AmLaw firms get lots of love in eDiscovery circles, leaving many small and mid-sized firms to feel under-resourced and unsure of what to do when they have eDiscovery needs. This brief post is addressed to small law firms, and while it doesn't contain anything earth-shattering, hopefully it will grant a bit of perspective and peace of mind.
For most of the past decade, Relativity was the undisputed belle of the ball for document review software in AmLaw 200 and Global 100 law firm settings. But those firms comprise only a fraction of all litigators, so what about eDiscovery software for small law firms?
To use Relativity, or not use Relativity?
Because multiple things can be true at the same time, these are all fair statements:
- For many people, Relativity is synonymous with eDiscovery
- Historically, Relativity has been too expensive for most small and many mid-sized firms - and even for smaller matters at larger firms - It is an incredibly powerful platform and has earned its market share - but it's also incredibly complex. Even many people with login credentials can't effectively navigate the platform. Truly proficient users typically hold multiple certifications offered by Relativity (it's actually why we created our own piece of reporting software, to help people get intuitive access to otherwise difficult-to-find information)
- Their slow adoption of the cloud (probably mutually reinforced by a comfortable economic position and a cautious-to-the-point-of-paranoid customer base) opened the door for upstarts to gain a foothold
- RelOne had a very slow rollout and tepid user adoption. Contributing to this was concerns about cloud security (even has corporations moved more of their own operations to Azure and AWS), pushback over initial pricing models, and good old fashioned human aversion to change. It is now is seeing significantly more market adoption by large law firms and corporations on multiple continents.
Alternatives to Relativity
At Proteus, we work with many different software tools because we are a platform-agnostic service provider. This means we don't force clients to use our accounts - we can ingest client data into our accounts, or we can log in to a tool they already have access to and prefer.
- How often do you perform document review projects?
- How large and complex are they?
- Are you commonly engaging a managed document review provider?
For example, if your firm has paralegals perform internal document review on a few hundred or maybe a few thousand documents 4-5 times per year, purchasing your own Relativity account would be overkill.