Big Data Disrupts Legal Outsourcing Model

Clutch Group filters data being accumulated by organizations for use in litigation, risk management and contract management.

Erin E. Harrison, Law Technology News

When it comes to trends in the legal industry, there’s a lot of conjecture about the way technology is being integrated into the way law departments and law firms operate on a day-to-day basis. The age-old question—what came first, the chicken or the egg?—comes to mind when you consider whether technology is transforming the legal space or the legal space is influencing the way legal technologyis evolving. The answer might surprise you; if you consider the larger transformation of the legal industry it’s really both, according to Varun Mehta, vice president of legal and compliance solutions at Clutch Group, a legal process outsourcing (LPO) firm based in Washington, D.C..

When I think about what has happened in the marketplace holistically, all of the new entrants have been focused on ‘legal disruption,’ the one issue we continue to see over and over again really comes down to the whole focus about changing the resource model. It comes down to things like the compensation model, the way resources are structured,” Mehta told Legaltech News in an interview. “The crux of what I see GCs doing on a day-to-day level is dealing with the complexity and the volume of data, which has doubled year-over-year for the past three years. The volume of data being accumulated is massive.  People are concerned about how much data there is and then how do you actually understand what is going on in their organizations.”

The issue is not simply the volume of data either; organizations are also dealing with a more complex regulatory environment that demands compliance and risk management processes that filter the masses of data being accumulated so it can be converted into knowledge, whether it’s fact development for a case or gap analysis for contract management.

Clutch provides LPO services that are custom-based and does not offer a “one-size-fits-all” service for clients, Mehta said.

“There are a number of different tools and platforms we can implement. We find the best engine and build a car around it,” he said.  “We take all of this and apply it to a large population of data to find key concepts, documents and data that help businesses in whatever they are trying to accomplish, whether it’s a litigation investigation, surveillance or contracts.”

Clutch, which was founded in 2005 by attorneys and LPO experts, offers contract lifecycle management services for corporate law departments, in addition to providing e-discovery and risk management services. The company has also made it a point to develop industry and client-specific expertise, working with clients in the financial services, life sciences, technology and energy/natural resources industries.

“Law firms have been designed from the ground up to build facts around the law. We help our clients—whether it’s a litigation investigation or compliance or mediation issues—understand their risks, and help them draft and develop knowledge in those contracts. We’ve taken tools that are already out there and we are able to get at the ‘story’ much faster for companies,” Mehta explained. “The problem is that in the traditional legal model is you have to go through six levels before you can get to that information…that doesn’t work in this environment anymore. Boards and shareholders demand more. They demand speed.”

Clutch seeks to consolidate those layers through its technology platform, and often, by partnering with law firms to help clients get through an investigation faster.

“We are never going to do the surgical work…we build the hospital and then we call the surgeons in,” is the analogy Mehta used to explain how Clutch fits into the overall litigation process. “Fines are getting larger, legal bills are getting larger, risk is getting larger and people care more today than they used to. Companies need to know who is doing what work and who should be doing what work. There isn’t one law department I have talked to in the past three years that hasn’t said that ‘what we are doing as model no longer makes sense.’ Legal departments need to have more of a culture of technology and process management and we are seeing that quite a bit.”

Law Technology News original link here.

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