Freeport Saves $500k+ During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Switching to RelativityOne
How did they do it?
- Transitioned to RelativityOne to make workflows less burdensome
- Consolidated processing, analytics, and hosting functions
- Managed spend used with RelativityOne’s flex commit pricing plan
Recognizing the Value of RelativityOne
Early in 2019, the international mining company Freeport-McMoRan issued a request for proposal for a new in-house legal hold solution and approached Relativity for a response.
Having standardized on Relativity through service providers, Freeport was already familiar with the Relativity experience as they engaged with the team to discuss a potential investment in Legal Hold.
While these conversations were underway, Freeport decided to conduct a financial analysis of their annual processing and analytics spend with vendors. Through their managed services agreements, Freeport outsourced most of their data processing and hosting needs. By bringing these processes in-house, they could strike a significant amount from their discovery spend.
According to Tony LaMacchia, global e-discovery and litigation lead at Freeport, control of these processes was an important inspiration to start these discussions and analysis. “At the end of the day, I just like knowing where the data is and having the ownership.”
The Freeport team recognized the value that RelativityOne could bring beyond just Legal Hold and committed to a dedicated RelativityOne instance. Running a lean legal team, Freeport planned a gradual data migration of cases into their direct RelativityOne instance but saw the potential to consolidate their hosting while building out a more comprehensive legal function.
The Transition to RelativityOne
In September 2019, Freeport signed a 25-user/3 TB capacity-based contract in RelativityOne and established a new team within the legal department to provide project management on cases.
"We immediately realized three quarters of a million dollars in savings by moving to RelativityOne on hosting alone. The meeting with our general counsel lasted maybe three minutes to show the value of RelativityOne."
TONY LAMACCHIA, Global e-Discovery and Litigation Lead
Tony described the decision to move to RelativityOne as obvious. “We immediately realized three quarters of a million dollars in savings by moving to RelativityOne on hosting alone. The meeting with our general counsel lasted maybe three minutes to show the value of RelativityOne.”
Tony’s team members were already familiar with Relativity. The platform’s intuitive and user-friendly interface made for a seamless transition to the cloud, and the added capability has made their workflows less burdensome. Freeport was able to transform a team of nine in-house lawyers, with numerous external contracts, to a centralized, self-sufficient litigation management group. The new capabilities afforded by a direct RelativityOne license enabled Tony to bring in two additional paralegals and a technologist to manage e-discovery.
Throughout the transition, the Freeport team has worked with their designated partner of record, Legility. The partnership allows Freeport to handle certain matters in-house while Legility’s team of experts handle managed services as needed.
Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic
A few months into their RelativityOne contract, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and created extremely volatile market conditions. During the early stages of state lockdowns, Freeport, like many organizations, sought ways to proactively cut costs across the company. “We are in a heavily regulated industry, and a lot of our litigation is long-lived, with some cases going on five, ten, maybe twenty years. So, a constant spend for us is on e-discovery. Therefore, we looked at ways to manage that constant spend and realized we needed to use our RelativityOne investment. So, we started moving data over.”
The litigation team turned their attention to managing their baseline e-discovery spend. Although the team had planned a more gradual migration to RelativityOne, they recognized the opportunity to consolidate processing, analytics, and hosting functions to their dedicated instance. By consolidating these processes, Freeport has already been able to realize nearly $500,000 in savings. The team expects to save about $750,000 by the end of 2020. “We were slowly moving data in there, but when COVID hit, that changed the game for us. Like a lot of corporations during the pandemic, we needed to curtail our costs. Eliminating these outside fees was instrumental in doing that.”
The move to a direct RelativityOne license was a significant transition for Freeport. The company adopted a self-sufficient approach to e-discovery, taking on the processing and analytics workflows they had previously outsourced to vendors.
Only a year into their three-year contract, Freeport transitioned to Relativity’s new flex commit licensing model. The new model avoids capacity-based licensing, allowing Freeport to pay just for what they use in the platform. Flex commit’s ability to spread dollars and utilization over the course of the contract provides Freeport even greater capacity to manage spend while scaling up into RelativityOne.