A very insightful column on Slaw.ca today by Debbie Westwood of the InTechGration Consulting Firm who declares that the biggest challenge facing lawyers in e-discovery is NOT the volume of data, new technology, or the jargon; but the lack of planning.
“Litigators are not known for being proactive. Reactive litigating is not the way to handle eDiscovery.”
Debbie boldly states that “planning is boring.” That phrase accurately defines the mindset of high-strung and stressed litigators. Nobody has time for contemplating the specifics of “that e-discovery stuff.”
But as Debbie points out, failing to plan and manage all the details of an e-discovery project “will result in significantly and unnecessary higher costs (and much higher risks) for your client.”
I wholeheartedly agree with Debbie’s assertion that e-discovery professionals MUST utilize project management techniques in their work because it may be the only way to apply a formal framework to the craziness that will inevitably ensue.
Managing an e-discovery project is much more than just having a general goal or overall plan. As Debbie points out, the most effective project managers will facilitate communication among the team, nit-pick about all the little details that others try to ignore, and provide an important source for all those “what-if” scenarios that only experience with past projects can teach.
Link to column.