Top Five Questions to Ask When Choosing an eDiscovery Vendor

February 25, 2010




We often get questions from our clients about how best to select an electronic discovery vendor.  Important considerations in this process are what questions to ask, how best to compare vendors and what are the important issues that are typically missed in the selection process.  In particular, our clients often tell us that they sometimes struggle in the vendor selection phase to be able to best assess the quality and capabilities of a vendor.  Given the challenges of choosing the right vendor, we often hear that law firms default to making their decision based almost exclusively on price considerations.    Our list of questions can help you make the right decision based on more than just price.

Top Questions To Ask When Choosing an eDiscovery Vendor

Scope of Services

  • What services does the vendor offer?
  • If case parameters change, will the vendor be able to meet your needs and time frames?
  • Are there volume benefits/discounts if you use multiple services (e.g. processing, hosting and production versus just hosting)?
  • What services are sub-contracted out and does data ever leave the vendor’s site?
  • What size or type of case is too big for the vendor?
  • What have been vendor’s toughest cases?

Expertise (Not all vendors are created equal; and it is not all about price)

  • What is the vendor’s knowledge level of the technical issues?
  • Are the vendor’s employees certified in the tools they use?
  • What is the vendor’s level of understanding of the legal process?
  • Are there legal professionals on staff?
  • How does the vendor’s expertise compare to other vendors?

Quality of Services

  • Is this a vendor that you could see yourself establishing a longer term relationship?
  • How does the vendor manage ensuring high quality service consistently: accurate and on-time?
  • Are errors tracked? What are considered errors? How are errors addressed?
  • What do the references say about the vendor?

Customer Service

  • What hours does the vendor operate?
  • How available are the vendor’s employees during non-business hours?
  • How much lead time is needed for processing and production?
  • How are cases staffed?
  • Who is the primary point of contact? Is it the same throughout the case?
  • What is the nature of the vendor’s project management team and approach?
  • How are issues escalated?

Technical Specifications

  • Does the vendor use proprietary versus non-proprietary software and what are the benefits/trade-offs?
  • If the data is not being processed locally, what is the vendor’s FTP connection speeds and how does this compare with the law firm’s FTP speeds?
  • What is the vendor’s policy on backing up data?
  • What is the vendor’s policy regarding storing data?

About the Author


Lighthouse is a global leader in eDiscovery and information governance solutions to manage the increasingly complex landscape of enterprise data for compliance and legal teams. Since our inception as a local document copy shop in 1995, Lighthouse has evolved with the legal technology landscape, anticipating the trends that shape legal practices, information management, and complex eDiscovery. Whether reacting to incidents like litigation or governmental investigations or designing programs to proactively minimize the potential for future incidents, Lighthouse partners with multinational industry leaders, top global law firms, and the world’s leading software provider as a channel partner.