Co-authored by Chris Dahl and Brittany Roush
Lighthouse recently held its annual Illuminations Panel Event during Legaltech New York. During the event, industry experts discussed two key topics – driving business results in legal and the integration of Office 365 in ediscovery. Below is a high-level summary of what was discussed during each panel and key takeaways that we learned from these sessions.
Panel 1: Driving Business Results in Legal – Practical Tips for Optimizing Performance and Spend
During the first session, panelists discussed how they are currently leveraging innovation to identify and minimize risk, ensure consistency, generate efficiencies, and significantly reduce their annual legal spend. They covered unique ways in which they have driven value from the legal department through effective RFPs, implementation of review protocols, and driving efficiency through post-matter document analysis. The three panelists provided the audience with tips and techniques to apply these strategies in their organizations.
Centralizing your litigation support buying can cut budgets by double digits, but creating an efficient RFP process can be very challenging. It is a tedious process that generally takes a lot of time and involves several moving parts and people. There are many stakeholders involved and finding a communication style, specifically a common vocabulary that works for everyone is near impossible. Although it can be challenging, an efficient RFP process will allow you to more accurately vet vendors and find the right fit for your team.
- Key Takeaway: Ensure strong, frequent, and timely communication and collaboration between the various stakeholders, including legal and procurement. Ensure there is a common language set. This will require procurement to better understand ediscovery lingo and will minimize miscommunication, therefore creating more clarity around requirements and a smoother process overall.
Implementing a standard review protocol across all matters will save dozens of hours of startup time at the beginning of each matter. Standardizing these protocols can be burdensome at the outset, as you try to consolidate the views of internal and third-party personnel, as well as normalize items across different business units and types of legal matters. You want to drive uniformity, however, you want to leave room for some flexibility to accommodate for different case needs. The result of a standard review protocol is that you will have more predictability with vendors, vendors will no longer need to work with counsel to figure out details on a case-by-case basis (which will allow for a faster set up), and outside counsel will better understand how to get things up and running more efficiently. Another benefit is that it is easier to track metrics for each case across the enterprise, making reporting easier and more accessible so that you can quantify results and show cost savings.
- Key Takeaway: Involve trusted advisors, including ediscovery-savvy outside counsel and providers, during the development of the protocols. Make sure your protocols have some flexibility for adjustments as needed.
Reviewing the data about your data is something many of us dream of but do not implement. However, having an internal data warehouse allows you to do exactly that. One of our panelists shared how learning from prior matters saved time and cost by allowing them to minimize what leaves the corporation. If you are interested in applying the same techniques within your organization you will need to first decide what information needs to be gathered, what technology needs to be put in place to do so, and who will do the analysis. Next, you will need to quantify the results. Once implemented you will have more control over your process as well as be able to reduce time and spend.
- Key Takeaway: It can be a heavily manual process so ensure you have the staff in place to be able to leverage prior decisions and document the knowledge they glean during reviews. This will allow you to share your metrics and justify your process.
Panel 2: Integrated eDiscovery and How Office 365 is Changing the Conversation
In this second session, panelists covered Office 365 behind the firewall and the challenges of onboarding new technology and processes. They discussed planning, avoiding pitfalls that can arise when transferring data between systems, and finding people with specialized skillsets.
Deciding to Move – When deciding to move to Office 365 many considerations arise, which can make it challenging. These challenges can be legacy archiving systems that require a third-party expert to properly migrate into Office 365, extensive timelines for migration efforts (depending on the overall data population), on-going litigation that requires access to data slotted for migration, and the preservation of data outside of information governance policies. Workflows and policies surrounding responses to litigation requests will have to be updated and both legal and IT will need to buy into those changes. Ultimately, when migrating to and adopting Office 365, you have to consider both your legal and IT teams’ roles, budget, resources, and more.
- Key Takeaway: Ensure legal and IT are in agreement and speaking the same language when it comes to the move.
Migrating and Adopting – When making the move and migrating to Office 365, you have to establish legal’s role in the process and what needs to be done in preparation for the adoption. IT is not always aware of the legal requirements involved in preserving data, and information governance policies should be updated ahead of any migration and adoption efforts so data required for litigation is not inadvertently deleted. On the flipside, data that is no longer required for litigation reasons and falls outside of information governance policies should be identified for potential deletion. This allows you to reduce the cost and time involved in the migration and storage needs. Additionally, if your organization has a global component, recognizing that information governance and legal hold needs may differ will head off any potential issues midway through the migration. A poorly vetted plan will cost you more time and money in the end.
- Key Takeaway: Create a plan prior to adoption with IT, legal, and best practices in mind. Put the necessary time into developing a proper workflow on Office 365, as it can significantly reduce the volume of data that moves toward the right side of the EDRM.
Maximizing the Investment – Office 365 provides access to several technologies and features, such as the Compliance Center and Advanced eDiscovery. These features have a host of capabilities that your team can leverage, such as allowing users to set legal holds. This specific functionality automatically indexes data real time to allow for robust front-end searching, the export of data sets/collection of data, and the preparation and analysis of data for technology assisted review. These tools will allow you and your team to do more with less and maximize your investment, which will allow for cost savings in collections and reductions in overall data set sizes for review.
- Key Takeaway: Be sure your legal team is fully aware of the tools available to them and that they either know how to use them or are receiving the training needed to maximize their outcome.
If you would like to discuss these topics further, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.