Law Firm Innovation: The Benefits of Adopting Smart Collections to Better Serve Clients
Written by Frederic Bourget, VP of Product, IPRO
How sticky is your firm with your clients? Among the law firms that I have spoken with, there’s a natural advantage in embracing new technologies to better serve them.
Some firms are just getting started with new technology, and that’s OK. The traditional eDiscovery model has been used in litigation for years. As a result, most law firms are still outsourcing data collection to specialized service providers.
Ten years ago, when most of the data was stored on physical servers and desktop computers, this approach made sense. It required a unique set of forensic skills to copy hard drives, move data, and ensure non-repudiation.
But things are changing.
The wheels of digital transformation have been set in motion in the last decade, and the pace of that transformation has increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few reasons why law firms need to adopt Smart Collection tools to get ahead of the curve.
Law Firms Face the Same Pressures as their Clients
The amount of digital data is exploding, and along with that is a sharp increase in the number of digital collaboration apps. With information being spread across multiple cloud platforms, it’s harder to find responsive data.
Organizations face new compliance requirements for privacy (GDPR, CCPA, and others) so things are getting even trickier. With multiple copies of potentially sensitive and unresponsive data circulating – and new security threats all the time – the risks of exposing personal information are increasing.
This is compounded by the fact that even with these new compliance responsibilities, organizations must meet the same stringent response times. The result? You guessed it — more security breaches.
The #WFH Factor
Enters a new wild card in the age of coronavirus: digital workers worldwide working from home. Most law firms and their clients had only a few weeks to complete their digital transformations which included putting in place new collaboration tools, video conferencing and document workflows on the fly.
A few related considerations:
- The digital records produced by these new platforms also need to be collected.
- Some remote employees are working on networks that are less than secure.
- Pandemic-related economic pressures will increase the need for cost reductions.
Every major disruption in the market also brings significant opportunity to reposition and get ahead of the game. Deploying IPRO + NetGovern Smart Collection capabilities is a chance for law firms to achieve this. With this tool, they wouldn’t need to outsource the collection process to external parties and would be able to better serve clients in a world that is quickly becoming entirely digital.
A Few Words on the Benefits of Innovative eDiscovery Technology
Because data is now mostly stored on remote servers – otherwise known as the cloud – being able to connect to these locations remotely to search, find, review, and collect data in a unified legal-friendly way can make a big difference. Smart Collection tools give legal teams a secure, direct, and centralized view into their clients’ data no matter where it is located.
This means that the team who understands the issues can investigate the data directly prior to collecting it.
Then, they can collect only what is needed, minimizing the amount of data involved, and taking the opportunity to filter out sensitive content. As the investigation progresses, the team can go back for more data — if needed — at a very low cost.
The results of this new approach are dramatically different from the EDRM’s.
Not having to involve external parties for collection will lead to improved revenue and profit. The ROI is very simple: subscribe to the right tools and you can keep the collection revenue stream in-house. This also provides much better control over the process, with the additional benefit of controlling where the money flows within the overall case.
But protecting revenue isn’t even the best way law firms can benefit from using the Smart Collection methodology. Security, also being a primo concern, is another area where Smart Collection can make firms excel.
As law firms’ internal teams are empowered to perform the collection phase of eDiscovery, no data circulates externally. This significantly reduces the risk of hacks or leaks for both the firms and their clients. With the scope of privacy laws looming ever larger, this protection comes as a relief.
Minimizing the Time It Takes to Perform eDiscovery
With live investigations, law firms can figure out what relevant case matter they have in a few hours instead of weeks. They can pull key documents that are central to the defense strategy of the case in question. Being quick to find the “smoking gun” puts firms at an advantage. Clients are happy because they can get feedback quickly.
As a result, they engage the law firm regularly and for smaller matters, not just when things get hairy. With this demand for regular and ongoing advice on disputes, billable hours go up, and it occurs at a pace that is manageable for the client.
So How Sticky Is Your Law Firm With Your Clients?
That brings us to our final point. Stickiness is everything. Do your clients outsource legal matters to multiple firms? They shouldn’t have to. Smart Collection allows you to start delivering services that are more closely connected to their business.
You can step in with precise inquiries related to missing documentation, version control, metadata review, and the like. You integrate into their team and their workflows. You can bill on an ongoing basis for this kind of managed service. The business advantage of a recurring revenue model is significant, and it helps you stabilize in the face of workload variation, which is amped up for most companies at this time.
Post-crisis, there will not be any less work for law firms. In the “new normal,” we will see an increase in employee employers, financial, and other contractual matters. The once complex process to collect data will give way to dynamic data interactions by legal staff that are familiar with the matter. This will enable new business models and propel certain firms ahead of others with better service and responsiveness, not to mention higher revenues and margins.
Simply put, Smart Collection equips you to handle changes that are already underway, meeting new and old demands in style, and coming up aces in terms of client trust.