Brian D. Moore demonstrates how technology and visibility have cultivated the increasingly broad and sophisticated managed services that providers such as FRONTEO can offer.
CCBJ: How have managed services evolved over the last few years?
Brian Moore: Managed services for e-discovery, and legal services in general, has been an ongoing trend over the last 10 to 15 years. That trend was significantly accelerated by the financial crisis and the scrutiny that legal departments found themselves under, with the costs of not only the legal team but also risk management and litigation less known and less predictable. At the same time, e-discovery technology was improving significantly. The established software tools were consolidated, and the cost of using those tools and processing data started to go down, due to the power of the tools as well as the more competitive cost of storage, which has plummeted over the last five to 10 years.
What do managed services look like today?
There have been significant strides forward as far as visibility into the processes. Corporations and law firms can potentially do some, if not all, of the work themselves, even though they may not want to own the actual technology. They can use a facility for e-discovery that is hosted by an outside provider, with the security and technology required. In addition, the provider can offer on-demand services and access to a database for their law firms.
Most often, managed services for e-discovery and technology is a configured SaaS solution, which means that we handle the platform for the corporation, including the required data management software and services. What’s involved depends on the capabilities, the amount of data that the corporation anticipates and the kinds of litigation. We’ve been deploying this model for corporations, law firms and government institutions for the last several years.
How does FRONTEO determine the managed services model best suited to a particular company?
The best option for any corporation is based on its litigation profile and needs, as well as its capabilities to manage e-discovery internally. In close consultation with our clients, FRONTEO develops a plan that could range from a high-level managed services agreement – which, depending on volume, could involve preferred pricing – or a service level agreement, with the e-discovery provider doing everything on the company’s behalf.
Between those two configurations is a scenario in which FRONTEO manages the platform for the client, and the company utilizes a mix of internal resources or law firm resources. The corporation delegates project management–oriented tasks, such as processing data, managing the review platform and running productions. Outside resources from FRONTEO can contribute as well.
A final configuration is what we call infrastructure as a service. We provide a secure hosted platform, including the technology to perform the necessary tasks, and the corporation does everything itself.
Are there approaches or tools that are unique for corporate use?
A good amount of the strategy for a corporation is to manage both costs and risk related to data. We can enable a higher level of security on our platform but also leverage data reviewed for one litigation, whether that’s for privilege or for responsive data, so that it can be reused in another. We create what we call a corporate data warehouse to keep the text and metadata used in prior cases and help the client de-duplicate against those documents. The client gains cost savings by reusing the data and benefits from the knowledge related to coding and privilege gained previously. They have much better control of the data and can fundamentally better manage their risk by having the decision-making from earlier cases.
Another format is to have a turnkey facility for small cases with less data. The corporate legal team is able to pull the data out of the corporation’s data source and put it into a platform that we provide. They then self-serve the management of those small data collections.
At FRONTEO, we also provide our business intelligence portal, TRUST, which features real-time reporting on work status, metrics and cost so that corporate legal departments can track all the litigation being run through the platform and make decisions based on budgets. They can see where we are with a case, as far as expected spend or how we could manage it better, and report back to executive management. We’ve developed several value-added tools and workflows that can be a big advantage to most corporations.
What trends are developing with regard to managed services?
Corporations have become more sophisticated and knowledgeable about legal technology for litigation. They are moving to single- or dual-source providers, versus a portfolio of providers that they need to manage on a transactional basis. FRONTEO has the knowledge to do this on behalf of our corporate clients. It is a great way to manage more efficiently and save money for the corporation.