Does every big law firm need it’s own e-discovery attorney? That’s the question posed and thoughtfully answered by a good new article. 

E–Discovery Attorneys: Hot or Not? in LawFirm, Inc. (June 2006) by Seth Davis, a recruiter with Major, Lindsey & Africa, examines the emerging trend of law firms and law departments “seeking e-discovery managers, e-discovery consultants, e-discovery engineers, e-discovery gurus, e-discovery and document-retention specialists and, finally, attorneys who understand e-discovery. ”

According to Davis, the challenges, uncertainties, and frustrations of electronic discovery have led many legal organizations to want to hire an attorney who specializes in e-discovery. “The Am Law 100 has been bringing back former technology and litigation associates to run their internal e-discovery departments.” But Davis points out the supply of qualified lawyers is limited – probably no more than 200.

Firms looking for a quick fix to their discovery challenges should, however, be cautious. They need to “recognize that the technology your firm uses will be no different than what the vendors are using. As a result, a new e-discovery department may find itself working through problems that many vendors dealt with years before. My advice is for firm leaders to be patient with a new e-discovery attorney.”

As a consultant, I advised some of my clients to consider this type of role a couple of years ago already, so I agree with Davis’ assessment.