Is your E-discovery Expert Qualified?

On Feb 8, 2008 Chancellor William B. Candler III of the Court of Chancery of Delaware issued an opinion directing a third party to submit information regarding the ediscovery qualification of an information consultant.

This case illustrates that although the actual gathering of electronic information should be left for outside experts, it is also important to ascertain their qualifications since they can be called in doubt. Before hiring a e-discovery expert, there are some steps that can be taken to achieve the best results which may minimize the overall costs of litigation.

Compiling a request for proposal is a good way to assess vendor qulification and organize the ediscovery process. The RFP can also serve as a bid for potential vendors. The Sedona Conference® white paper entitled "Best Practices for the Selection of  Electronic Discovery Vendors," lists several criteria that are deemed essential to evaluate a vendor's qualification in handling the job.

  • Vendor background - investigate the reputation and integrity of the vendor under consideration as well as any litigation histories.
  • Personnel background - investigate the vendor's employees and any of its subcontractors as well as its hiring procedures.
  • Product or service - check the services the vendor offers or propose to offer.
  • Conflict check - ensure that the vendor under consideration does not have access to privileged information that may jeopardize a pending matter.

Most vendors specialize in one area of electronic discovery, i.e. preserving it, gathering it, reviewing it, etc.  Know what you are looking for and where their expertise lies before signing on.