When you’re an Am Law 200 firm with 21 offices and over $100 million in annual revenue that handles matters ranging from financial services to litigation to construction and more, there’s a lot of data to consider. For Bill Vance, Chief Technology Officer at Adams and Reese, the opportunity presented by an improved ediscovery process is clear: improved outcomes, efficient processes, strong internal expertise, and a competitive advantage in the legal market. But to realize those benefits, the firm needed a unified approach, built upon the right technology.
“When I came to Adams and Reese,” Vance said, “the ediscovery program was lacking. We had an old on-prem system. We really didn't have the structure, the policies, the procedures that we needed to focus on to do litigation support right.” With the majority of the firm’s practice being litigation, a cloud-based, collaborative solution was vital so they could provide the right kind of support that would help the attorneys do their jobs to the best of their ability.
Utilizing Training to Create Opportunity
Introducing a cloud-based ediscovery system, while exciting, also comes with its own set of challenges, particularly with a group as historically technologically averse as attorneys. Having stuck with the same platform for so long, many were set in their ways, and Vance knew it would be a tall task to get them to adopt something entirely new.
"With Everlaw, you call up. You can get a real person. You're getting a trainer, on specifically what you need, in a very short time frame. It's been very beneficial for us."
Enter Everlaw. “The ease of use, the overall cost, the customer support, the services, Everlaw was the clear leader,” Vance said of Adams and Reese’s search for a cloud-based ediscovery vendor. And once they decided on Everlaw, they opted to standardize all their ediscovery processes on the platform. “When you have different review platforms, things operate just slightly different. Because we've standardized on Everlaw, we're able to bring all of that training and education together. Everybody across the platform knows how to use it in a simple, consistent way. That simplicity, that consistency, that really helps us.”
Vance has utilized Everlaw’s comprehensive training program, in which each client is given a dedicated product specialist to walk them through challenges on the platform any time they need it, to help get attorneys on board.
“It grows a confidence level in our user base that they're talking to the same person,” Vance said. “That trainer can understand where the attorney was the last time they spoke, where they left off, what problems they may be experiencing over and over again. With Everlaw, you call up. You can get a real person. You're getting a trainer, on specifically what you need, in a very short time frame. It's been very beneficial for us.”
Thanks to these live, interactive trainings, Adams and Reese has been able to lower costs by speeding up document review and other time-consuming processes.
This in turn has provided value that allows them to punch above their weight and go after business previously only available to some of the top law firms in the country.
“We're able to go in and competitively stand shoulder to shoulder with the Am Law 100 firms,” Vance said. “We're able to offer the same products that they are. We've actually had a couple use cases where we've been able to go in and, because the value that we're able to give our clients is better than what the Am Law 100 folks are doing, we've actually received that work.”
Even better, it’s helped the reputations of their associates make an impact on the market. “Our associates are a very hot commodity,” Vance said. “When somebody can use an ediscovery platform, not only are they making their life easier, making it easier for the partners to do their job, but it's actually saving our clients a lot of money.”
"Because we've standardized on Everlaw, we're able to bring all of that training and education together. Everybody across the platform knows how to use it in a simple, consistent way."
When everyone from the paralegals to the associates to the partners is working on the same platform, using the same tools, and collaborating in the same ways, the potential gains in efficiency and productivity are boundless.
The Next Generation
As a CTO who pays attention to the next generation of technologies and investigates how they can create more efficient processes and better business, Vance knows that generative AI is the future.
When Everlaw introduced the EverlawAI Assistant, Vance wanted Adams and Reese involved in the beta program. “What we're able to do with generative AI is go in and create a better product,” Vance said. “We know that it's going to create efficiencies. We know that it's going to help us with document summaries. We know that it's going to help us with predictive coding. We know that it's going to help us with legal research. We're looking at it to help our team create a wonderful, good product with great quality.”
Thanks to this partnership, Adams and Reese is already seeing the advantages generative AI offers play out in their day-to-day.
“What we're able to do with generative AI is go in and create a better product”
And as Vance points out, generative AI doesn’t equal less money in lawyers’ pockets. “Adopting the generative AI into the model doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to affect lawyer hours,” he said. “What we're looking at is approaching it in a fashion of working to make a better product. We can make sure that there wasn't anything missed.”
Empowering attorneys to confidently make decisions and perform at their best is one of the primary benefits brought by emerging generative AI tools.