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Know Your Vendor and Know Thyself By Eric Rondeau We all have a need to outsource. Fact of life. We’ve all been through our own trials with vendors as well. Keeping things on the cost side down, meeting deadlines-it gives the lawyer and/or paralegal charged with the task of managing a case headache upon headache.

‘’Why hasn’t this been done yet?’’ ‘’Why hasn’t it been done right? ‘’ Interfacing with your vendor or vendors is probably one of the most important tasks you encounter in a serious litigation, especially on the tech side of things. It’s also important to have a good rein on and line of communication with your lit support group if you have one. Law.com recently posted a survey on the matter. They asked both firms and the vendors who provide services to them what they look for in a vendor/firm relationship. The kernel of truth to draw from this piece is communication. Find a vendor who has someone you are able to talk to, who speaks lawyer and techy speak, that understands the unique dimensions of the case you are working on or the overall environment you are working with at your office. Be honest when you are evaluating the levels of services you require and how that meshes with your overall long-term business and IT model. Many times you pay for tech you can’t use.

If you find yourself asking whether you absolutely need something or not, consider whether you want to add a new dimension to your practice, upgrade what you already have or learn how to adapt what you have to the services provided by a vendor. Be aware of what you want to spend. These types of costs (IT, document management, litigation support solutions) can easily spin out of control. The kneejerk reaction is to think you are being swindled and do nothing, tell them to go fly a kite. Or worse to go along with everything a vendor or consultant suggest and end up spending a fortune. For goodness’s sakes man, hire someone who speaks the lingo and can help you out. It will save you money down the line and help improve your practice. It is my experience that most firms do not know how to incorporate the current level of technology into their practice. This is not an insult to lawyers or their firms. Tech moves fast and is a slippery fish. There is always a new product or process and an array of ways to deliver it. As always, my advice is to spend the time up front researching what is out there. Establish a frank line of communication with your vendors and don’t be afraid to shop around. This is a symbiotic industry and both sides can’t live without the other.

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Know Your Vendor and Know Thyself