The jury verdict against Morgan Stanley of $604 in the Perelman-Sunbeam case – based to a large extent on doing e-discovery wrong – raises the question of just what is happening in e-discovery practices. Good data on actual practices are scarce, a problem my friends at EDDix are working to rectify. 

In Perelman Beats Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street Journal reports (5/17/05):

“The verdict shows how costly it can be for corporations who mishandle the document production in legal proceedings, a process known as discovery. Lawsuits often require companies to comb through electronic archives, and these cases are sometimes won or lost based on how the litigants perform these tasks… In the Perelman case, Morgan Stanley kept uncovering new backup tapes, couldn’t perform full searches because of technology glitches and gave material to the other side that was sometimes incomplete or late” (emphasis added)

So, just how do litigants perform these tasks? Litigation support has always been as much art as science and practices tend to vary widely, both within and across firms. So just how are law firms staffed to handle e-discovery? How much do they do internally and how much do they outsource? Who is responsible for making sure a client follows preservation policy? What drives vendor selection?

EDDix, an independent market research company focusing on e-discovery, is now running Law Firm Perspectives on EDD, which uses the Web to interview AmLaw 250 firms to determine current EDD practices. I am working with EDDix on an affiliated basis to help with this primary research, which we expect will produce deep insight into important e-discovery issues and practices. We are seeking online participants: litigators, CIOs, lit supp managers, and transactional lawyers doing due diligence. Participants will receive a free summary report of the research and access to EDDix’s already completed EDD Supplier Landscape study (my blog comments on this study and access to a couple of chapters are here).

To participate in the online interviews, click here: on the left are links that allow you to preview the interview; on the right are links to complete the interview.