Many large corporates have internal legal counsel, who then work in tandem with their preferred external legal representatives. However, with the advent of information technology, and the increased requirements of specialised knowledge of the IT world, it is becoming very apparent that in-house counsel require a multi skilled team approach to all litigation related matters:
be it a labour disputes, contracts, a civil suit, criminal investigations or allegations, and the consequent legal hold, mediation, arbitration and then collection and collation of data which may be required for evidence at a later stage.
The most recent addition to the services of a number of large legal practices as well as large corporates world-wide, is that of Legal Support Services or, where the company prefers not to have an in-house team due to financial constraints or the multi-skilled requirements of such a team, the alternative of Outsourced Legal Services, depending on the context within which it is utilised. The internal IT professional are often assumed to have a number of specialised skills or generalised knowledge of the entire IT field (Including the forensic collection and preservation of information and security aspects in addition to up to date desktop and internal architecture support- a practically impossible task).
Many a litigant have found themselves on the backfoot due to initial non-secure/ verifiable collection of data. Internationally, (see the Federal Rules of Civil procedure 2006 as amended in the United States (especially rule 902), UK Association of Chiefs of Police (ACPO) Principles, as updated 2011 of information gathering and the draft Cybercrimes and Security Bill, 2017 for the requirement of expertise when data is collected- not to speak of the already entrenched Internationally accepted best practice).
Follow us for the next couple of weeks as we explore these new service lines, the pro’s and cons of in-house and outsourced teams and the arrival of E-Discovery in the ever-growing International flavour of contracting litigation in South Africa.