Several large law firms and EDD vendors have announced new or enhanced e-discovery consulting services. So law firms and EDD vendors may compete for e-discovery consulting business. Who should clients choose and what limitations do each face? 

Clients should consider carefully who offers the better set of skills and experiences. BigLaw brands may offer comfort, but some vendors have hired experienced lawyers and may offer the better bundle of skills and experiences.

EDD vendors risk competing against large law firm customers. Were I on the BigLaw buy side, I would not give my EDD business to vendors competing for the same consulting dollars.

BigLaw may suffer from the self-imposed caste system. They typically seeem not to list non-lawyer tech and other experts on EDD practice pages on public web sites. This lacuna could hurt marketing: as a client, I’d want to know about who is on my team. Furthermore, the caste system takes more than just a psychic toll; it can reduce effectiveness by hampering teamwork. Inhouse counsel often buy into the caste mentality but that is balanced by greater awareness of the importance of team work.

I can’t predict who will win the battle for EDD consulting dollars, but it will be interesting to watch the emerging competition.

(Disclosure: no sour bones from me and my NYU JD and two state bar (inactive) memberships.)