E-Discovery Technology And The Art Of Client Service

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 17:42

The Editor interviews George Kiersted, President, Kiersted Systems.

Editor: Kiersted Systems has a 30-year record of delivering superior results in electronic discovery projects – on time and on budget. What key factors do you address in helping clients manage today’s litigation costs? 

Kiersted: Clients are dealing with vast increases in data volumes, which are costly to store and even more costly to retrieve and review during discovery. When litigation arises, they also face budget pressures, pressing deadlines and high-stakes consequences. Our overarching goal is to provide helpful tools, such as Kiersted Direct, which cuts costs by streamlining the discovery process. Users can reduce, or cull, data volumes right at their source and before the most expensive human review phase begins. By intelligently culling unnecessary data early on, Kiersted Direct delivers benefits that will pay dividends throughout the entire litigation process and, importantly, help projects stay on budget.

Editor: When a company or law firm takes on the responsibility for e-discovery processes, is there a learning curve involved? What can Kiersted do to help?

Kiersted: It’s an interesting question because clients come to us with varying levels of experience. Some have worked only with certain types of matters: perhaps they’ve handled lots of litigation but now are engaged in a government investigation. Our job is to help them understand the technology and e-discovery-related aspects of a particular project, and no matter what their level of sophistication may be, they always benefit from our experience.

Kiersted also has substantial experience working with a mixture of clients, for instance when a law firm and a corporate client engage with us on the same matter. We always educate our clients; thus, an important metric for us in assessing their current level of experience is to determine whether either party has worked with us before. If they have, then the learning curve for subsequent projects will be shorter, and the process itself will become more streamlined and cost-effective.

An outstanding product differentiator for us is our True Review tool. True Review allows clients to take control of the most costly aspect of e-discovery, human-review. With True Review, clients can monitor reviewer progress, accuracy and productivity in real time with just a few mouse clicks. Review managers can instantly take corrective action while issues are still in their infancy. Just imagine the costs of discovering widespread document review issues after the review is complete, budgets are expended and the production deadline is at hand. True Review gives clients the insight and knowledge to avoid these damaging scenarios.

Editor: How does Kiersted foster effective communications when there is a mixture of clients, for instance, between insurance companies and their outside defense firms?

Kiersted: Insurance companies face some unique communication challenges vis-à-vis outside firms, often in the context of a complicated tripartite relationship. Our role is to leverage exceptional, proprietary technology and an expert service team to deliver guidance and a communications process that meets the needs of both the insurance carriers and their outside defense firms.

One thing we do particularly well is to fine-tune the discovery process, which is particularly useful for companies in litigation-heavy industries, such as insurance. Clients that work with us on multiple matters can leverage the benefits of their own experience and establish a process with Kiersted that is predictable and customized to the particular needs of their company and industry. This outcome is a direct function of the communications we facilitate among all participants.

Another area of customization pertains to the process adjustments we often make based on the substantive legal issue, for instance if the matter pertains to M&A, IP or perhaps a regulatory investigation. The same technology and expert assistance are at work from our end, but different legal decisions and strategies are required, so we must adapt the workflow and communication parameters to the issue at hand.

Editor: What factors should companies consider in selecting an e-discovery preferred vendor?

Kiersted: Once companies or law firms take ownership of the e-discovery process, they might select a small number of providers to use on a regular basis. They’re looking for a good working relationship over multiple projects so they can leverage all the fine-tuning efforts from those projects and obtain dependable pricing. Specific factors include stability, cost-effectiveness, a smooth/efficient process, excellent/dependable results and responsive service, both as proven deliverables from past projects and as qualities that clients can count on going forward. 

Editor: Strong client relationships are a hallmark of Kiersted’s services. In closing, please tell us why clients have chosen you as a preferred vendor.

Kiersted: Our client relationships perfectly fit the model I just described. We’ve done hundreds, even thousands, of projects for individual clients who use us as a preferred vendor because we listen to their needs and do things their way. They like the consistency with which we train all participants in a project, which yields predictable results with no surprises along the way.  When they tell us that we “knocked a project out of the park,” they are recognizing the long hours and total dedication we give every step of the way.

But nothing tells the story better than actual client feedback. Reflecting our company culture of quiet confidence, clients tell us about our own excellent reputation and express that Kiersted Systems is an easy choice. One client put it this way: “(Kiersted Systems is) knowledgeable and connected without being overbearing. This type of customer service is a lost art.”

Please email the interviewee at gkiersted@kiersted.com with questions about this interview.