Our Discovery Counsel Services practice offers both human and technological resources to maximize quality and cost-effectiveness in all discovery-related activities, from start to finish: assessing and advising on the scope of the collection, implementing advanced culling techniques, executing search-term validation, using highly advanced technology for accelerating or automating the review, and producing documents. Our team’s experience covers everything from responding to government subpoenas and investigations involving various agencies (such as the SEC, the OCC and the DOJ) to handling all aspects of discovery in complex litigation, including financial services and securities litigation, class actions, employment, patent and commercial litigation. We are frequently called upon in large matters to manage the discovery, and work with other firms or other McGuireWoods teams, either or both of which may be handling the merits. Discovery Counsel Services includes a large team of lawyers — including partners, counsel and staff attorneys — who devote their practices exclusively to discovery. As Discovery Counsel, we help prevent litigation from becoming about discovery rather than the merits of the case. Because we align our services with unique client legal and business objectives, we focus on keeping discovery costs reasonable and case-proportionate.
We offer significant depth in all aspects of discovery counseling, and we provide services from ad hoc e-discovery advice to serving as full-scale National Discovery Counsel, a role in which we provide companywide advice on discovery issues. We also serve as record Discovery Counsel in pending litigation and government investigations, handling all aspects of preservation, collection, review and production.
National Discovery Counsel
McGuireWoods serves as National Discovery Counsel (NDC) and provides discovery counseling services to some of the world’s largest companies, including a Fortune 50 and a Fortune Global 500 financial institution.
As NDC, McGuireWoods helps its clients:
- Streamline preservation and collection practices and develop discovery forms and guidelines;
- Engage the right vendors under the best pricing arrangements to cull and host data;
- Train in-house client lawyers on-site to handle e-discovery cost-effectively;
- Serve as Discovery Counsel in large cases, and work with separate merits firms to ensure that a reasonable ESI plan is implemented; and
- Manage document reviews in a cost-effective and accurate manner, minimizing costs through effective use of vendor selection and technology
Ultimately the goal is to avoid expensive discovery fights in court. The courts have stressed the need for cooperation between the parties and transparency in the discovery process. Effective negotiation, however, requires lawyers who really understand electronically stored information (ESI) and have extensive experience with large data collection and the use of e-discovery technology. It also requires a transparent and open style. Early negotiation of e-discovery issues can resolve many issues before they develop into disputes, and a transparent cooperative approach is more likely to gain support by the court. Winning discovery disputes depends upon accurately assessing court expectations and then making a written record of attempts to meet those expectations and obligations under the rules.
McGuireWoods’ most valuable assets are its experienced lawyers, who have had years of experience working solely in discovery, and primarily the electronic discovery. This practical experience is invaluable in large cases, where creative, innovative ESI plans are needed to avoid skyrocketing discovery costs.
We maintain two off-site e-discovery facilities, one in Charlotte, N.C., and one in Richmond, Va., which can house up to 200 reviewers at a time. Our e-discovery team leverages depth of process and technology experience to maximize accuracy and efficiency. Our review process is proprietary, using state-of-the art technology.
We use technology for analyzing and culling the data pre-review to minimize the number of documents that have to be reviewed by attorneys. Through the use of sophisticated analytics technology and negotiations with the opposing side to cull the custodian list and limit the data to a reasonable time frame, we find that even in very large cases, we can reduce the data set to a manageable level. McGuireWoods continuously evaluates new technology to determine whether we can obtain further cost savings and accuracy.
We also realize optimal benefits through efficiency in communication, case management systems, real-time online meetings and videoconferencing. Through knowledge management initiatives, such as our extranet service McGuireWoods Connect, we share information and documents quickly and securely, regardless of geography.
ESI plans are customized for each case and depend upon the nature, volume and types of electronic information, as well as on required parameters for confidentiality, security and addressing unique issues. McGuireWoods’ clients benefit from our team of sophisticated discovery lawyers who combine their knowledge of the latest e-discovery technology with their litigation and electronic discovery experience to create a cost-effective, defensible plan. The lawyers on the DCS team are also highly experienced at handling all aspects of discovery in large commercial litigation, including drafting protective orders, defending 30b6 depositions on discovery issues, drafting responses to discovery requests and defending and filing motions to compel.
Document Retention Policies
Because McGuireWoods represents a significant number of large companies, the firm is often asked to help develop and update document retention programs. We assist clients in creating formalized records-retention processes designed to ensure consistent protocol application and companywide compliance with applicable state and national laws and regulatory guidelines. To ensure that our recommendations actually work in the real world, we work closely with records managers, technology providers and training personnel. We also audit policy compliance after implementation and assist with application of new policies to historical data.