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Change Management That Works

Insights on Facilitating Change and Delivering Client Value from the Innovative Team at Orrick

by Vivan Marwaha

The legal industry is in the midst of transformation. Legal professionals increasingly cite the cloud as the norm for the present and the future of ediscovery, and other legal functions such as document management and case tracking.

As law firms recognize the benefits of the cloud – its speed, scalability, security, collaborative nature, ability to handle modern data types, among others – and as they march towards the future, some firms are grappling with questions around adopting new technology and replacing old processes.

Their questions and concerns are valid. Rolling out new technology, streamlining its adoption, and delivering a return on your investment isn’t always easy or frictionless. As employees and companies get used to a certain way of doing things they don’t always want to find new solutions, even if they can make them more efficient or deliver better results. The legal practice tends to be change and risk averse, exacerbating the sentiment that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

One big law firm challenges that thinking everyday.

Orrick, an Am Law 50 firm, regularly ranked as one of the most innovative law firms in the country, is known for its focus on serving the global technology sector. Orrick prioritizes technology and digital capabilities for a large swathe of legal functions – from document review and due diligence to corporate compliance and startup funding. According to the firm, Orrick’s clients recognize it as “among the top firms in the use of creative pricing to better align client and firm interests, avoid surprises and deliver cost savings.” 

Orrick achieves that by using superior, modern, and easy-to-use technology for its client work. 

Daryl Shetterly headshot
Daryl Shetterly, Managing Director of Orrick Analytics

Daryl Shetterly is the Managing Director of Orrick Analytics and helps manage the firm’s Global Operations and Innovation Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. He oversees a team of more than 150 tech-savvy attorneys that use technology to deliver legal services, analysts that focus on project management, big data, and statistical modeling, and technologists that build bots, scripts, and tools to automate processes and reduce manual work. 

Daryl’s team started as an ediscovery group, focused on document review. Over the last decade, it has grown to focus on using technology to augment most legal practices and has a powerful mandate: “to enhance accuracy, speed and security of scalable legal work and reduce client cost.” The scale and the scope of the team has grown through its embrace of modern technology – partnering with technology solutions to solve complex legal issues, deliver greater client value, and grow an in-house center of innovation and excellence.

Early in adopting AI and machine learning (and Everlaw), Daryl’s team leverages TAR and predictive coding for litigation projects, and tools based on advanced analytics and AI to understand key themes and topics in their document sets.

Implementing a new solution isn’t easy, but using new technology to drive tangible impact, transform processes, increase revenue, and deliver superior client value in the legal profession is truly remarkable. Everlaw sat down with Daryl to understand how his team and Orrick think about change management, and the barriers and benefits of embracing new technologies.

Soon into the conversation, it became clear that when implemented the right way, technology can be used to make processes more efficient, drive incredible client outcomes, and create a unique sense of employee satisfaction not always seen in the legal profession.

“We have been using Everlaw for many years,” Daryl highlights. “Its robust tech and ease-of-use made it a very easy solution to deploy because the learning curve was not steep.”

Using modern technology for ediscovery allowed Orrick to develop technology competency and critical capabilities in document review and broader discovery, in order to then focus on other critical tasks in legal – from contract lifecycle management to due diligence.

Laying the Foundation for New Technology and Creating Buy-In

Innovation is key to the work Orrick does, and it’s one of the firm’s core values. “We see it as a virtue to try to do new things and we want to be first at trying those things. That’s how we find tools like Everlaw.” To innovate, you need advanced technology, and to truly capitalize on modern technology you need to be solving people’s problems while creating buy-in.

Daryl’s team accomplishes that by listening to the firm’s clients, understanding what they’re trying to accomplish, and then suggesting solutions based on their unique needs.

Daryl’s goal “is to never come to the problem with preconceived ideas about what the answer should be. We want to listen to our internal teams and our clients, understand the problem they’re trying to solve, and then build solutions that match the problem.”

As a Six Sigma Black Belt, Daryl is always looking for new tools to improve existing processes. That means his team is responsible for understanding existing pain points, looking for new solutions to solve those problems, and then implementing them. In any profession, this role is difficult, but the unique nature and sensitivity of legal work makes it harder and more important to adopt new processes and disrupt old ones.

“We got our innovation reputation by consistently disrupting ourselves,” he highlights. “We are continuously looking for new technologies and better ways of doing things.”

Rolling out new technology does not occur in a vacuum – to see a return on your investment, your new technology must be adopted and fully leveraged. And users who don’t believe they’re being heard are more likely to resist adoption than those who believe their concerns are being addressed. That’s why communication is so important – to understand problems and facilitate buy-in.

For team members who are more wary of change, Daryl encourages the early adopters to share their experience with their new solutions. These individuals speak in department meetings and team calls, talking about how their work and processes have improved by moving to a new solution, creating critical social proof internally for those who may be slower to change. This is critical communication to help create buy-in, and ensure that the change is more organic, driven from those who use the technology as opposed to those who buy or impose it from above.

The Result – Cutting-Edge Innovation and Employee Satisfaction

Adopting new technology or changing existing processes are meant to serve a purpose – make systems more efficient, deliver greater client value, and enhance employee productivity and satisfaction.

To that end, Orrick has seen great success in becoming a leader in innovation and employee satisfaction. 

As Daryl puts it, “Doing things differently provides value to clients and employees who have new ways of doing things are happier. That’s one reason why we’re #18 on the best places to work in all of the United States.”

 Today’s legal professionals want to use modern tools and technology that they’ve grown accustomed to using in every other area of their lives – from scheduling to personal finance. They want cutting-edge and easy-to-use technology in their legal work and are less likely to be satisfied with legacy systems. These employees want to focus on higher-value work and let technology automate manual processes and ‘busywork.’ 

“When you have people stuck as a cog in the wheel doing the same thing, there’s less job satisfaction, less creativity, and lower morale,” Daryl explains. “When a person has a voice in how the work gets done, their job is more satisfying.”

Becoming complacent or too comfortable with the old way of doing things is one of the biggest causes of institutional decline. But technological change and process transformation is not an easy process. The adoption of new solutions requires a carefully planned implementation to maximize adoption and fully leverage the capabilities of modern technology.

As data continues to grow messier and the truth becomes harder to find, legal teams need modern tools to tame big data. As Orrick demonstrates, facilitating buy-in by listening to relevant stakeholders and emphasizing the positive experiences of early adopters is critical to staying ahead of the curve.

Ready to innovate? Request a meeting with Everlaw here.