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A Year of SaaS in Review: Moving Beyond e-Discovery

Mary Rechtoris

Law firms spanning the globe all have one thing top of mind: client satisfaction. Clients today are requiring firms to deliver results faster than ever without compromising quality.

To that end, firms are eyeing technology solutions to achieve that objective and remain competitive. International law firm Allen & Overy sought to drive efficiency on their e-discovery cases across multiple geographies. Knowing a SaaS solution would allow them to deliver results at the speed and caliber clients expect, they moved to RelativityOne. With nearly a year under their belt using the platform, the firm has seen how the technology helps them elevate their business.

“It's been a major success story; we’ve met or exceeded every measure that we set,” said Scott Robson, global head of e-discovery at Allen & Overy. “We were focused on three things in the first year: people, process, technology.”

­­­Keeping the Golden Triangle Intact

To ensure the SaaS solution moved the needle in the right direction, Allen & Overy looked at their people and processes. Whether implementing a new billing software or e-discovery tool, firms cannot overlook the golden triangle: people, process, technology.

“Our firm is quite smart about looking at our client challenges and strategizing from a technology, people, and process standpoint on how we can develop a solution for those challenges,” said Christina Zachariasen, EMEA lead of e-discovery consulting.

Bringing in new technology without buy-in from the people using the technology likely will hinder the solution’s success. Involving these people early on increases their aptitude for using the technology on client matters. Therefore, Allen & Overy launched a training program geared toward attorneys around the globe.

“Our team worked with lawyers to help them understand the difference between RelativityOne and our previous version,” Scott said. “We showed them how to use the technology so they could get the best results possible.”

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Not only are the firm’s attorneys on board with the technology, they are advocating to use it on matters. In the past, Scott and his team would have to ask their attorneys whether they would be open to trying a new workflow. This year, the tides have shifted toward excitement over using new tools.

“In the past year, our lawyers have taken a more proactive stance on using the technology because they now understand what’s achievable,” Scott said. “It's not just about technology delivering something; it's about technology working with the rest of the business.”

Meeting Client Needs Across the Globe

Attorneys are more likely to champion new technology if they are confident it will bolster efficiency for their clients’ matters. When Allen & Overy tells clients that they are using a SaaS platform, they quickly get on board because they know it will generate positive results.

“Clients appreciate us being on the latest version and using the latest tools and techniques,” explained Emma Wiltshire, EMEA lead of e-discovery, operations, and delivery. “They feel confident their cases are being handled in the best way they possibly can.”

With the firm having 44 global offices, their ability to handle cases effectively from across geographies is paramount. Of the firm’s matters, nearly 60 percent or more cross multiple jurisdictions.

“We can’t just look at e-discovery from a London or US perspective,” Christina noted. “We have to think about it from a global point of view.”

Since rolling out RelativityOne in early 2018, Allen & Overy has deployed instances in the US, EMEA, and APAC.

“RelativityOne makes our scalability practically infinite,” Christina said. “It also means we can deploy our innovations quickly. If we develop a solution in London, we can deploy that same solution across the world in a matter of days.”

Moving their Best Strategic Foot Forward

As Allen & Overy moves forward with a SaaS platform, they can strategize on the best ways to allocate their time and energy to best service clients. Managing infrastructure can be a time suck, and often, team members would much prefer spending their hours working with clients than ensuring an update runs smoothly.

“We’re not focused on making things work. We’re focused on making things better,” Christina said. “By adopting RelativityOne, we can innovate quickly and our technical team can dedicate more efforts toward proactive client service.”

The firm has seen benefits accrue from using technology on the litigation side of the coin. Now, they are looking beyond purely e-discovery and plan to use RelativityOne to make that happen.

“There's enormous opportunity within this firm and within the legal industry to bring change through technology and help our people do their jobs better,” said Scott. “RelativityOne is crucial to helping us develop non-litigation, client-facing tools that will make an impact.”

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Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the brand team at Relativity, where she's always collaborating and looking for new ways to develop and socialize stories.