The Five Top Concerns in Dealing with a Litigation Support Service Provider

by | Aug 26, 2019

For a law firm, being entrusted with someone’s mass tort claim is a serious responsibility. If you are considering working with a litigation support service provider, you need to ensure that they take that responsibility as seriously as you do. Law firms  often voice similar concerns about working with an outside provider:

  1. “The work product delivered was not what we were expecting and it cost more than we thought.” This may well be the most prevalent concern from mass tort lawyers regarding their previous experiences with outsourced litigation support services providers. Your firm should follow these guidelines when negotiating with vendors:
    • A litigation support service provider should have the experience to understand the general requirements of a project and should take the time to understand your specific requirements.
    • A vendor should produce a statement of work that clearly details the services to be provided, the expected deliverables, a project timeline and the anticipated costs should be agreed to prior to the start of any work and the provider must meet the commitments in that statement of work.
  1. “Communication throughout the project is not what we had hoped for. We couldn’t get answers!” This is most often described by law firms saying that their cases are dropped into a black hole. Once firms send cases to a provider, they feel helpless since they cannot get timely updates on a project’s progress or the status of a particular claim. Law firms should ensure that:
    • A reporting schedule is part of the statement of work. Ideally, the provider you are considering working with will have an online portal to their system that will provide you with real-time visibility to their work and an up-to-date status on each claim.
    • The provider is kept updated about the status of the litigation as it changes, so that communication requirements can be adjusted accordingly.
    • The vendor assigns one person on the project team to serve as the primary liaison with the law firm and law firms should consider doing the same to facilitate ongoing communications.
  2. “The work is taking too long to get done.” This is a significant concern, especially if the delay causes the lawyer to miss the statute of limitations for filing a case. A lawyer should communicate their expectations about delivery of work and any potential deadlines to the provider at the onset of the project; conversely, the provider should commit to meeting that timeline and include this in the statement of work. Ultimately, it comes down to setting expectations and meeting commitments so the client is confident that the project is being handled in a timely manner.
  3. “Cost is the most important consideration when selecting a provider and we don’t want to overpay again.” No one wants to overpay for services and this is something law firms struggle with. Determine what is most important and ensure that your firm gets what you pay for through a strong statement of work. While cost is obviously an important consideration, law firms should consider the potential ramifications of always choosing a provider based solely on price. Putting more emphasis on quality reviews will often lead to a higher number of claims being qualified, which is a very good outcome for both the law firm and its clients.
  4. I am not entirely comfortable with how the provider communicated with my clients.” Mass tort lawyers are especially attuned to the needs and sensitivities of their clients who have been injured and are accustomed to dealing with all the issues associated with that. Providers should have both the experience and savvy to know how to effectively communicate with your clients and ask the right questions in a way that is sensitive to their situations. It is important to keep in mind that for many clients this may be their only contact with the legal system. How someone is treated by a provider will strongly influence their satisfaction with your services and their feelings about how fair the outcome of their claim is.

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