How did they do it?
- Access to greater analytics tools has empowered the firm’s dedicated forensics team
- Working in the cloud allows the firm to perform document review in multiple geographies and jurisdictions
- Uploading and sharing documents in RelativityOne is faster than ever
- RelativityOne’s doc-to-doc speeds have made working in Relativity more efficient and easier
Bird & Bird, an international law firm with over 1,300 lawyers across the globe, recently made the move to RelativityOne to alleviate pressures they were facing with rising data volumes and the changing nature of matters. They had been a long-time customer of Relativity since 2012 and had maintained a dedicated server instance on premises for their client’s data. The firm had at times leveraged third-party legal service providers to augment limited, London-based resources for review and disclosure efforts.
"Data volumes are increasing on everything that we're doing now. One of the constraints of the on-premise instance was our inability to take on some of these huge amounts of data. We simply couldn't scale. That was key to our decision to go to RelativityOne," said Karen Jacks, CTO at Bird & Bird
As data volumes per matter have steadily risen, the on-premises instance was becoming less capable of serving their needs as well as the needs of their clients. Bird & Bird required a sustainable solution to handle the steady increase in data volume, the number of data sets, and changing nature of work. The third-party providers they had relied on couldn’t scale to meet the variable workloads. ¯This solution was no longer offering the firm the degree of control, expediency, or ability to provide wider services that they required.
“Historically, when we outsourced it would typically take three days to get documents uploaded before they even deduped or ran any searches, and if you’re in an investigation or trying to prepare a defense, the client wants you to move quicker than that.”
SOPHIE EYRE, partner and co-head of Bird & Bird’s International Dispute Resolution Group
In line with their ambition to expand their litigation support and forensic services capabilities, Bird & Bird acquired a forensics team based in Poland. As a result, the need for a long-term, scalable technology solution became even more imperative. Having been a long-time customer of Relativity Server, and upon the recommendation of the new forensics team, Bird & Bird’s executive team explored a migration to RelativityOne.
“We were able to take this entire team and create an offering for the global firm at large. They made the recommendation to transition to RelativityOne as it was a far better fit for the service they were capable of offering,” said Karen Jacks, CTO at Bird & Bird.
RelativityOne’s cloud-based licensing model allows the Poland-based forensics team to be seamlessly integrated and fully leveraged in the support of client matters around the world, as well as allowing for at-will scaling to cope with sudden influxes of data.
The security evaluation of RelativityOne easily satisfied all considerations of Bird & Bird’s InfoSec team and met local regulations. Since the firm was moving from Relativity to RelativityOne, the security evaluation didn’t have to start from scratch, which helped to expedite the due diligence process.
The executive team was impressed with RelativityOne’s capability and approved the Bird & Bird migration from Relativity Server to RelativityOne. The transition started a few months later in the spring of 2020.
The cloud-based nature of RelativityOne made the transition easy, particularly in a time that was fraught with pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions. In fact, the pandemic had little to no effect on Bird & Bird’s ability to migrate to RelativityOne.
Differing perspectives on use
Since implementing RelativityOne the firm has enjoyed a smooth deployment and ease of collaboration across service areas with the forensics team in Poland.
International HR Services
Leading a team of associates, Rachael Cage, senior associate in Bird & Bird’s International HR Services team, must consider the best way to distribute and track document reviews. Being on RelativityOne has helped her team manage access to document batches, especially in a remote work environment. In addition to managing access, Rachael also needs insight into how a case is progressing to determine if more resources are needed to meet deadlines. Because she can visualise every field in RelativityOne, Rachael can easily review metrics at a glance to QC document review in progress.
“Utilisation dashboards have definitely been helpful to see where we are in terms of being on track because we’re always working to a deadline. If there are any issues it can help to get to them early, which saves time down the line,” said Rachael.
Specialising in complex commercial disputes, Russell Williamson, a senior associate at Bird & Bird, regularly relies on the Poland-based forensics team to upload and process documents and run deduplication, language identification, application of search criteria, and email threading before beginning a review as part of a disclosure exercise. This functionality had once taken multiple days to complete while waiting for an external provider to complete the work but now can be handled immediately by the dedicated team.
