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Why Winston & Strawn Created an In-House e-Discovery Group


Why Winston & Strawn Created an In-House e-Discovery Group

Winston & Strawn's e-discovery group may lack glamor, but it is definitely justifying its existence as one of the fastest-growing department of the law firm. The success of the department has drawn so much industry attention that The Washington Post recently carried a feature with an interview of John Rosenthal the chair of the group. The law firm subsequently highlighted the fact in a post made on July 20.

According to Washington Post's Catherine Ho, for three consecutive years, revenue from the e-discovery group has witnessed double-digit growth. Rosenthal said that in 2013, the group brought in revenue of more than $20 million. Though that was a fraction of the law firm's total revenue of $741 million, the fact is, as Rosenthal said, it's more important as a differentiator to the firm's clients, than from the standpoint of dollars.

Winston stressed the fact in the post on its site, stating, "Winston separates itself from the Am Law 100 pack by keeping eDiscovery in-house rather than outsourcing to third-party document management companies. With discovery being the most expensive aspect of litigation (about 60% of litigation revenue), Winston's in-house eDiscovery group allows clients to minimize costs while increasing efficiency through its "predictive coding" technology which electronically scans documents for relevancy."

And the law firm believes Winston's in-house eDiscovery service has already matured to a point where it can directly compete with well-established eDiscovery vendors. Rosenthal said in support, "We're getting hired to just do the eDiscovery and work with other law firms to handle the substance ... For us, I think the growth will continue for quite a while."

The law firm currently has scores of document review attorneys working at the review centers in the law firm's New York and Washington offices. The numbers of attorneys doing document review work can highly fluctuate as review attorneys are frequently hired for short-term projects, even though, while working for the law firm, they enjoy all privileges of full-time employees.

According to Washington Post, the e-discovery group of the Winston & Strawn law firm is gearing up to compete with big e-discovery vendors like Kroll and FTI. And as this is both a sensitive and expensive area of law firm work and litigation, a practice group of a big law firm may just have a better edge.

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