Should law firms do e-discovery data collection and processing inhouse? 

Most large firms have – and should have – the capacity to process and collect some amount of data. The question is how much. As far as I know, only a handful of large firms have significant in-house EDD collection / processing and run it as a significant profit center.

Personally, I would avoid the risk of mistakes and challenge of keeping up with ever-changing technology. A more general issue is the role of businesses beyond pure practice inside of or connected to a firm. Law Firms Backing Away From Affiliate Businesses (National Law Journal, 11/2/07) reports that many firms are selling affiliates and few are opening new ones.

Whether a big e-discovery processing center is run as a legally separate affiliate or not, I think it raises the same issue: should law firms be in businesses other than law practice? I think that this article adds to the reasons to avoid turning EDD processing into a business venture.