to give back to the legal community and help improve the profession. They’ve always been a big supporter of the Federal Bar Association. In fact, Inventus is also supporting me in putting on the District Conference for the Southern District of California, which is separate from the FBA. It’s nice to have a longstanding relationship with Inventus. They understand not only what my clients need, but also my personal goals for giving back to the profession.”

Joe Leventhal, founder of Leventhal law, is an aggressive litigator with extensive experience representing clients of all sizes, from Fortune 250 companies to individuals at the highest levels of corporate America and the U.S. government. He can be reached at jleventhal@leventhallaw.com.