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How One Law Firm Tamed the e-Discovery Beast

By Jessica Carter

Oct 27 2016

Trick-or-Treaters aren’t the only ones who come face to face with goblins and ghouls. Like many midsized law firms that manage a wide range of litigation for its clients, Crowe & Dunlevy has been challenged to tame the ugly beast of electronic discovery. This challenge has only grown as the volume of data that must be collected, processed and reviewed in e-discovery has proliferated over the past 15 years.

“Our list of broken parts in the e-discovery workflow included a disjointed process, accelerating costs and the need for speed,” said Charlotte Blacklee, litigation technology support manager at Crowe and Dunlevy, who has been with the firm since 1994.

When I spoke with Charlotte about her firm’s previous e-discovery processes, she explained that the firm had gradually evolved its e-discovery workflow “in a way that accommodated our needs at the time.” The firm processed files in one program, exported the data out of that program and imported it into a litigation review database, conducted a review of the documents, created a tag list of documents that were to be produced, and then imported those tagged documents back into their processing tool for production.

“That sort of nonsense just had to go,” she said.

Crowe & Dunlevy realized their disjointed process was costing the firm time – and money – so they began a search for an end-to-end e-discovery software platform.

“I spent a lot of time talking to our clients about their e-discovery needs, including what we could do to better understand and assist them with their collection, retention and maintenance of their data,” said Charlotte. “I used a comprehensive approach, end-to-end, which included the entire picture of what happens during the discovery process. It was important to create a workflow that would ultimately be the best platform for helping us identify, track and maintain e-discovery data during the life of a case.”

Charlotte’s story is one that we hear a lot from litigation support managers who have grown frustrated with having to piece together multiple applications at different stages of the e-discovery workflow. As we learned more about her journey, we thought her experience could be shared to help others, so we invited her to participate in an educational program for litigation professionals.

We were delighted when she accepted and served as the featured speaker during a recent AccessData webinar, in which she recounted her firm’s decision to purchase AccessData’s Summation® software, how the solution compared to other legal review platforms, and the results Crowe & Dunlevy has enjoyed by deploying Summation in their e-discovery workflow.

(To listen to an audio recording of this webinar, please click here.)

Crowe & Dunlevy looked specifically at five leading competitive offerings, conducted a number of “dry runs” with each product and then surveyed their internal users to understand their preferences and performance experiences. As they began to assess their various notes and observations, it became clear to Blacklee’s team that the process didn’t necessarily have to be a “pick one, dump the rest” exercise. So after comparing several platforms, Crowe & Dunlevy selected Summation as a primary tool to help them take back control of their e-discovery workflow.

A key consideration for Crowe & Dunlevy was the fact that Summation is powered by a single unified database so a client’s data doesn’t actually move from one place to another when it transitions out of the processing phase, into review and eventually to production. With fewer “data hops” as the digital files move across the e-discovery workflow, there is a reduced risk of errors in review and potential spoliation problems in the chain of custody.

Since Crowe & Dunlevy deployed Summation, the firm has been able to reduce processing costs and improved ease of use for their attorneys – benefits that were immediately realized by the firm. Rather than the multiple hours or days that were required to move data in and out of different software tools under the old workflow, the new end-to-end platform from Summation allows the firm to execute the same volume of processing with a single operation that can be run overnight.

If you’d like to read more about Crowe & Dunlevy’s selection of Summation, you can download the free case study here.

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