At the start of every project, it’s important to lay the right foundation with the people who will be involved in the work. In the eDiscovery context, the case kickoff call is the first step in that process. It is an opportunity to establish a good working relationship among the team members which will pay off in better communications, improved accuracy, and more efficient services. Below are a few tips for a successful kickoff call:
- Include the right people. The project manager, project coordinator, client and their in-house litigation support staff should participate. It is a chance to introduce everyone to each other and understand their respective roles, which will help build a stronger team and better relationship between the client and service provider.
- Provide an overview of the process and expectations. The project management team should ask the client about the data: will the forensics team collect the data, will it be load-ready, or will it require processing, will the data consist of email and loose documents or will there be mobile data, etc. Depending upon the client’s response, the project management team should offer different workflow suggestions and explain the various process options.
While the discussions should help the client better understand the workflow, they will also help guide the project manager regarding his/her level of involvement. A newer client may need more guidance; while an experienced client may look to the project manager as a consultant identifying ways to improve efficiency or reduce costs.
- Review upcoming deadlines. The kickoff call should go over deadlines to discuss how they can be met. The project manager can set the pace for the project team and alert internal teams about the client’s expectations.
- Discuss set up of the database. Information about the incoming data should be shared to the extent possible including the data size, data types and naming conventions. The more information a provider has to work with, the more consultative and proactive it can be in moving data efficiently through processing and into review.
- Centralize communications. The kickoff call should establish the primary contacts and communication channels. The eDiscovery service provider should assign a primary project manager to the matter. Similarly, the client may wish to assign a central litigation support professional as a conduit for case team communications with the provider. This can help avoid problems arising from conflicting database requests from the case team.
- Keep it short. The call itself shouldn’t take more than 15-30 minutes.
When there is a lot of work to be done and deadlines are looming, it is a natural reaction to jump right in and start working. However, a kickoff call is an early investment of time that will result in a long-term payoff.
For more guidance, read our related post on 6 tips to get the most out of working with your eDiscovery service provider or contact the CDS Advisory Services team to discuss how you can streamline your next eDiscovery project