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What are the considerations for when an ECA should be completed?

A panelist from Baxter Laboratories recently shared with the audience that the law department requests an early case assessment at the 180-day mark. Baxter’s period between receipt of the complaint and receipt of the law firm’s assessment – six months – is longer than the more usual 30- or 45-day periods. Baxter feels a month allows too little time to gather documents and interview people and think carefully about the case.

That criticism is well-founded, I suspect. Still, six months feels like too long on the other side. Perhaps the best practice would be to choose and ECA due date based on the type of case (See my post of June 10, 2008: firm hired solely for ECA; Aug. 5, 2008: millions saved at GE by early case assessment and resolution; Feb. 4, 2009: different use of term “Early Case Assessment”; Nov. 25, 2009: “Well-done ECA uncovers 80% of what you will ever know”; and Feb. 23, 2008: early case assessment with 8 references.).