Customer stories

Pillsbury Law

Pillsbury harnesses technology to tame surging data volume. OpenText Axcelerate enables leading law firm to provide a differentiated, efficient eDiscovery process

Challenges

  • Complicated discovery management with multiple clients, case types, and jurisdictions
  • Large data volumes requiring rapid and accurate legal review
  • Exorbitant processing and hosting fees from multiple outside vendors

Results

  • Standardized discovery process across projects in a consolidated platform

  • Reduced costs by processing and hosting in a self-controlled cloud environment

  • Leveraged machine learning and advanced analytics for every client project

Story

Tier 1 technology for every client, every matter Pillsbury routinely handles hundreds of cases across all fields of law. A single case can easily involve millions of records that require analysis and attorney review to identify the key documents and information necessary to support effective trial strategy. As explained by David Stanton, a Chamber’s-ranked litigation partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office, who leads the firm’s Information Law and Electronic Discovery team: “Efficiency is important in business. Our ability to drive efficiencies and to measure and report on them is an increasingly important part of retaining existing clients and obtaining new ones.”

Our lawyers recognize that having OpenText Axcelerate in-house makes us a more viable candidate for the next case.

David Stanton
Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

The Pillsbury team handles multiple terabytes of active project data at any given time. That data needs to be treated across the entire EDRM workflow, preferably in-house and with special attention to the safety and security of documents. Meeting this need requires robust processing capabilities, sophisticated administration capabilities, integrated redaction tools, customizable document productions and, critically, the most powerful analytics and machine learning capabilities available to help attorneys quickly find the key facts that could make or break their cases.

When evaluating the OpenText™ Axcelerate™ platform, Pillsbury was seeking a best-in-class predictive technology.“ We were looking for analytic capabilities that would allow us to visualize large datasets and emphasize investigation, along with providing efficiencies to heads-down document review,” noted Stanton. “We also knew the importance of having someone on hand who can serve as a data steward—someone who understands client information architecture, the needs of the organization to migrate data and the kinds of privacy and regulatory concerns that the organization is navigating.”

Enabling DIY eDiscovery in the cloud

Stanton notes that in selecting OpenText Axcelerate to provide a centralized, cloud-based eDiscovery platform for its litigation portfolio, the biggest shift was implementing a platform that would bring the discovery function in-house. “This ensured that we were no longer beholden to a variety of different third-party providers,” said Stanton. “All data is culled, processed, hosted, analyzed and reviewed in Axcelerate, enabling the firm to standardize processes and enhance efficiencies.”

Today, Pillsbury manages the entire eDiscovery process in-house, from a single interface. The Pillsbury team processes client data, manages its own projects and runs productions themselves, with no dependency on third-party providers. “When Pillsbury was building out our capacity,” explained Stanton, “it was very important to have a well-designed and easily implemented backend administrative capability that we could get up and running without a lot of expenses and training.”

In addition, since Axcelerate is optimized for the cloud, Pillsbury is able to realize substantial efficiencies by reducing infrastructure costs associated with hardware. The team possesses all the computing power it needs on-demand. “We’re able to leverage a very small team to perform an incredible amount of work that would, in other platforms, require a lot more staff and likely a larger commitment to on premises resources,” explained Director of Litigation Support Services, Gordon Moffat.

Axcelerate is also among the most secure eDiscovery platforms available because it leverages the AWS Cloud and takes full advantage of all the plenary security features available. “As part of our assessment of OpenText™ Axcelerate™ Cloud, we analyzed the security parameters and recognized that a distributed cloud-based implementation, when well architected, is at least as secure as having an on-premises installation,” said Stanton.

Woman at desk with laptop and phone in hand

OpenText Axcelerate allows you to get to the facts that matter in the case much more quickly. In doing so, you are able to form the narrative and merit of your case earlier, which gives you strategic and settlement advantages.

David Stanton
Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Enhancing legal processes with machine learning

Axcelerate’s machine learning tools are integrated directly into the platform and standard workflows, giving Pillsbury clients access to the power of artificial intelligence with every project. As a result, Pillsbury has developed significant domain expertise in this cutting-edge facet of the law. The Pillsbury eDiscovery team employs concept grouping and phrase analysis, categorizing documents into contextually related subsets to jumpstart fact investigation. Pillsbury also makes extensive use of Predictive Coding, using it creatively as a force multiplier, to expand the reach of human relevancy decisions and prioritize the most probative content for expedited analysis, and as a quality control and feedback mechanism, to minimize errors and foster consistency among human reviewers. “Some firms find it daunting to leverage machine learning; we do it every day,” noted Stanton. “We do it on every investigation, every case, no matter how large or small. We are able to reduce the amount of needless review of non-relevant content in ways that I don’t think other law firms have been able to achieve.”

Extending expertise with OpenText Professional Services

Law firm clients have become increasingly more selective when it comes to retaining outside counsel. Pillsbury embraced technology as a key differentiator and found that demonstrating this efficiency with transparent reports for their clients provides a distinct advantage over its competition. As part of the partnership between OpenText Professional Services and the Pillsbury eDiscovery team, technologists helped Pillsbury optimize the AWS Cloud while data scientists helped firm lawyers leverage all the analytics built directly into Axcelerate to report on their successes. “The data science team at OpenText has done an excellent job in helping us communicate how the technology works to our clients and attorneys in the firm,” said Stanton. “They’ve helped us design metrics. They’ve helped us design workflows.”

A compelling advantage over other law firms

Since Pillsbury went live with Axcelerate, its eDiscovery practice has grown as the firm has benefited from a simplified management process streamlined through a single vendor and application.

Having the best tools at their disposal to find key facts and documents enables Pillsbury lawyers to shape legal strategy early on and to spend less time reviewing irrelevant content and more time litigating. In addition, Pillsbury clients benefit from having a single legal advisor that understands not only their legal issues, but their data issues as well. “Our litigators and lawyers recognize that having Axcelerate in-house makes us a more viable candidate for the next case,” said Stanton.

About Pillsbury Law

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (Pillsbury Law) is a full-service law firm with an industry focus on energy and natural resources, financial services including financial institutions, real estate and construction, and technology. Based in the world's major financial, technology and energy centers, Pillsbury counsels clients on global business, regulatory and litigation matters. To learn more, visit www.pillsburylaw.com.