What Keeps You Up at Night Roundtable Takeaway

By Kathy Dallaire, CEDS posted 12-05-2019 10:12


What keeps you up at night ?
December 4, 2019 Round Table


  • Data migration when bringing software in-house or moving to the cloud
  • Takeaway:  prepare, prepare and prepare – things can go smoothly.  Transitioning to an in-house solution or migrating 25 TB of data to a cloud solution can and has been done.  It’s a huge endeavor - delegate the workload – being Project Manager and doing all is overwhelming. Make sure your entire team has the game plan and the attorneys are onboard. 

  • Does my team have the right tools ?
  • Takeaway:  software is such a huge investment in time and money it’s essential to have a solid business case, perform a thorough needs assessment and ensure the attorneys are on board.  These steps will go a long way towards ensuring buy-in. Be aware that if the team has spent a lot of time training and obtaining certifications on one tool, they may find it difficult to adopt a completely new tool.  Being flexible is also important, the litigation team may want or be required to use an entirely new tool.  

  • Does my team have the appropriate skills ?
  • Takeaway:  cross-train team members to ensure not only the continuity of your team in the absence of a team member and will ensure they have the right skills if they need to go elsewhere.  Finding talent is difficult – sometimes it’s better to teach up because qualified talent may not be available in your area.
  • Poor data culling decisions
  • Takeaway:  put an end to common errors in deduplication – such as files identified as duplicates solely based on the absence of text.  Take time to determine what type of data should be eliminated from deduping - is an attachment to an email really an exact duplicate of a stand-alone document ?  Is it appropriate to eliminate emails, attachments and files with no text from the deduplication process?
  • Poor documentation of key decisions
  • Takeaway: do everything you can to avoid not knowing eight months down the line why a decision was made and by whom.  Document all key decisions - why a custodian was removed or not collected? Log the location of all evidence – what drive is it located on or is it in the DMS?  Prepare detailed project charters. Keep this information centralized and available to the entire team so anyone can jump in if needed.  Documentation can take many forms – an Excel spreadsheet, project management application, One Note  a simple screen capture or, as a bare minimum adequately filing relevant emails.  Take time to determine what information you need to log and ensure your team is on board.
  • Poor billing narratives
  • Takeaway:  Remember that good billing narratives are essential to realization.  Know your audience - ask the partner in charge what the client prefers – a complete description of the tasks performed or a summary description only ?  Be abstract in your approach but specific in details – a narrative must at least provide the context of what you are doing to ensure the value is clear and tie the narrative to what’s happening in the legal process. If prepping for an examination, name the witness and the date, name the custodian you’re collecting and processing.  Make sure you know what the client guidelines  are – some have become very sophisticated and rewriting narratives after the fact requires more time and effort.
  • Promoting your team
  • Takeaway:  Be sure to share the value of your team as often as possible.  Make sure everyone knows that Litigation Support is as much a part of the team as associates and paralegals.