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How Clark Partington Stays a Step Ahead with Everlaw

by Justin Smith

In the legal industry, staying power is everything. A firm can stake its reputation on how many years it’s been in business, just as much as the cases it’s won and the names on its door. There’s value in consistency.

Clark Partington knows this as much as anyone, having operated out of the Florida panhandle for the past 48 years. That’s 48 years of cases, trials, briefs, motions, late nights, early mornings, and Florida hurricane seasons, with the firm remaining through it all.

But staying power today means something different than it once did. In the digital age, the ability to adapt and embrace new technology is one of the biggest opportunities, and hurdles, facing law firms hoping to thrive in this next generation.

A technological leader, Clark Partington wanted to future-proof the firm and ensure they remained at the forefront of innovation. That’s why they made the switch from an old, on-prem ediscovery system to Everlaw’s cloud-based ediscovery software four years ago. For Christine Moore, a paralegal at Clark Partington, the change was a long time coming.

“It often felt like we were the ones testing the on-prem software, as opposed to that testing being done in a complete and thorough manner by the software provider,” Moore said of the firm’s previous ediscovery software. “There were constant updates being done, whether it was updating the software, having bug fixes, or even updating the hardware itself. It all led to major downtime.”

While downtime has been accepted as a necessary evil by those with on-prem systems, cloud-based ediscovery software all but eliminates that need. It affords firms like Clark Partington the ability to stay up and running no matter what.

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Ediscovery Software Made for This Moment

One of the things the Clark Partington team has most appreciated since selecting Everlaw as their ediscovery software is, simply, that it works. All you need is the internet.

“Some of the most key components of our search for an ediscovery provider and our selection of Everlaw was to have a cloud-based option,” Moore said. “Now, we can access data from anywhere without any hiccups. All we need is an internet connection and we can go.”

There’s also the ability to get new features and updates without incurring any downtime, which for paralegals like Moore, can be especially game-changing.

“In our search, we also wanted to have some of the newer tools already incorporated into the product, like predictive coding options, being able to view duplicates, and email threading. We have been extremely appreciative of the regular updates Everlaw offers. The monthly update with new features, whether it's adding something that's been in progress for several years or a few months, has been awesome,” Moore said.

Everlaw incorporates user feedback and requests into each feature release in an effort to serve the real, actionable needs of customers.

Getting to the Heart of Matters with Storybuilder

One of the most useful Everlaw features for the Clark Partington team has been Storybuilder. It’s a tool that unlocks creative power, improves collaboration, and crafts case narratives throughout ediscovery workflows. The collaboration aspect in particular was one Clark Partington attorneys were eager to integrate.

“Collaboration is something we've noticed that we can work on a little bit more together, as opposed to one individual having to take the whole portion of that task,” Moore said. “Sometimes, when you're working on a team, people come up with different ideas at different points in the day.”

Before Storybuilder, attorneys had no place to put those ideas beyond the conventional word documents, which may or may not get seen. That wasn’t sustainable, and the attorneys needed a place where they could get ideas down and think through potential problems in a collaborative, real-time environment, which is where Storybuilder thrives.

“In Storybuilder, we've worked through putting thoughts and ideas into an outline,” Moore said. “It doesn't have to look pretty or be in a final setting. It just has to be added to the outline so someone can go in there and formulate those thoughts and ideas into the various questions that may need to be asked. It’s helped us collaborate in a new and efficient way.”

Consolidating their work in Storybuilder’s collaborative repository helped the Clark Partington attorneys organize and prioritize documents and case timelines in ways they hadn’t been able to previously.

Comprehensive Training Customized for the Whole Team

With ediscovery software that’s constantly evolving in response to new technologies and discoverable data, users need to be trained on how best to utilize it.

Everlaw offers tailored training included in the subscription price, which is something the Clark Partington team took advantage of during an on-site visit.

“We had fantastic on-site training,” Moore said. “We worked with our customer success manager on what we could do to engage our users so they’d feel more comfortable using Everlaw, and created a training program based on that.”

It isn’t just a classroom-type setting where you sit and learn and have to be told what to do instead of doing it yourself. Everlaw’s training is centered around hands-on use of the platform in a collaborative environment.

“The customized training that we set up with Everlaw was different in that it wasn't something that was set in stone,” Moore said. “Everlaw allowed us to tell their team what we really needed to focus on. It was based on where our users were in their understanding of Everlaw as opposed to blanket training that may either be too simple or too complex.”

A firm like Clark Partington that had used clunky, on-prem ediscovery software for so long shouldn’t be penalized for having to adapt to a new cloud-based software with added fees for training and limited time with user education.

Training should be inclusive, educational, and founded in the problems a team wants to solve. That’s what Everlaw offers all its customers.

Building a Firm Prepared for the Future

Above all, Clark Partington wanted their next ediscovery software to have the same staying power they’ve had for the past 48 years.

“We wanted something that would last,” Moore said of their search. “We didn’t want to have to make this decision again in another couple of years and have to go through the process of searching for another software. We wanted something that would hold up.”

Citing the monthly feature releases and regular updates, Moore and the Clark Partington team knew Everlaw would be able to evolve. They also took into account the fact that future attorneys are going to look at a firm’s technological capabilities when deciding whether to work there.

“Everlaw has given us the efficiency we need to be able to keep up with reviewing data in a way that allows us to get through the volume and be able to go home at night,” Moore said.

Clark Partington has been so successful by keeping an eye on the future. In a profession where change is constant, having foundational technology that includes the world’s most advanced ediscovery software will remain one of the few reliable consistencies.