A recent article suggested that law firms should make electronic evidence discovery an in-house profit center. Blogger Adam Smith, Esq. beat me to the punch in explaining why this is an ill-considered idea. 

His post, EDD: Look Who’s Not Coming to Dinner, explains three reasons why law firms should not bring EDD in-house: highly variable demand and capacity utilization, technology and processes in a constant state of flux, and disequilibrium in the state of the industry and its profit margins.

To this, I would add another caution. It is much easier to explain and justify a third-party disbursement than a law firm’s own time or line item charges (e.g, copying). Clients realize that the EDD space is rapidly changing and can reasonably expect a law firm to seek competitive bids. This does not mean that the lowest price wins; rather, it helps assure a reasonable price for the right services.

As I indicated in my prior post, I expect that law firms will develop the expertise to manage EDD. It’s one thing to have that expertise, it’s another to own all the tools of productions and manage the process internally.