The Cowen Group Survey of AmLaw 200 Firms Reveals Key Industry Trends - Including Plans For Continued eDiscovery Hiring

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Cowen Group's 2011 eDiscovery Models and Structures Survey Reveals 60% of law firms surveyed plan to hire eDiscovery staff within next six months.

The Cowen Group, Legal Technology, Litigation Support, EDiscovery

The Cowen Group's 2011 eDiscovery Models and Structures Survey Reveals 60% of law firms surveyed plan to hire eDiscovery staff within next six months

It was somewhat surprising that so many firms had yet to conduct client litigation profile surveys.

As the economic and legal landscape continues to dramatically shift in the eDiscovery field, law firms across the country are scrambling to determine the best strategic approaches in staffing, technology and processes to best serve their clients and preserve profitability. The Cowen Group’s 2011 Models and Structures Survey collected responses from directors or national managers of litigation support or eDiscovery practice group (EDPG) leadership at 45 major AmLaw 200 firms to determine how they're handling these and related challenges. Three key findings from the survey stand out:

1.       60% of law firms are planning on increasing their eDiscovery staff in the next 6 months;
2.       40% of law firms have not conducted client litigation profile surveys (to best determine client needs and how to match services to these needs);
3.       Consulting and Project Management are by far the two biggest areas of potential growth.

David Cowen, Founder and Principle of The Cowen Group said that these findings demonstrate that, “even in a down market, these eDiscovery departments have continued to grow. Law firms need to seriously consider how they're providing services (including pricing models) based on this evolving landscape.”

He noted that it was somewhat surprising that so many firms had yet to conduct client litigation profile surveys. “Given the client driven nature of a law firm business. all major offerings should be tied to client needs. It seems that many firms are simply striving to keep up with the larger, full service firms - but don't know if their offerings really meets their client needs).”

Jennifer Schwartz, Senior Director, Market Research and Advisory Services, said that the great interest in consulting and project management as growth areas is not surprising and ties directly to the increasingly sophisticated needs of clients. “Corporations are seeking partners who can play a more consultative role,” she said. “The number of rules and interpretations of those rules continue to increase, the amount of data continues to explode and the process is even more complex. It only makes sense that law firms are getting involved in a consultative role earlier in the process.”

Project management and process management are current key buzzwords. The increasing amount of data and number/interpretations of rules has made the process more complex; more stakeholders, choke points, etc. trying to get law firms in earlier stage. 

The Models and Structures survey was comprised of questions aimed to increase clarity and create a framework of thinking around the discussion between industry leaders, with a final objective of creating definitions for the business models employed by top firms in the country. The questions are aimed at examining the what, why, and how of the various eDiscovery models and structures currently deployed by law firms looking at several distinct variables:
Client and litigation landscape
Executive leadership
Department structure/organization
Capabilities (staff talent)
Capacity (workflow, data thresholds, use of external resources)
Financial metrics
Investment trends

Full results can be requested by contacting Jennifer Schwartz, Senior Director of Advisory Services & Market Research at The Cowen Group. A Snapshot Summary of the report can be found at http://www.CowenGroup.com, which is a leading source of professional guidance and inside market knowledge for the eDiscovery industry.

About The Cowen Group
The Cowen Group is the premier provider of staffing and recruiting for eDiscovery, Legal Technology, Litigation Support, and Information Governance professionals. Our clients nationwide and throughout Europe include 85 of the AmLaw 200 as well as 125 Fortune 500 companies and some of the most prominent vendors and providers in the legal services industry. To learn more, visit http://www.cowengroup.com or call 212.661.0025.

Media Contact: Maribel Rivera at (212) 661 0025 or maribel(at)cowengroup(dot)com

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