Blind Spots

Over the course of the last year, I have had the pleasure of sitting in the passenger seat while my inexperienced 15 year old son learned to drive. Early on, I found myself stomping on the floorboard as if there was an imaginary brake, and dramatically grabbing the door handle to brace myself for those sharp turns – both actions stirring quite a bit of frustration from my son. Let’s just say, there were words uttered that aren’t part of our day-to-day vocabulary.

But one thing I just can’t seem to drill into his driving routine is that he needs to use ALL of his resources. I keep explaining that he can’t trust his rear-view mirror alone. He needs to check all of his mirrors, and look back over his shoulder, and give advanced notice to other drivers with his turn signal, and be sure to check his blind spot! It goes without saying (well, okay, not in this instance) that not utilizing all of these resources could be catastrophic.

Coincidentally, these tense moments in the car with my son remind me of what I often see in the legal field. When working a matter that involves large amounts of data, electronic discovery or advanced eDiscovery technology, unless you’re already an ediscovery rock star, then you don’t know what you don’t know, and that can really hurt you. Too often, I see litigation teams proceed with inefficient and potentially catastrophic processes because of what they don’t know or because of their fear of implementing new technology. Sadly, many of them hope to retire before the mandate comes down for change. Yikes!

A classic example: I once worked with an attorney that was asked to migrate terabytes of data from one review platform to another. The organization owned both platforms but the attorney had only been trained on one of them. The result was hours and hours (and hours) of billable litigation support expended trying to figure out the process. Talk about not utilizing resources.

So here’s a question for you. As an attorney or a support staff member, have you ever been confident enough to ask if there is a more efficient and effective way to do things?

Why not find yourself the “master translator”? Even if you have to bring in a 3rd party to break it down. Sometimes it’s even necessary to loop in the client. Trust me, they will want to take time out of their day to sit down and listen to innovative ideas to save time and money. That one key resource could be the key to the kingdom. And the icing on the cake? Now you’re educated on two different review platforms and you can apply those tools to the next case, and the case after that, and the case after that. You get the idea.

So even if you’re working in an environment that has a well-established litigation support department, and even if you’re the recipient of more than a few eye-rolls, chances are, you aren’t the only one tired of writing off billable time because of broken processes. Don’t get side-swiped because of your blind spots. Get in the driver’s seat and explore all of your resources.