The rapid pace of innovation has revolutionized the legal industry, reshaping the day-to-day operations of many legal professionals. For our customer, who started as an associate and quickly rose to partner at an Am Law 100 firm, the ability to leverage transformational technology proved crucial to scaling their impact, improving client outcomes, and, ultimately, demonstrating their contributions as a business partner.
The firm has been one of the first to identify the importance of ediscovery software, particularly when it comes to easing the transition of the legal profession into the digital space. With a practice ranging from commercial litigation and product liability litigation, this attorney had the advantage of experimenting with the tools of virtually every major ediscovery software vendor since the technology’s inception.
But the partner was finding it challenging to find an easy-to-use, modern solution that could help address current needs while anticipating their future ones. Given the law firm’s diverse client base, the partner needed a tool that was easy enough for their team to use, helped eliminate repeatable tasks, was cost-effective — and ultimately, delivered satisfactory outcomes, quickly and efficiently, no matter the size or complexity of the case.
Their Challenge: Subpar Ediscovery Solutions for a Huge, Complex Case
The partner is well familiar with why ediscovery software is an invaluable tool for casework. However, the increasing size and complexity of datasets have made it more challenging for them to identify and adopt the right solution. In fact, on many occasions, the lack of a true industry standard for ediscovery has forced the partner to use solutions that created more roadblocks than solutions (e.g., difficulties onboarding new users, unexpected costs, and delays during review). This unenviable situation made it more challenging for the partner to scale their impact and expertise, especially when they kicked off a highly complex matter that would require the review of millions of documents and stretch over a four-year period.
This large case was complex in nature and involved a massive amount of discoverable evidence. (After three and a half years, the Am Law 100 firm had produced close to a million pages from their side alone). The partner needed a solution that allowed them not to get bogged down on tedious manual tasks and to spend more time on the strategic elements of the case. Given their experience and standing at the law firm, it was important for the partner to demonstrate their prowess as not just an attorney but as a business partner as well.
During their search for the right solution for this case, the partner was trying to find a solution that would help them avoid the pitfalls and issues they had with other vendors, such as:
Impossible learning curves. When working with clients who insist on a particular ediscovery vendor, the partner would often need to train legal teams and contract attorneys on how to navigate a platform’s interface in order to use the technology effectively, wasting valuable time and resources.
Rigid search term functionality. Reviews with large datasets were often logistical nightmares for the partner and their collaborators. They needed a solution that would enhance their team’s ability to perform accurate, customizable searches to locate relevant documents as efficiently as possible.
Inadequate customer support. Issues are bound to come up, but the partner found much to be desired from certain software vendors’ support teams when they did emerge. In addition to long wait times, there were many instances in which customer support representatives failed to provide substantive responses to practical questions regarding functionality, sometimes leaving the partner even more confused after receiving support than before.
Hidden fees. The partner experienced a lack of transparency from more than one ediscovery provider when it came to determining costs, resulting in unexpected expenses and uncomfortable conversations with clients after reviewing inflated invoices. To make matters worse, they also experienced vendors attempting to “take data hostage,” unrightfully claiming ownership over highly-sensitive personal information until they received all payments, regardless of a client having any history or reputation for defaulting or dishonoring contractual obligations.
The Everlaw Solution: Fulfilling and Anticipating Needs With A User-Centric Platform
During their search for potential ediscovery vendors, the partner was taken by Everlaw’s comprehensive set of capabilities, easy-to-use nature, superb customer support, and price transparency. However, a curveball would test the strength of this new working relationship.
After six months of conducting hundreds of hours of review and redactions on Everlaw, the focus of the case shifted. When that happened, we were starting from essentially ground zero.
— Partner, Am Law 100 Firm
The partner and their team had already spent thousands of hours working on a case when the focus shifted six months in, causing them to backtrack and redo most of the work they had already completed. Due to the complex, contentious nature of the case and the troves of discoverable data, there were concerns that the change of focus would create more issues, delays, and high costs for the firm and client. An issue like this would have led to similar results with previous vendors. But things were drastically different with Everlaw.
The Everlaw platform made the process of shifting the focus easier by ensuring the partner and their team could build on already-completed work. In particular, they were able to leverage the platform to ensure no further bottlenecks occurred. Specifically, the partner did so by:
Building on previous work by saving previous searches with binders.
After the focus changed, the partner knew that the team would have to review thousands of documents all over again. To avoid starting from scratch, they reviewed previous searches (saved within binders) to pull documents from a specific request or use them as a reference when conducting new searches. By the end of the case, they had used over 100 binders.
Saving time during review by conducting hyper-targeted searches.
Time was of the essence as the team attempted to play catch up after the shift. When it came to creating new searches, the partner was able to perform complex and custom searches while also narrowing down results based on a specific topic. As a result, their team produced, exported, and organized high volumes of useful information, allowing them to efficiently access specific documents in production, all without manually weeding out irrelevant information.
Everlaw’s search function has been one of the most helpful aspects of the platform because of the many different functionalities offered to target my search more precisely and with more control.
— Partner, Am Law 100 Firm
Maintaining control of the case with the productions folder.
The scope and length of the case led to the partner adding more users to the project, even three and a half years in. Managing the case while also assigning work and onboarding new additions to the team could have made everything even more challenging, but the assignments feature and productions folder helped make it easier to keep tabs on all aspects of the project.
I love that you can go to the productions folder and see every single production, password, attorney/client privileged documents, if there were any redactions, and if so, what they were, all in one place.
— Partner, Am Law 100 Firm
Removing roadblocks with the help of the customer support team.
When challenges inevitably occurred, help was only an email or phone call away. The partner found the response rate by the Everlaw team to be “unique and faster than expected.” In addition to providing prompt support, the actual responses have always been substantive. The partner found that the representatives were “unmatched in customer service,” often even offering valuable suggestions not necessarily related to the initial inquiry. And when new features arrive, the customer support team has helped the partner to understand them and how their team can leverage them.
I know that if I call Everlaw within business hours, I will get a response back within the hour. The longest time I’ve waited has been 30 minutes.
— Partner, Am Law 100 Firm
Staying within budget with a transparent fee structure.
In the past, vague and unexpected vendor fees had complicated projects. With Everlaw, ediscovery costs were transparent and straightforward, with all-inclusive pricing and zero unexpected charges. Throughout the case, Everlaw assisted in the management and migration of terabytes of data, coupled with ongoing support, and without billing one single hour related to customer support or project management.
After four long, arduous years, the partner and the rest of their team successfully concluded their work on this case, leading to a grateful client and expanded usage of Everlaw across new cases.
Results: Transforming Ediscovery, and Legal Practice, With Everlaw
During their seven-plus years at the Am Law 100 firm, the partner has been established as a highly-skilled litigator who can leverage the right tools to impact client outcomes. Those who reached out to them for support have found a full-fledged ediscovery and legal expert. As a result, their standing within the Am Law 100 firm has only grown.
The partner has trained over 100 contract attorneys on Everlaw.
Moving forward, the partner hopes to advocate not merely for the use of the Everlaw platform specifically but to advance the broader idea that intuitive support, ease-of-use, and patient and complimentary support should be the absolute norm for ediscovery vendors as the legal profession makes its final, long-overdue transition into the digital space.