Why is D,C. coming down so hard on e-discovery vendors? You may recall that D.C.'s Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law issued in January 2012 a detailed opinion on what activities it believed constituted the unauthorized practice of law.
And now it has issued Opinion 362 stating that e-discovery vendors cannot practice law in D.C. and be partially owned by non-lawyers.
I am not suggesting that the D.C. Committee is wrong, but it certainly focuses our attention on how the legal and e-discovery space has compressed. Clients are looking for "one-stop shops" and vendors are aggressively marketing themselves as precisely that, advertising "all-in-one e-discovery" or "fully managed document review." As the Committee notes, the potential to mislead is significant.
Our friend Sean Doherty published a very informative piece about all this in Law Technology News yesterday. Vendors who offer e-discovery services in D.C. will want to read that article carefully and study the opinions. My question is: Will D.C. attempt any enforcement action? Unknown as yet but keep a watchful eye out because the current practices of e-discovery vendors certainly seem to ignore the guidance of the Committee.
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