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6 Ways Kilpatrick Townsend Raised Their Training Game

Keely McKee

The most valuable tools—like an excavator or an MRI machine—are only useful with the right training.

So when Kilpatrick Townsend brought Relativity in house, they knew they’d need a way to train their teams on the technology to make the most of their investment. At Relativity Fest 2017, members of Kilpatrick's LitSmart E-Discovery team shared insights about the program they built to get their teams started in Relativity and keep them sharp.

Kilpatrick’s lineup of training pros included Joe Panzarella, director of e-discovery; Darcie Spruance, senior project manager; Andy Webb, senior e-discovery analyst; and Andrew Wong, e-discovery analyst.

Learn how the LitSmart E-Discovery team set up a successful training program—and how you can build yours—with six key pieces of advice that can apply to onboarding any new technology.

1. Determine Who Needs What Type of Training

With many different roles in the e-discovery process, Kilpatrick realized that each role sees e-discovery through a different lens requiring a custom training approach. They created a training funnel to demonstrate the degree of training each role required.

While this will likely depend on your firm or organization, Kilpatrick’s funnel includes project managers and analysts at the top—requiring the widest breadth of training—followed by paralegals, document review teams, associates, and partners.

Each of these groups requires a different quantity of training, and more importantly, they should each be trained on different topics. 

2. Customize Training by Role

The funnel helped Kilpatrick determine who needs to be trained on what. With this information, they customized training for each group.

For example, attorney training begins during orientation when the e-discovery team gives a brief presentation about their services and follows up with digital materials about what’s available to the attorneys. Regular roadshows and lunch & learns are conducted with customized presentations for individual practice groups to let them know how the software can support their work.

The project managers also conduct training for each case team when a case is assigned. After initial coaching, the case’s designated project manager continues to develop a relationship with the team and provide support as needed. 

The training for Kilpatrick’s paralegals looks a little different. Because their paralegals are very involved in the software, they need more in-depth training. They also need to have knowledge about subjects outside of their job scope—such as document collection—so they can help explain complex processes to attorneys and clients.

To accommodate busy schedules while delivering extensive training, their paralegals complete their courses online in one-hour modules—either live or by watching a recording. By collaborating with Kilpatrick’s internal training team, the LitSmart team was able to add their modules to the firm’s existing training portal. With east and west coast offices, web trainings also offer an effective solution to a three-hour time difference.

3. Simplify the Process for Clients

In addition to preparing their internal teams, Kilpatrick wanted to make sure their clients were set up for success. Because their clients have varied needs and ranging Relativity proficiencies, the team customizes each training. They’ll send instructions on how to log into Relativity with several quick reference guides attached. Since clients have become armed with resources to get started in the software, Kilpatrick’s LitSmart team has seen a reduced number of support tickets.

To further simplify the process for clients, Kilpatrick will limit what each user is allowed to see by locking down views and features. This ensures the client only sees what they need, making it easier to use the platform and cutting down support requests to the LitSmart team.

4. Train Your Trainers

Kilpatrick uses certifications to ensure project managers and analysts are pros in e-discovery and the technology. Product certifications, such as the Relativity Certified Administrator (RCA) and Relativity's specialist certifications, provide unmatched formal education on the software. They also recommend certifications such as the ACEDS Certified e-Discovery Specialist, which covers the entire scope of the EDRM, and the Project Management Professional certification, which helps project managers speak the language of the client.

And the team says it’s not just about passing a test—the study time is what gives you the foundation to be successful. That said, passing these exams proves your expertise and can help you get buy-in with partners and clients.

5. Create Standard Operating Procedures to Stay on the Same Page

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are like cookbooks that anyone can reference to complete a particular task. The LitSmart team recommends using support requests to determine which processes should be documented in SOPs. Kilpatrick’s 60+ SOPs include a purpose statement, step-by-step instructions, screenshots, and links to any related resources on the Relativity documentation site.

It does take some time to create SOPs, but the LitSmart team says it’s worth the investment. The documents have saved them time: they’re referenceable best practices teams can use without going to the support team or aimlessly searching through the software for a solution. Also, SOPs can help show defensibility in case a method is questioned, such as how productions are created, how privilege calls are made, or chain of custody.

6. Constantly Improve Your Training Program

The team didn’t set up the program and walk away. They’re continuously measuring success and updating training and documentation.

One of the ways they measure success is by looking at the number of IT support tickets related to Relativity, which have steadily decreased over the last five years.

Not only do the project managers monitor the number of tickets, but they also review the content. They look at the requests in support tickets, as well as survey responses from training sessions, to determine where training is lacking and where they’re consistently seeing new issues or questions.

While Kilpatrick’s LitSmart team didn’t sugarcoat the effort that went into getting their training program off the ground, they made it clear how effective it’s been at the firm. To start your own training program, take a look at Relativity’s free training materials, including tutorials, webinars, and documentation.

Get Your Team Trained in Relativity

Keely McKee is a member of the creative team at Relativity, specializing in content development.