Your single source for new lessons on legal technology, e-discovery, and the people innovating behind the scenes.

5 Ways to Elevate Your e-Discovery Practice: Insights from the Experts

Katie Pecho

When your platform of choice offers a robust suite of features and advanced technological capabilities, getting the most out of your organization’s e-discovery tool can be a daunting task.

How do you keep up with the rapid evolution of a cloud platform to ensure your team is taking advantage of all the latest and greatest features, while staying on top of current e-discovery issues and trends—and, of course, keeping that everyday to-do list in order?

We sat down with several leading experts in the e-discovery world during a recent series of webinars to find out. During each session, speakers shared their insights on how to best leverage e-discovery solutions to amplify your practice. Read on for a collection of their stellar advice.

#1: Take a collaborative approach to e-discovery.

Angela O'Neal, director of Nextra Solutions at Nexsen Pruet, LLC, stressed the importance of connecting e-discovery practices across departments: “You really need to have that collaboration between IT, legal, and the business units,” she said. “They all have to be working together to find the right solutions and the right technology for the organization.”

This visibility and participation from key stakeholders means the quickest and most efficient route to solutions for any challenges that arise. It also allows for proactive, strategic planning, which helps establish e-discovery practices that save time for attorneys and cut costs.

For firms like Jackson Walker, committing to utilize capabilities like Automated Workflows across departments had huge benefits, resulting in the automation of 5,014 actions that would have otherwise required many hours of manual effort over the course of one year. This saved the firm 84 working days and allowed that time to be spent on deeper, more meaningful tasks instead.

#2: Don't be afraid to ask for help.

The experts agreed that it's important to ask for assistance when you need it—whether that’s from your colleagues, a partner, or an e-discovery provider.

“There's no shame in asking for help,” said Julia Voss, director of litigation support and e-discovery at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.. “It's okay to say, ‘I don't know how to do this’ or ‘I need some guidance here.’”

Firms like BLG rely on responsive, proactive support from their partners and software providers to keep them informed—often with seminars and trainings designed to maximize their usage of technology. “It is astounding how much we have accomplished,” Kelly Friedman, senior counsel and national leader of Beyond e-Discovery at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), said. Seeking insights from these experts, she continued, “provided the direction, education, and support we needed to stay on track.”

#3: Stay up to date with the latest e-discovery technology.

John Koss, managing director of the E-Data Consulting Group at Mintz, emphasized the need to stay on top of the latest technology trends in e-discovery.

“I think it's really important for folks in the industry to be knowledgeable about the new technologies that are coming out,” he said. “Whether it's new AI or machine learning tools or data analytics platforms, understanding how those tools can be used to drive better results is really important.”

With so many sophisticated capabilities available across e-discovery platforms, understanding how to capitalize on advanced features can mean a strong advantage against competitors.

Technology like Collect in RelativityOne “is leaps and bounds better than what we were doing before,” said Adam Schryer, project manager at Nexsen Pruet. “It's easier to use, the time and money savings are significant, and we are thrilled with it.”

Plus, features like Collect gather and easily organize short message data, which is quickly becoming one of the largest—and most difficult to manage—sources of data in the industry, with a 50 percent increase in short message data run through RelativityOne year-over-year. This means that organizations who utilize these technologies exceptionally well may position themselves more competitively in the market.

#4: Leverage your e-discovery tools for more than just lit support.

According to Julia, of Greensfelder, the traditional definition of e-discovery as being solely about litigation support is outdated: “It's about cost recovery, it's about profitability. It's about helping your attorneys leverage technology in a way that makes them more efficient and more effective.”

This is how BLG elevates their e-discovery team’s reach. The ability to precisely track and manage workspaces alone saved enough money to grow their team to “beyond e-discovery,” allowing them to take on new projects to improve the firm’s profitability.

“With the use of [the right tools],” said Kelly Friedman, senior counsel and national leader of Beyond e-Discovery at BLG, “lawyers are becoming much more efficient. So better lawyers are doing things in less time.”

This enabled BLG to transform their Beyond e-Discovery department from a cost center to a profit center.

#5: Keep an open mind.

Finally, each speaker stressed the importance of being receptive to new features and processes when it comes to e-discovery tools and tech.

“It's important to stay open-minded and not get too locked into your own way of doing things,” said Nexsen Pruet’s Angela. “You never know what new technology or approach might come along that could make your practice even better.”

With how quickly e-discovery technology is evolving, being open to new workflows and tools—especially as an organizational ethos—leads to increased opportunity for new ways to improve operations.

An Intentional Approach to e-Discovery

With the continuous, rapid advancement in e-discovery tools happening today, our panel of experts agree that organizations should work collaboratively with their internal and solution support teams to implement groundbreaking new features as they become available.

Employing an e-discovery strategy that leverages these five key tactics will get the right technology in front of the right people, save critical working hours for high-value attorneys, and provide a well-rounded path to measurable results.

Graphics for this article were created by Sarah Vachlon.

Fireside Chat with Thomson Coburn

Katie Pecho is a content marketing specialist at Relativity.