eDiscovery should be a top priority for legal operations. After all, technology is at the heart of maturing operations in any organization. In our last post, we detailed the importance of the eDiscovery Maturity Model for Legal Operations. But in this post, we’re focusing on the pragmatics of choosing and using technology and the tangible benefits that come from the eDiscovery maturity approach.
Building maturity in eDiscovery can help build maturity within your integrated tech stack and across the entire enterprise. Technology is the proverbial glue that can help drive change and consistency on your maturity journey. Since eDiscovery can involve a whole world of stakeholders outside the legal organization, adopting a single eDiscovery platform for all internal and external stakeholders can help achieve efficiencies. By focusing on integrating an end-to-end discovery platform that incorporates all phases of the EDRM, you must take into consideration the entire lifecycle of data management, from creation to information governance, from compliance to disposition.
When you make the decision to standardize on an eDiscovery platform as part of your maturity journey, you’ve kickstarted a cross-organizational process that goes beyond simply transforming the eDiscovery lifecycle. Tying the technology to processes can ensure those processes are adopted throughout the organization. This gives a level of stability, a system of record, and the ability to measure and improve. The technology becomes a cornerstone of continuous improvement that accelerates your operation’s progress toward maturity and innovation.
Choosing the appropriate eDiscovery platform is key. Of course, we advocate for Casepoint as the platform for organizations on — or soon to be on — the maturity journey. In the interest of technology agnosticism, your search criteria should include the following must-haves:
- a platform that can be standardized across disparate elements of the internal and external legal organization
- a platform that will reduce the technology stack by consolidating functions and capabilities in a single tool
- a SaaS-based, end-to-end eDiscovery solution that covers the entire process, including information governance, legal hold, collection, processing, review, analytics, case strategy, and production
- a technology that incorporates extensible tools and flexible capabilities
While these capabilities will help you respond to unanticipated challenges with more speed, efficiency, and agility, you should also look for: robust analytics and AI-powered tools; support for custom workflows; templatization to support workflow automation; cloud connectors; and the ability to rapidly build custom connectors.
And we can’t emphasize enough how important it is that the interface is designed for non-technical users as well as in-house teams and outside counsel. Without this ease of use, adoption will lag behind.
System Integration Partners
Depending on where you are in your journey, you’ll want to choose a platform that adds immediate value “out-of-the-box,” and allows you to meet the specific needs of your legal department and your organization as they evolve. When choosing a technology, you’ll want to work with system integrators. The right technology partner understands your business, your industry, and your particular challenges based on your current stage of maturity.
The best technology won’t do you any good unless it can be seamlessly integrated into your ecosystem. The right partner can provide you with consulting and custom playbooks to support existing and future workflows. This will help align people and processes with the technology, and it will give you the best results during each stage of eDiscovery maturity.
Where Tech Comes In to eDiscovery Maturity
As your organization moves through the stages of operational maturity from ad hoc to activating, technology plays a critical role in accelerating and maintaining momentum. While the immediate goal of eDiscovery technology is to aid in the legal discovery process, its broader benefits can significantly influence an organization’s maturity. Adopting and effectively utilizing eDiscovery tools can lead to better data management, cost savings, risk reduction, and overall enhanced organizational capability. eDiscovery technology plays an essential role in managing and processing vast amounts of electronic data during the litigation process.
As organizations grow and evolve, the adoption and effective utilization of eDiscovery technology can significantly influence their maturity in several ways. Here are 10 ways in which the right technology can enable eDiscovery maturity:
- Efficient Data Management: As companies generate more electronic data, eDiscovery tools enable them to efficiently index, store, and retrieve information. This is not only beneficial during litigation but also aids in general data management and organization.
- Cost Savings: Traditional discovery processes can be expensive and time-consuming. eDiscovery technology can significantly reduce the time and manpower required to sift through data, leading to substantial cost savings.
- Risk Reduction: A mature organization understands its vulnerabilities and risks. eDiscovery tools can help identify and mitigate potential issues before they escalate into legal problems. In addition, having technology in place ensures continuity of processes and knowledge practices — limiting the risk of turnover and “employee superstar syndrome.”
