National deposition services contracts: good for law firms, too

Posted: August 18, 2017

Nine benefits you may have overlooked

Corporate legal departments that hire a nationwide company to provide deposition services for their law firms may be requiring some of their firms to adapt to new ways of doing business. However, many law firms find that these types of arrangements have advantages.

How the law firm takes advantage of these potential benefits is often a function of the various roles within the firm. Here are nine examples of the benefits that inure to law firms when clients enter into a relationship with a national deposition services provider.

  1. Cost savings – For law firm partners and administrators, the number-one benefit of a client’s national deposition management services contract is cost savings – not just for your client but for the firm also. Most often, if your client hires a national deposition company, the client also takes over payment for all deposition costs. No longer is the law firm on the hook for receiving deposition service invoices, reviewing them, tallying them, forwarding them to the corporate client, chasing payment, settling up with the deposition management services firm, and suffering cash flow issues throughout the process. This financial and efficiency gain has been substantial enough to prompt law firms to contract with national deposition management services firms themselves.
  1. New data to use – A second and important benefit for law firms is access to powerful data and activity information. Law firms are under increasing pressure to provide metrics and information that demonstrates their efficiencies. National deposition companies should provide to the law firm all information about all of the firm’s deposition-related activities. Imagine the power of being able to say to your clients, “One hundred eleven of our attorneys performed 563 depositions for you in 12 states in the first six months of 2017, leading to a cost per case of $x, down n percent from last year.” This is powerful for the firm and for the client alike.
  1. Stronger relationships – A third benefit is an opportunity to strengthen the client-firm relationship by showcasing the firm’s support of these important client initiatives. Corporate legal departments generally expect some resistance from their law firms when implementing new litigation programs or initiatives. By accepting and in fact promoting the adoption of a court reporting program, the firm immediately demonstrates its commitment to the client relationship and its ability to adapt to new and innovative initiatives.
  1. Better security – Data and document security is a fourth benefit. In a world of insecure data, corporate clients are obsessed, and appropriately so, with data security. In today’s world, receipt of deposition transcripts by email, rather than a secure hyperlink, is a known security risk. It is now common for national court reporting providers to respond to demanding customer requirements that relate to all aspects of security, from physical protection of production sites to cyber security countermeasures. As a general rule, the law firm’s information and the clients’ transcripts will generally be safer with a national deposition provider.
  1. Court reporting quality standards – A fifth benefit relates mostly to the “end users” of court reporting services – the lawyers and associates involved in the deposition. For them, quality assurance is a must. Lawyers must be able to count on a predictable standard of quality enforced nationwide across the company’s entire court reporting staff, helping eliminate one of the worrisome unknowns inherent in traveling for depositions.
  1. Better customer service – Higher customer service standards are a sixth benefit for firms. Most national deposition management services companies will collect attorneys’ feedback after each deposition and act on that feedback in their effort to continuously improve staff performance. These companies generally have strong programs to measure performance and ensure professional staff complies with quality standards. To document their deposition management service’s reporting quality, vendors should be willing to share their performance data on metrics such as timeliness and accuracy with you. Although the client is paying the bill, national deposition providers realize how important it is to also please their end users – law firm personnel.
  1. Powerful technology – A seventh benefit is the law firm’s access to a new array of technologies. These include online scheduling, e-billing, online payment, transcript repositories, videography, remote depositions, real-time streaming, electronic exhibits, private chat, and much more. These technologies make the firm’s resources more efficient, more extensible, and more powerful. With a single provider in play, firm lawyers can count on the fact that their colleagues have access to the same technologies.
  1. Efficiency – An eighth benefit is that, for paralegals and the legal secretaries who coordinate depositions, a national deposition management services contract makes it easy to schedule sessions, especially when multiple clients contract with the same vendor. Scheduling, calendars and reminders, room reservations and technology requirements are integrated in a single place.
  1. Customization – Lastly, a ninth and important benefit is that paralegals and legal secretaries should be able to set requirements once with the national provider and have those firm-specific requirements honored in all their depositions anywhere in the country. For example, it’s helpful when the matter ID and line of business is included on every invoice, making it easy to track spending and activities on each case. If your law firm is serving an insurance company, those invoices might include date of loss and claim number. Nationwide standardization means a lot fewer headaches for busy paralegals and legal secretaries who have more to contribute to the practice than just clerical work.

As you can see, national deposition management services contracts aren’t just good for the client. They’re good for law firms also. So, when this change occurs with your client, use this change to your benefit and realize all of the advantages it offers.


Michael Saltman

Michael  has over two decades of experience growing and leading businesses in the litigation management arena. He has specific expertise in litigation management, deposition services, insurance claims and law department operations helping corporate clients grow the bottom line.