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[CLOC Session] Catching Up to the Cloud: Reasons to Modernize Ediscovery, Now

by Giulianno Lopez

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For years, Westfield Insurance had relied on an on-premise ediscovery solution to handle its litigation matters. When time was of the essence and the attorneys could not easily get into the tool, they ditched it and turned to other solutions for their ediscovery needs. Mitch Caley, Litigation Support Manager at Westfield Insurance, believed that there was a better way and decided to modernize by pursuing a cloud-based ediscovery solution.

During last month’s CLOC Global Institute, Everlaw expert Ian Dwyer sat down with Mitch to discuss how to make the case for moving ediscovery to the cloud, what to consider when evaluating cloud-based ediscovery solutions, and measuring the impact of implementing cloud-based ediscovery in house. 

Below is a snippet of their speaking session, “Catching Up to the Cloud: Reasons to Modernize Ediscovery, Now.”

Can you talk about what it was like using the on-premise ediscovery solution?

Mitch: Nobody liked to use the on-premise solution; after 2FA became an infosec (i.e., information security) requirement, there were too many technical hoops to jump through. Outside counsel couldn’t even log into the system easily, so they pursued other tools to use for ediscovery needs. The impact was that we didn’t have visibility into productions or the review process.

Additionally, inside counsel had trouble running simple searches, creating tags, and tagging documents with the product we were using at the time. It simply wasn’t user-friendly. Training could take an hour or more for our less technologically adept counsel. It was time they didn’t have and weren’t happy to give.

Can you describe some of the pain points of using an on-premise ediscovery solution? What was the impact that it had on you and the team?

Mitch: First off, it was not easy to use. MFA (i.e., multifactor authentication) and security provisions made it difficult to invite outside counsel. They would have to either set up a VPN with our software or install Citrix to access the solution through a VDI. Half the time, the VDI wasn’t updated, so they still couldn’t get to the solution, or they would have forgotten their password, which I don’t have access to reset. Just simply logging into the system was a pain. The impact of this was that no one liked to use it and our outside counsel moved on to using other systems for review. I had no visibility after this.

Second, support wasn’t helpful — the solution had been bought and sold so many times that when we had a technical issue and needed assistance, we often had more experience with the product than the support staff.

And finally, we were also responsible for not only updating the software, which we had to do offline as our infosec policies won’t allow servers to directly reach out to the internet, especially to an FTP site. The solution ran on an outdated version of Windows, so we had to go through a hardware and operating system refresh. We basically had to start from scratch by exporting all our cases, reinstalling the OS and the product with its contingencies onto new hardware, and then reimporting all our cases. The system was down for a few weeks during this process, with little to no support, and it was fairly expensive.

Do you think cloud-based ediscovery solutions are better for litigation?

Mitch: Absolutely, and for several reasons. For one, you don’t need to maintain hardware and update software — holding up virtual resources that weren’t active now that they’re on the cloud.

Also, the ease of collaboration is another benefit. Just last month, I needed to help counsel redact information for a third-party subpoena. I tried leading them through Adobe Pro but then remembered that I could use the online tool. In minutes I had them invited to a new case, and we were running through redactions together. We could see each other’s redactions in real time. I’m still working on getting buy-in from counsel, and it’s real experiences like this; having the team use it and seeing how easy it is to collaborate that make me feel like I can get there.

And, lastly, the ease of use. You can get up to speed quickly and get your work done quickly. Ultimately, that’s what’s most important to me now.

What were you looking for when evaluating cloud-based ediscovery solutions?

Mitch: The platform needed to be easy for non-tech people to use. As I said, one of the major pain points from the on-prem solution was the inability of my team to access the platform easily, so I needed something that people could easily log in and use.

One of the hardest parts of getting buy-in from leadership was convincing them that the cloud was secure. There’s a natural fear that the infosec community has to go into the cloud.

Also, I needed to find a solution that fit within the budget I was allotted for with the old on-prem solution. We’re constantly being asked to do more with less, so strategically, it was a way for me to maximize my budget with a more advanced tool to make things much more efficient for the team and me. Plus, it was a much easier sell internally.

Now that you have it in place, can you share an example of how Everlaw has changed the way you conduct reviews?

Mitch: I’ve gone from several clicks per document to one or two keyboard shortcuts, which I love. This is how I measure my ability to be productive. I recently had a case that required our small shop to review 4,000 documents before the end of the day to respond to a request for the production of documents. While keyboard shortcuts certainly saved time, I was also able to train one of our staff lawyers on the product in just a few minutes to double the eyes on the review.

Are you interested in learning tactics and strategies for cutting ediscovery costs? Download your free copy of our recent eBook, “11 Ways to Reduce Ediscovery Expenses,” today!