This is an update to my last blog on how hot electronic discovery law is becoming. That blog featured the article in Corporate Counsel about KL Gates partner and senior e-discovery specialist, David R. Cohen, and his move to the Reed Smith law firm. We now learn that on Monday a whole team of K&L Gates e-discovery lawyers and techs, 14 of them, followed David over to Reed Smith. AmLaw Daily reported that 11 lawyers and 3 staffers from K&L’s e-discovery team jumped ship to go to Reed Smith. The team is led by senior manager Beth Wurzel and, according to AmLaw Daily, “will provide document review services, along with other support to lawyers and clients working on discovery matters and investigations.”
With this acquisition of what looks like the key players in the K&L Gates e-discovery team, Reed Smith moves from worse than nowhere (recall Bray & Gillespie I), to an e-discovery powerhouse. Here is how Reed Smith announced it’s triumphant raid:
“Reed Smith has an exceptional platform upon which to develop a world-class e discovery practice,” said George Stewart, managing partner of the firm’s Pittsburgh office. “Most of this group has been working together for several years, and has proved themselves to be a cohesive team. We are very excited about adding this talent and experience to our practice group and look forward to the further growth opportunities at Reed Smith.”
According to Mr. Cohen, the firm’s e-Discovery & Records Practice team already has projects lined up at Reed Smith, with additional new assignments coming in the door. While the majority of the review work is to support litigation and investigation matters, the group also can perform electronic and hard-copy records-analysis for corporate transactions and other legal matters.
What will K&L Gates do now?
This law firm was derived from Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis, that was co-founded by William H. Gates, Sr. (Bill’s Dad). Preston Gates was an early leader in e-discovery and dominated the field for many years. They even spawned their own e-discovery vendor and run the great blog, Electronic Discovery Law. I have heard many good things about their e-discovery services over the years. They call their e-discovery team the e-Discovery Analysis and Technology (e-DAT) Group.
One wonders if K&L Gates has the depth in bench to internally fill the departure of what is supposedly their top fifteen e-discovery specialists. I doubt it. That means they will have to do something fast. I am sure they have terabytes of data they are working on now for many of the world’s largest corporations and biggest law suits. They cannot afford any major delays. They have to quickly regroup and reform a strong e-discovery team to stay competitive in today’s legal market.
So the big question now is whether K&L Gates will go around and cherry pick from a bunch of different law firms and vendors, or will poach a whole group, like Reed Smith did to them. The later would probably be better for K&L, as it takes a lot of time and effort for a law firm team to come together and work efficiently. I suspect a few of my readers are in negotiations with them already. Like I said in my last blog, e-Discovery is hot.