The consolidation of the UK and international e-discovery market took a further step today when Huron Consulting Group announced the acquisition of Trilantic. This follows the recent announcement that Grant Thornton had added Legal Inc’s people and expertise to its range of investigative, forensic and litigation services.
For the moment, I have little to add to the press release, but I will be talking in due course to both Lisa Burton, co-founder of Legal Inc, and Nigel Murray of Trilantic, to find out more about what these acquisitions actually mean in terms of the range and depth of services offered to clients, particularly UK clients.
There is a temptation to assume that fees march in step with the size of the provider, that is, that it must necessarily cost more to involve a large organisation to help with e-Disclosure. This perception is derived from two things, neither actually relevant: firstly, this is almost invariably what happens when law firms get bigger, so lawyers expect a corresponding hike in fees when a smaller provider is acquired by a larger one; secondly, larger providers are able to handle larger jobs which necessarily involve fees proportionate to the work which is to be done. That does not mean, however, that an international software company or one of the big consulting firms such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, FTI or Grant Thornton is not willing and able to compete for smaller jobs.
You will only find out by making contact with a broad spread of providers and finding out what the cost implications are of jobs like yours. Quite apart from the point about untested assumptions, the engagement of a big ally allows mid-sized law firms to take on work which would otherwise be beyond them. You happily engage a big-name barrister (whose fees will indeed reflect his or her status) in order to play in the big game; why not find out what it would cost to team up with a top-flight technology supplier? You might be pleasantly surprised, but if you don’t ask, you will never know.