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Paralegals in eDiscovery: Why They Should Be Involved From the Start

Paralegals in eDiscovery
National Paralegal Reporter

This article, Paralegals in eDiscovery: Why They Should Be Involved From the Start, appeared in the publication National Paralegal Reporter’s Spring 2018 issue, where BIA’s Barry Schwartz discusses how involving paralegals in eDiscovery projects from the outset of a project is becoming more and more crucial to successful eDiscovery outcomes.

Paralegals were here first.

Long before eDiscovery entered the world of litigation, paralegals already played an essential role in that world—maintaining files, assisting with depositions, coordinating schedules and logistics, and helping to prepare cases for trial.  As an eDiscovery company with our own reprographics center, BIA is no stranger to the enormous value of paralegals and their ever-expanding expertise. Now that discovery has become synonymous with eDiscovery, and projects involving technology-assisted review are more common than not, the roles that paralegals can and should take on are widely varied and increasingly vital. 

In the article, Barry discusses four areas in which paralegals can develop their skills and contribute to the eDiscovery process from the very beginning. 

  • First, paralegals can implement an eDiscovery playbook for the firm or in-house counsel; this will transform an ad-hoc eDiscovery approach into a smooth, predictable, and efficient process that can be used for any future projects that hit their desks. 
  • Next, paralegals can create and maintain a comprehensive, well-organized eDiscovery database; even if an outside vendor is involved in the eDiscovery process, in order to reduce confusion it’s essential for paralegals to understand the technology and the setup from the outset. 
  • Third, paralegals can help establish protocols for review and production; having a good handle on coding protocols and project guidelines will keep the project consistent and defensible. 
  • Last but far from least, paralegals can be extremely valuable assets to project management overall; with their compounding institutional knowledge and organizational skills, paralegals are well situated to serve as day-to-day liaisons between eDiscovery vendors and the firm.

Paralegals can wear many hats as members of a legal team.  When paralegals are involved at the outset of an eDiscovery project, their familiarity with all aspects of the entire process is incredibly valuable for effectively seeing the project to completion.  We at BIA understand the crucial roles that paralegals can take on as liaisons and experts of their own projects, and we offer law firms and in-house counsel several types of eDiscovery services to best fit all the needs of a legal team. 

Since 2002, the eDiscovery experts at BIA have been helping legal teams structure and carry out eDiscovery projects, prioritizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The next time you have an eDiscovery project on your horizon, consider contacting BIA’s Consulting and Advisory services. We will work with you to assess and determine your unique set of needs, and we’ll get you on the best path toward structuring, deploying, and managing your project. Need to create or update an ESI production protocol? Need a tailor-made custodian questionnaire that will save you time and money when it comes time to do custodian interviews for a legal hold? Need help developing a BYOD policy for your firm that covers all the nooks and crannies where data might be living now during the COVID/WFH era? Need help extracting your company from a stagnated (or worse) relationship with an eDiscovery provider? Our advisors examine each firm and each matter through both legal and technological lenses. We urge you to put us to the test with even your most complex questions.

If you’d like a refresher on best practices in eDiscovery and need something to reference along the way, consider our eDiscovery Best Practices Guides.   We customize guides for law firms or corporations to help your team create clear, effective, and defensible practices for your upcoming eDiscovery. A comprehensive document like this as your GPS can help keep all your team members on the same page, heading toward the same outcome and with the same goals along the way, from A to Z.

BIA has particular expertise in providing eDiscovery Managed Services.  We can provide the eDiscovery services that best fit your legal team as well as the workflows that best fit your project. The result is a significant reduction in overall litigation spend and legal risk.  Rather than outsourcing to several different outside parties or vendors, the legal teams of BIA’s corporate enterprise clients entrust us with the management of all aspects of eDiscovery—from kickoffs to case settlements.  We understand the wide variety of tasks that legal team members take on, and we will be there every step of the way.  Let us help your paralegals. Let us be your paralegals. Or let us do both.

Run smooth and cost-effective eDiscovery.

Read more about the benefits of giving paralegals specific roles from the very beginning of an eDiscovery project.