The Problems With “One-Stop-Shopping” Discovery Vendors

The Problems With “One-Stop-Shopping” Discovery Vendors

Brian D’Amico takes a compelling look at the growing use of turn-key, “one-stop-shopping” discovery vendors.  His article from the Daily Business Review addresses a recent ethics opinion from the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law. The Opinion warns that the broad services offered by some discovery vendors venture into the unauthorized practice of law. The Opinion also discusses that some of the vendor’s promotional materials are ambiguous or misleading regarding their capabilities.

The Opinion gives examples of actual promotions from discovery vendors that the committee found concerning.

  • “We design, develop, and manage the entire review process instead of just providing contract attorneys and software and leaving the rest to the client.”
  • “Simply put, our experience in running your project . . . managing a soup-to-nuts document project from process to production – is unparalleled.”
  • “[We have] the ability to run every aspect of discovery management and document review with as much or as little involvement as you require.”
  • “Our consultants develop and implement methods and manage the overall discovery process to yield efficiency and cost savings.”
  • “Our managed services are tailored to specific project needs and include comprehensive project planning, on-site review team supervision, privilege log preparation, e-vender selection, and more.”

 Opinion 21-12, and others like D.C. Bar Ethics Opinion 362 , remind attorneys not to forget local rules regarding supervision of non-lawyers and non-lawyer ownership of law firms.