Flint Bishop was using a managed service provider (MSP) to handle its edisclosure document review process but was held back by a lack of control and transparency, hamstrung by having to wait to have basic queries answered, and confronted by high and unpredictable pricing. After bringing edisclosure in-house, the firm now has 24/7 access to its documents and edisclosure workflows enabling it to cull hundreds of thousands of documents on its own and save months on reviewing documents. Subsequently, Flint Bishop has seen a substantial increase in higher-value work and more complex litigation. It is now a recognised leader in providing better delivery of client services through more direct access to data.
As Nick Wells, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at the firm and recognised as a ‘Leader in the Field’ by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for several years, puts it: “Once we notched wins on a few of the bigger matters and made it into the Law Reports on a few occasions, we developed a reputation and began getting recognized by the directories and rankings. Being able to deal with big matters and high document volumes is a significant advantage; it would be impossible to excel in major High Court litigation without the technological capability to handle large cases.”
Flint Bishop’s Cutting-Edge Practice
Flint Bishop is a UK top 200 law firm with a large national and international client base including National Trust, Heineken UK, UK Mail and global publishing giant, LexisNexis. Recognised as a ‘leading firm’ by both Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500, the outstanding quality of its staff and service levels is underlined by its ISO quality assurance certifications, industry awards and peer ranking.
Flint Bishop has become a cutting-edge legal practice by adopting a modern approach to technology. Its innovative methods provide clients with pragmatic, solution-orientated legal advice that has been recognized by both the legal and business communities.
In the last ten years, the firm has increased in reputation and scale, achieving significant wins in complex High Court and Court of Appeal cases to build its profile and attract larger and more complex cases.
An Opening for Change
For a long time, Flint Bishop was relying on external MSPs to conduct document reviews and other edisclosure needs. However, this had numerous problems. For every task, the firm needed to email or call its provider, state the request, wait for the provider to work on the assignment, and then wait to hear back. If any changes needed to be made – perhaps a minor edit to search parameters – a similar elongated process ensued. Not only was this time consuming, but it was clunky and lacked transparency. The lack of visibility and control in conducting searches seriously hindered the firm’s ability to conduct tasks quickly.
After receiving a significantly higher than expected bill on a matter, Flint Bishop began looking for other solutions and to potentially bring document review in-house and develop their own expertise in edisclosure.
Partnering with Everlaw to Gain a Competitive Advantage
The high costs and lack of visibility into the work being conducted by its MSP were the final push Flint Bishop needed to begin thinking about new ways of managing edisclosure and becoming a leader in the field. The team was attracted to Everlaw’s transparent pricing and easy-to-use platform, allowing them to take control of their workflows and definitively project costs upfront for their clients – always lower than when they used an MSP.
Previously, given their reliance on an external MSP, estimating costs for clients could sometimes be an unpredictable and uncomfortable process. Due to the lack of control and clarity into work being done by the MSP, costs could range from a thousand to ten thousand pounds for basic matters, creating volatility in pricing estimates. Everlaw’s transparent and predictable pricing model of only charging for data stored on the platform stood out to Flint Bishop as it was evaluating edisclosure software. As Nick explained, "there's a lot more certainty because of Everlaw's flexibility."
Kelly Savage, an Associate at Flint Bishop, and a specialist in commercial litigation, was able to quickly take command of edisclosure work with Everlaw. “The ease of use of the platform is its biggest advantage,” Kelly said. “It’s quite simple to learn how to use, and once you learn, it’s ingrained. You can just do it. I know what I’m doing, and I can get to it straightaway.”
By partnering with Everlaw, Flint Bishop has become an innovator and leader in leveraging technology to improve insights and applying cutting-edge tools to litigation, pushing the boundaries of Everlaw’s capability and using it in creative ways. In one instance, the firm used the platform to create an archived timeline from a chronology of files and email PST files extracted from searches on their system in an archived matter. Everlaw indexed thousands of files and pulled out key information and dates in a format that was readable and ensured that no details were lost in the process.
Flint Bishop has improved its litigation process and is able to more confidently map out the edisclosure process for its clients. It can explain work processes better and through using Everlaw features such as predictive coding and binders, the team is able to stay on top of the edisclosure process while providing clarity to clients on what to expect. As Kelly explained, "smart use of features such as tags and coding on relevant issues make evidential stages beyond edisclosure easier to manage."
“We have very good confidence and knowledge in the cases as we’re going through them. How we work our cases is much more streamlined now." – Kelly Savage
As a result, the firm can handle more complex litigation cases and high document volumes with much greater ease and efficiency. When using an MSP, searches would often return hundreds of thousands of documents, which required numerous instructions and back-and-forth communication to cull. Furthermore, due to their MSP’s working hours, Flint Bishop was not able to access support after 5 pm, and even during working hours, the time spent waiting to hear back meant that the team were prevented from progressing certain matters. Now, litigators at Flint Bishop can directly cull thousands of documents on their own schedule, saving them time and money.
In adopting modern edisclosure technology, Flint Bishop has been able to reduce costs for its clients and only pay for data on the platform, and not the countless hours charged by external agencies to conduct edisclosure activities.
Today, litigators at the firm can spend more time on matters, getting to understand them better while conducting more relevant searches.
For instance, in a recent disclosure conducted by the firm for a multi-million pound, document-heavy Technology & Construction Court case, Everlaw enabled the firm to quickly identify categories of documents which only related to one specific issue within a case. Based on this identification, the parties were able to narrow the issues within the case in order to reduce the scope of the disclosure exercise.
Using predictive coding and intuitive searches on Everlaw, the firm was able to narrow the number of documents for review from approximately 120,000 to nearly 12,000. That is a 90% overall reduction in documents requiring manual review. Had the team not been able to narrow the range of documents, review would have taken over 2,000 hours, at a rate of 50 documents per hour - instead it took just six weeks.
If Flint Bishop was using its previous MSP, it would have lacked direct access to its documents and control over narrowing the scope of review, therefore taking much longer and costing significantly more. As Kelly explained, “having the function to do the searches yourself and see the results instantaneously, makes it a lot easier to apply intuitive thinking allowing you to come up with and create different searches and parameters based on the results brought through.”
Flint Bishop recognized a problem and worked to eliminate it by adopting a modern approach to edisclosure. The firm has become a cutting-edge provider of legal services through more direct access to data, with the ability to work on matters at any time and on any given day. By bringing edisclosure in-house, Flint Bishop has been able to focus in on key issues quickly, while drastically reducing the number of documents requiring review, all to better serve their clients.