Litigation document support in-house (Verizon and Altria)

Verizon Communications’ Patrick Oot, senior counsel with the company’s antitrust and strategic projects group, serves as the company’s director of e-discovery. Oot says Verizon’s e-discovery team works with in-house and outside counsel, IT and document management representatives who operate under a “master plan” that assigns specific tasks to each participant.

One of the team’s largest tasks involved developing a list of preferred e-discovery vendors who would leverage Verizon’s e-discovery data volume. “Right now our outside law firms usually choose our e-discovery vendors. We want to streamline our e-discovery spending and get national cost reductions in place. We did an initial analysis on a small set of cases and indications are we can reduce our vendor costs by at least 30 percent.” Corp. Legal Times, Dec. 2005 at 18.

At Altria the team assigns project managers to oversee each pilot program. It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure the process is working and remind people of what they need to do and when. For example, it was one manager’s job to examine the company’s data-extraction process, which typically includes locating and extracting the electronic data, shipping it electronically to a vendor for processing and then delivering it to outside counsel for review. Once the initial pilot was complete, the team expanded the testing to progressively larger data sets until they had optimized the process. Corp. Legal Times, Dec. 2005 at 18.

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