by Mary Rechtoris on September 10, 2019
Professionals throughout the world all seem to suffer from the same phenomenon: too much to do, too little time. No one knows this to be more true than attorneys.
If you’re an attorney, you likely make your living based on the number of hours you bill and the results you generate from time spent preparing for a deposition, writing a brief, or reviewing documents for a lawsuit.
What if there were a way to replace some of those hours spent doing mundane, manual tasks with more impactful work?
As the litigation support manager at Boston-based law firm Nutter, Kate Jansons Johns has this question top of mind.
“I am always looking to use technology to give our lawyers time back in their day,” Kate said. “They can dedicate their time to more strategic work or pursue more business development opportunities. By moving to RelativityOne, we are able to find more creative ways to do that.”
Using Machine Learning to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Changing attorney mindsets about technology can be a challenging task. However, showing the impact of the technology in previous cases may help drive adoption.
Prior to using an e-discovery platform, when Nutter took on a new case, the review team was keen on using search terms and hiring contract reviewers to get through upwards of 100,000 documents. Kate recommended using categorization and active learning in RelativityOne to expedite the review.
“I told them about other cases where I have seen the power of active learning and an aggressive approach to categorization,” Kate said. “It works incredibly well.”
After hearing about other cases’ results, the team was on board. The senior associate used categorization to create refined searches and find the relevant documents. Using active learning alongside categorization, the team only had to review between 2,000 and 3,000 documents.
In addition to using technology for legal matters, Kate sees the potential a SaaS solution holds in bolstering efficiencies in other areas of the firm. Their corporate department handles mounds of contracts to review, which can be an arduous process. Plus, it takes a good deal of time.
Looking for ways to drive value for clients, Kate is eyeing ways to work with this department and use RelativityOne and its analytical functionalities to accelerate the contact review process.
“When I think of contract work, I see the immense potential in using artificial intelligence and other tools to identify certain phrases and ultimately make reviewers’ lives easier,” Kate said. “Sitting down with these team members to collaborate on how RelativityOne can make that happen will be a huge win.”
Driving D&I Efforts
Firms everywhere are putting forth measures to drive diversity in their teams and, ultimately, the industry at large. As a female leader in the legal tech field, Kate feels passionate about female attorneys taking on leadership roles.
“I believe it is imperative to get more women into partnership positions and that we should work toward making the ratio 50 percent women at that level,” Kate explained.
According to Kate, technology can play a key role in furthering that objective by enabling attorneys to be more efficient with their time. To strategize on how to put this idea into action, the firm has a diversity and inclusion committee who looks at challenges throughout the firm, such as a lack of women in leadership roles, and ways technology can help close those gaps.
“If you take an eight-hour document review and use technology to reduce that time by four hours, that lets our attorneys focus on a healthier work life balance,” Kate said.
While Kate is championing this effort throughout the firm, the industry—and its clients—are demanding more diversity. A couple years ago, global software company Hewlett-Packard implemented a mandate for firms with more than 10 attorneys on staff. The mandate ensures firms HP works with are also dedicated to advocating for a more diverse workforce. For instance, their mandate states at least one woman and one racially/ethnically diverse attorney should each perform or manage at least 10 percent of the billable hours worked on HP matters, according to the American Bar Association.
“As a firm, we are looking at ways to use RelativityOne and other technology to improve diversity throughout the firm. I feel it is important to stand up for what I think is right—and I’m excited to see what’s next,” Kate said.
Mary Rechtoris is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, where she specializes in customer advocacy.