Getting a “Clue” About eDiscovery Stakeholders, Part One: eDiscovery Best Practices

Yesterday may have been “eDiscovery Case Law Day”, but this week is “Stakeholder Week”!  On Tuesday, I started a new series for the Ipro blog regarding the 5 Stakeholder Groups of the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM).  But, I also recently covered project management best practices for a company training that I did recently and one of the topics within that discussion was eDiscovery stakeholders, where we used the board game “Clue” to illustrate the various potential stakeholders in a typical eDiscovery project.

Anybody remember the old board game “Clue”?  It’s been around so long, even I played it as a kid.  The typical eDiscovery project today often has as many stakeholders as characters in the board game Clue and it’s a “lead pipe” cinch that if you give them enough “rope” without proper management, they will certainly “wrench” your project, leaving you to wonder “whodunnit” and why.  Is that enough puns for one sentence?  ;o)

Regardless, stakeholder management is one of the key knowledge areas to manage as a project manager.  There can be a number of stakeholders in any eDiscovery project and they can involve multiple organizations.  Not too long ago, I managed a project where the company I was working for at the time was providing services to another service provider which had a corporate client and needed to coordinate with that client’s outside counsel firm.  In turn, we had a provider partner providing some additional services.  As a result, we had five different organizations represented in some calls to discuss how to proceed with discovery.  And, this is not uncommon.

OpenText

So, how best to represent the different stakeholders in eDiscovery?  By using the characters in the board game “Clue”!  So, let’s have a little fun with it and represent the different stakeholders as “Clue” characters!  I’ll talk about each of them, what motivates them and how to make them happy.  Pay no attention to the gender of each “character” as each stakeholder type could be any gender.  I’ll represent the first three in this blog post and the remaining three in tomorrow’s conclusion.  And, as you can see by the graphics in this post, I prefer the “old school” version of the game!

Lead Attorney

Biggest Motivators: Meeting Deadlines, Favorable Outcome for the Case and (of course) Billable Revenue

How to Make Him/Her Happy: Expedite the delivery of information to make key case decisions, Effective workflow and project tracking to manage and meet production deadlines.

So, which Clue character will I use for this stakeholder?

Mr. Green, of course.  Get it?  “Green” because he (or she) is focused on billable revenue.  And, also because with regard to technology, he (or she) may be a little “green”.  Not only is the lead attorney focused on billable revenue, Mr. Green is also focused on meeting deadlines and production obligations.  So, as a project manager, you can make Mr. Green happy by providing useful information as early as possible for decision making and helping him meet those deadlines.

Supervising Review Attorney

Biggest Motivators: High Quality and Timely Review, Eliminate Inadvertent Disclosures

How to Make Him/Her Happy: Eliminate Review Bottlenecks, Provide Accurate Workflow and Metrics Tools to Confirm Successful Review Completion

Which “Clue” character fits best here?

It’s Mrs. White!  Mrs. White has a lot to coordinate to make sure that the review of documents doesn’t wind up being “half baked” (sorry, folks, these are the jokes).  She (or he) has review deadlines to meet and wants to avoid some of the eDiscovery disasters we’ve seen in the past with regard to inadvertent disclosures.  So, good, timely information to make key decisions and support to keep the workflow moving will make Mrs. White happy.  By the way, sometimes, the lead attorney and the supervising review attorney are the same person, but other times, they’re different people and need to be on the same page to help ensure a successful result, which doesn’t always happen.

Litigation Service Provider

Biggest Motivators: Identifying Service Opportunities, Happy Clients for Repeat Business

How to Make Him/Her Happy: Provide Clear Directions & Expectations, Treat as a Partner (Not as a Vendor)

So, which Clue character will I use for this stakeholder?

Miss Scarlet!  Why Miss Scarlet?  Well, frankly, I couldn’t find any place better for her to fit and, in some cases, people who become LSPs start out as paralegals or IT people in law firms and it turns into a career as an LSP from that.  By the way, in this case, we’re talking the external LSP, not an internal litigation support person.  The LSP wants to be helpful, to identify opportunities where she can help and she (or he) needs clear directions to ensure quality delivery of services.  Also, Miss Scarlet works better when working with you as a partner, not as an order taker – she has certain expertise that you should take advantage of to ensure a successful project outcome.

There are the first three stakeholders/”Clue” characters for you.  I’ll cover the remaining three tomorrow!

So, what do you think?  How many types of stakeholders do you typically deal with in an eDiscovery project?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Images Copyright © Parker Brothers

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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