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Barnes & Thornburg Boosts Billings, Adds Client Value with Everlaw

Key Challenges: 

Barnes & Thornburg needed a cloud-native ediscovery solution that reduced bottlenecks and costs, encouraged firmwide use, and added value for clients. 

Key Solutions: 

Barnes & Thornburg was able to drive firmwide adoption and cross-functional collaboration, significantly reduce outsourcing, and better predict and control costs.

YoY Results:

  • 1,000% in Entry-Level Billables 

  • 70% More Work Brought In-House 

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Transformational Shift: From Legacy Software to a Cloud Solution

Barnes & Thornburg aims to meet new market demands through innovative thinking and fast-paced adaptability. At the heart of the 700-attorney Indianapolis-based firm’s mission is to provide clients first-class services at genuine value. The firm’s six-person litigation support team plays a critical role in that pursuit, helping Barnes & Thornburg attorneys navigate the rapidly changing technology needs of its growing litigation practice.

In recent years, Barnes & Thornburg litigators were dealing with an explosion of data, including from increased use of social media and collaborative apps. It made ediscovery harder, and the firm’s legacy ediscovery tool was not keeping up. Created as a server-based solution, its transition to the cloud had mixed results. That presented a host of challenges including extensive business continuity issues, said the firm’s Litigation Support Manager Eric Beard.

Beard, who led the search for a better solution, said that simple tasks like downloading or printing a document required working through pages of instructions, while excessive per-gigabyte rates came with significant line-item charges. Barnes & Thornburg lawyers, who had to maneuver between various tools for each case, were frustrated by the clunkiness of the review platform and lack of support for modern file types. 

The on-prem solution we were using was shoehorned to make it work in a cloud environment. That led to a lot of challenges. We needed something that was as fast as our attorneys.
– Eric Beard, Litigation Support Team Leader 

The result: many lawyers avoided the software altogether. That meant that litigation support was overwhelmed, and client costs were difficult to predict — and at times, even to justify. 

Everlaw Brings Speed, Scalability and Cost Control

The firm’s next ediscovery solution needed to empower the team to scale no matter the size or complexity of the data they wrestled with. It needed to be:

  • Built for the cloud.

    A solution with all the hallmarks of cloud technology: rapid innovation, incredible ease of use, and extreme scalability 

  • Predictably priced.

    A pricing model that was all-in, 100% predictable and that eliminated legacy pricing approaches like user fees and line items to provide the service and value at the core of the firm’s mission

  • Fast and easy to use.

    An efficient tool that reduces friction points and bottlenecks that can be so common in ediscovery

Barnes & Thornburg turned to Everlaw, which led to a transformation of the firm’s ediscovery process. Today, Beard’s team is able to handle more work in-house, and the firm’s attorneys are far more engaged, using the Everlaw platform to get closer to client data than ever before. 

Barnes and Thornburg review hours

“Everlaw had everything we needed,” Beard said. “Not just the standard platform features, but the advanced analytics, and a speed that’s as fast or faster than anything on the market.” 

Success by the Numbers: Increasing Billables While Reducing Costs 

Empowering teams to handle discovery in-house reduced outsourcing, which cut costs for clients while increasing the firm’s revenue — all while working faster and more effectively. 

In 2021, the firm increased its litigation support team billables by 112%. The firm’s litigation support team increased billables for entry-level ediscovery team members by more than 1,000%.

And attorneys, from early associates to seasoned partners, are handling everything from document uploads to review management and advanced analytics within the Everlaw platform — at a fraction of the time it would have taken them with their prior approach. 

Managing Cases of All Sizes in a Single Platform

The user-friendly Everlaw platform lets attorneys and support staff use a single, familiar tool for a wide range of cases, making each case’s document review process smoother and faster.

The firm has been strategic in its use of the platform, taking advantage of its versatility for every-day and large matters ranging between 1GB and over 1TB. Its top five largest cases account for about half of the total data on the platform. 

Barnes and Thornburg case size

Everlaw is much easier than other platforms. It helps the team coordinate and communicate effectively.
– Bradley Love, Co-Chair, Antitrust and Competition Law Practice

Bradley Love, an experienced trial lawyer and co-chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s antitrust and competition law practice, has seen the benefits first hand. He has used the Everlaw platform for cases of varying sizes. 

In one large antitrust matter, the opposing party had already litigated the same patents and had discovery ready to go. “Even with their head start, we were able to outpace them in document review. It gave our team a strategic advantage throughout the process,” Love said.  

And it’s not just the attorneys who are seeing gains. Professional staff at all levels are able to handle previously complicated time-intensive tasks, such as data uploading and review, more efficiently. 

“Now we have all members being productive—with a significant increase in the amount of billable hours for entry-level people compared to a year ago,” Beard said. “The amount of data we can get into the system in a day has exponentially increased, too, and that’s enabled attorneys to do more themselves.” 

Barnes and Thornburg Data Growth

The Everlaw Edge: Firmwide Adoption Drives Business Outcomes

Since transitioning its teams to Everlaw, Barnes & Thornburg is enjoying firmwide adoption of the platform. The litigation support team is more productive than ever, and even once-hesitant corner-office attorneys embrace Everlaw’s intuitive design. Most importantly, Barnes & Thornburg is able to live up to its promise to deliver first-class service at value and passing its savings on to clients. 

One year into its Everlaw transition, Barnes & Thornburg has:

  • Increased litigation support billables for entry-level employees by 1000%

  • Cut costs by bringing 70% more work in-house 

Everlaw, Beard said, has been an invaluable partner as the firm keeps up with technological change and its own rapid growth. “We knew we had to invest in really powerful technology that’s easy to use, that makes it consumable for any user and reasonable to manage,” he said. “That’s where the future is — it’s the only way you’re going to stay ahead.”