“We used to have one dedicated e-disclosure specialist to assist with disclosure exercises and, for larger or more complex cases, we often had to employ an external consultancy to provide necessary support. That became increasingly unmanageable. Having our new team in Warsaw who dedicate their time to e-disclosure matters is invaluable and ensures that disclosure processes can be dealt with smoothly,” said Russell.
While managing case documents, it’s often important to share data sets with clients and other external counsel. Russell uses RelativityOne’s built-in export capabilities to provide on-the-fly documents back to in-house counsel or to set up a separate workspace within RelativityOne’s ecosystem, which he can invite his clients or other external counsel to view a larger subset of documents.
As a senior associate based in Bird & Bird’s Munich office specialising in life sciences, Wolfgang Ernst connects securely to the law firm’s primary RelativityOne instance. When Bird & Bird ran the platform on their datacenter, it required solicitors to remotely connect to the server, causing significant delays. With RelativityOne, the speed and performance of the platform are disconnected from complicated on-premise infrastructure, allowing even the most large-scale case to run smoothly in a platform built for speed and stability.
Being in Germany, Wolfgang benefits from the international ecosystem Bird & Bird has developed. Interfacing with the Poland team to manage data loading and workspace set-up and perform language identification, Wolfgang can step into the case with documents in German to review. As a truly global firm, Bird & Bird utilises offices around the world in lockstep to support entire case lifecycles.
What was initially sought as a solution to server capacity issues has since evolved and proven to add value to the firm in a number of key ways.
Technological Competitive Advantages
The capabilities available in RelativityOne extend far beyond the ability to scale data storage needs. Bird & Bird has since enjoyed the benefits of advanced redaction functionality with Redact, which has helped to cut down on time and provides an increased level of confidence.
Improved user interface and increased doc-to-doc speeds have made working in Relativity more efficient and easier for legal professionals. Data transfer speeds are also greatly increased, saving time, improving security, and easing collaboration.
The greatest impact might actually be the forensics team’s new ability to take advantage of the full suite of advanced analytics capabilities to help solicitors to quickly narrow in on the right-sized data set for a given matter.
“What I really liked about the opportunity was the smart analytics of the data, that you can insert keywords and other features and you can refine, refine, refine until you have a good balance of a broad-enough search criteria and an acceptable document volume,” said Wolfgang Ernst.
Since RelativityOne is cloud based, the firm now has the ability to perform document review in multiple geographies and jurisdictions. This offers numerous benefits to Bird & Bird clients. With offices located around the world, the firm now has greater flexibility to help make review work for their clients both in terms of price and time. The firm can now fully take advantage of staffing in APAC, EMEA, the U.S., Canada, and the UK to offer 24/7 review services to produce results much more quickly.
“You don’t have to have lawyers in London doing the review if it’s a big doc review. We can now do it 24/7 because we have staffing around the globe, and they can all be on the team together,” said Sophie Eyre.
The increased geographical reach in tandem with language identification functionality allows for matters involving multiple languages to be identified, parsed out, and covered by native speakers much more easily.
Having increased control over where data resided means Bird & Bird can exercise more influence over how to keep sensitive data safe. This can be helpful when dealing with regulators in particularly aggressive jurisdictions or when they need to limit the ability for others to make disclosure access requests on documents.
Transparency in Collaboration
The process of uploading and sharing documents in RelativityOne is greatly accelerated. This makes getting documents to and from clients much more efficient and cost effective.
With RelativityOne, Bird & Bird can give clients who wish to be involved in the process seamless access to documents and groupings of documents. This can be helpful in providing insight and context to produce more impactful work much more quickly and can greatly help in narrowing in on the right-size data set for a given matter. Bird & Bird can also partner with clients’ IT teams and staff to help upload documents or resolve technical sticking point in the document upload. This kind of seamless collaboration also has the benefit of keeping sensitive documents safer by reducing instances of data transfers and avoiding risky, antiquated transfer methods.