Winter 2019 Editorial

Hello, I’m Stephen Cole, Director of Strategy and Client Technology, at Mattern. Welcome to the 2019 Winter edition of Mattern Matters.

Moving the Needle – the Evolution of Law Firm Operations

Here at Mattern, we continue to see the evolution of law firm back and middle office operations (and are fortunate to help lead the charge with many of our law firm clients).  As such, numerous developments have occurred in the procurement of equipment and legal business services, and the various service delivery models (in-house, outsourced, hybrid, etc.) available to firms to address their growing needs of cost-effective innovation.

In this edition, Mattern will touch on a few key points from recent client engagements related to the procurement of equipment, implementation of information governance programs, service delivery and cost recovery modeling specific to E-Discovery, as well as examining the financial benefits of implementing an information governance program and listing negotiation rules for off-site storage contracts.

Necessary Changes – A View on Information Governance Needs

Mattern continues to work with firms implementing information governance. Firms are now willing to address electronic management of information, align user behavior with firm systems, and recognize that the proper disposition of electronic records is essential. This requires a change in mindset to “electronic first” outlined in policy documents, identification of the disparate data locations including e-mail, network shares, and document management, and the willingness to manage workflow to increase visibility, apply necessary access control, and achieve policy compliance including purging of electronic information.

In light of these efforts, off-site storage contracts must be renegotiated so firms can draw down on legacy paper holdings in a cost-effective manner.  Unfortunately, for years firms have only worried about storage rates and have not examined the charges for destruction or permanent withdrawal from their off-site providers.  As we find with most of our firms on the information governance voyage, this is a longer-term program (not a project) requiring change management techniques, milestones, and stakeholder buy-in.

What’s Gaining Traction?

Specific to E-Discovery, Mattern has assisted several firms with cost recovery and procurement modeling to address modern service delivery methodologies involving complex web-based systems (with analytics) and the explosion in data storage. There is no “one solution fits all” approach as solutions include on-premises, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), full Managed Service, and hybrid models. Antiquated hourly billing models need to be reconsidered in scale with the costs in systems and storage required for large E-Discovery matters (whether in-house or outsourced).

Centralization of document processing continues to grow; firms are consolidating operations to a lower cost location or turning to an outsourced partner.  Benefits include labor savings, expanded service coverage hours, consistency in quality, and the overall creation of a Center of Excellence to support national and global firm locations.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Mattern Matters, specifically the related case studies, whereby Mattern assisted peer firms improve the quality of their operations in the most cost-effective manner (whether in-house or outsourced).  As always, if any of these areas (or others related to law firm back and middle-office operations) raise questions for your firm, please do not hesitate to reach out to see how we can assist you on your firm’s journey.

Check out the full winter 2019 Mattern Matters here.