- Regulatory Compliance: As organizations grow, they may become subject to various regulatory requirements. eDiscovery tools ensure that companies can quickly respond to regulatory requests and prove compliance, thus avoiding penalties.
- Better Decision-Making: By having immediate access to relevant data, organizations can make more informed decisions during litigation or internal investigations.
- Enhanced Security: Mature eDiscovery solutions offer advanced security features, ensuring that sensitive data is protected. This is critical as data breaches or leaks can lead to financial and reputational damages.
- Standardized Processes: As organizations mature, the need for standardized workflows and procedures becomes crucial. eDiscovery tools can help in implementing standardized discovery processes, which can be consistently applied across different cases or scenarios.
- Scalability: A mature organization needs tools that can scale with its growth. eDiscovery solutions can handle large volumes of data for multiple legal use cases, ensuring that the organization is prepared for any future growth in data or increased litigation demands.
- Training and Skill Development: Implementing eDiscovery tools often necessitates training, which enhances the skills of the organization’s staff. This expertise becomes an asset, elevating the company’s overall capability and maturity.
- Stakeholder Confidence: Demonstrating a robust eDiscovery capability can increase stakeholder confidence, as it showcases the organization’s commitment to transparency, compliance, and efficient management.
After the organization standardizes on a technology platform that aligns internal and outside resources and reduces its tech stack, legal operations can then exert better control over the eDiscovery process and operations. Designated individuals become subject matter experts and grow their expertise using data-driven insights delivered by the platform’s AI and analytics capabilities. They can also enforce tighter controls and rigorous security across the board. Plus, they can apply this expertise to pursue ongoing process optimization across legal, HR, IT, finance, billing, outside counsel, external service providers, and other relevant parties. As a result, the enterprise begins to benefit from significant cost savings in both technology and overall legal spending.
In Real Life
Control of costs and efficient processes are key priorities for all organizations today. Here are two examples of how the adoption of the eDiscovery maturity model delivered these benefits and more.
- One of our clients admitted they had few of the necessary resources to manage eDiscovery. As part of their maturity strategy, they first standardized on our platform across all outside counsel. Using Casepoint as a technology partner, they were able to gain control over and transparency into portions of the eDiscovery process that had become prohibitively expensive — in particular, data management and eDiscovery review. Adopting the technology gave them insight into spending; as a result, they were able to make targeted decisions that rapidly led to cost savings. These new insights into their document review practices helped them build a standard process around document review that dramatically reduced the cost of review and brought their overall eDiscovery spending down 52.6% — saving them millions of dollars. Those millions of dollars were able to be invested in other areas of their operations, including their legal ops team. The knowledge they gained and the integrations made into their tech stack allowed them to streamline their data management and retrieval. This impacted the organization as a whole, on both an operational and a business level.
- A large corporation — whose legal and IT departments had no eDiscovery experience — was reliant on counsel for their eDiscovery needs but was looking for a solution to bring these unsustainably high costs under control. They adopted our technology and took greater control over the eDiscovery and claims processes, focusing internally on preservation and collection, processing, and data and technology management while continuing to use outside counsel to make the major decisions around discovery, document review, and litigation. They rapidly reduced spending on eDiscovery by maintaining full control of their data in-house. Speed of discovery also increased, reducing both risk and cost by providing early insight into each matter. They went on to work with us to develop a claims management use case process within the platform. This dramatically reduced their tech stack, allowing them to replace a system in which they required three separate technologies for the repository, case management, and knowledge management around claims. This company continues to work with Casepoint to mature its legal operations around people, processes, and technology to push for strategic outcomes.
A strong extensible technology that covers the full Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) not only ensures that a corporation reduces risk by maintaining control of data through the full eDiscovery lifecycle, but it also assists legal practitioners with EDRM such as legal hold, preservation, collection, internal investigations, compliance, claim management, and matter management.
The eDiscovery maturity model hinges upon the use of the right technology and technology advisers to maintain process consistency across disparate organizations, through different stages of maturity, and through the inevitable shocks and changes that will occur over the course of business life. Pick the right technology and the right partners with care. You can work together to save time and costs and achieve measurable efficiencies for your entire organization.
If you have questions, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to explain how our eDiscovery maturity model can work for you.