The legal industry has been going through a technological revolution for some time now, evolving from upgrading operating systems and adopting modern word processors to moving critical workflows like ediscovery to the cloud. Recent global events have accelerated the need for modern, cloud-based ediscovery tools that not only enhance legal work but enable broader collaboration with remote-based stakeholders. It’s now apparent, even though the legal industry has often been slow to adopt new technology, the future of ediscovery will reside in the cloud.
For those managing ediscovery, cybersecurity and data migration concerns bring up roadblocks as IT teams try to keep up with the large data sets. Yet, there are ediscovery providers that have made protecting and securing private data a top priority. Everlaw, for example, has achieved FedRAMP Security Authorization, becoming the first cloud-native ediscovery solution to reach this security milestone. These ediscovery providers have soothed initial concerns.
Organizations that Benefit from an Ediscovery Solution
Research suggests that client-centricity and a strong IT-supported or led digital transformation plan are the keys to success with real productivity, efficiency, and collaborative gains. Among those who have migrated to the cloud — including partners, litigation support, paralegals, and IT are involved — indicating a cross-functional partnership and perspectives are critical to success. In short, legal professionals across all industries (law firms, corporations, and government agencies) are seeing the light and transitioning to the cloud.
At the start of a new case, setting up project settings and group permissions is often a painfully manual process for law firms, large and small. Not only do project administrators typically have to add users individually to the database, but they also have to configure specific user groups and associated permissions. A minor hiccup may have extraordinary consequences in that a particular user may gain access to documents they should not be able to access.
Manual discovery typically involves dealing with a combination of PDFs, hard copies, Word documents, emails, and many other document formats. It also requires creating a privilege log (by hand) and keeping track of coding decisions and data about each document (author, date, etc.). But with ediscovery tools, that same data (commonly known as metadata) is automatically gathered in one place, and the creation of a privilege log can be automated. Legal teams can filter relevant data categories and search across all documents at once.
Creating and configuring a new project on Everlaw is a simple, straightforward process. Project templates streamline project creation by allowing admins to automate the process’s previously manual and time-consuming elements. Templates help drive consistency across matters and ultimately save administrators a tremendous amount of time. Administrators can clone the general settings, specific objects, and administrative functions and include project users from previous cases to start a new project on the platform.
Corporate Legal Departments
Consistent ratings and coding decisions between related documents are essential to ensure an accurate and uniform ediscovery review process for corporations. Having to remember to manually update all related and duplicative documents, one at a time, is highly likely to result in human error. Batch updating is a partial solution but still doesn’t altogether remove the possibility of inconsistencies. When this is compounded across a large team of reviewers on a project, the discrepancies can rapidly pile up, creating more work for admins to reconcile coding differences and ultimately slowing down the review process.
Corporations of all sizes need a proactive ediscovery approach to meet the challenges posed by internal investigations and the increased risk of litigation present today. While many companies are reactive to ediscovery requests — treating each as a one-off project — proactive ediscovery involves being prepared for such requests by having efficient information management and ediscovery best practices in place well before subsequent requests come in.
The Everlaw platform lets corporate users complete data review with ease and flexibility without manually redacting each document. Our system eliminates repetitive steps and improves accuracy by applying the same review decisions to all documents within a specific context. Users can set up automatic searches for numerous types of personally identifiable information (PII), including, but not limited to, bank account numbers, passport numbers, employer identification numbers, social security numbers, and phone numbers. Auto-code contexts provide project admins precise controls within a given case to enforce consistency in the review process. This feature allows project admins to set rules to apply consistent coding across all documents within a specific context.
According to a Bloomberg Law report, the productions required of government entities can be very difficult because they are often large in scale, consist of diverse data types, and are governed by stringent data security protocols. The challenges for government agencies attempting to transition to the cloud are similar to those faced by law firms and corporations. Still, they may take longer to implement because of these agencies’ large size and the additional policies and regulations that they must follow when making such a change.
AWS GovCloud is designed to address the specific regulatory and compliance requirements of U.S. government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, as well as those of other U.S. customers that manage sensitive workloads in the cloud. By assisting with controlled unclassified information (CUI), PII, sensitive patient medical records, and financial data to law enforcement data, AWS GovCloud regions can help customers address compliance at every stage of their cloud journey. FedRAMP cloud solutions in AWS GovCloud are critical since they offer security but can still be rapidly deployed without expensive infrastructure costs and system maintenance by an agency. These solutions ultimately help with safeguarding sensitive data, protecting accounts and workloads, and strengthening identity management.
Everlaw makes transitioning to the cloud a simple process for all types of organizations, including government agencies. Born in the cloud and built by technologists to help solve a legal technology problem, Everlaw has never existed as an on-premises solution. Instead, we built our ediscovery solution to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud, with our cloud-native principles centered around speed, innovation, scale, and security. For over ten years, we have been building — not merely imagining — a technology that solves the challenges presented by both on-premise and cloud-enabled ediscovery solutions.
Why a Cloud-Based Ediscovery Solution Makes Sense for Your Organization
During the early days of ediscovery, legal professionals would leverage legal technology in a one-off fashion, waiting for an emergency or a specific case or investigation to invest in these tools. However, this “one-off” approach has frequently led to inefficient processes and wasted spend, which makes the idea of bringing ediscovery in-house an appealing option for many organizations.
The legal industry has spoken, and the shift towards widespread adoption of cloud-based ediscovery technology is imminent, but planning for this transition is crucial. Legal professionals need the proper framework to bypass any potential roadblocks while adopting new technologies and should consider the following factors before proceeding forward:
Robust Ediscovery Platform. The technology should be easy-to-use (frictionless onboarding for legal teams), enable users to work fast via machine learning capabilities (improves productivity and thus firm efficiencies), and enhances collaboration.
Rigorous Security Measures. Complete understanding of the security framework and protocols that an ediscovery solution supports and any history of breaches is essential to ensure buy-in with an organization’s IT team.
Seamless Data Migration. Uploading massive data sets should not create issues or concerns regarding security, cost, timelines, and vendor support.
Minimal Costs. Ideally, there should be clear ROI metrics over discrete time frames that will ensure lower costs for the legal organization and fewer billable hours for clients.
Ediscovery technology should not create extra work. Instead, it should create better alignment between legal teams, outside counsels, and remote collaborators. That’s why it’s critical that legal organizations looking to adopt this technology establish an internal cross-functional team — composed of partners, litigation support, paralegal, and IT team members — to highlight any gaps during the process.
The road to modernizing a legal organization may seem daunting, but the technology currently available (and future innovation on the horizon) makes this transition a lot smoother. With legal professionals under significant pressure to demonstrate efficiency for their clients and their budgets under increasing scrutiny, the ability to integrate technology effectively will help streamline operations and improve services and outcomes. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
To find out more about how big law, corporations, and government agencies have benefited from an ediscovery solution, explore some of our Customer Success Stories today.