Priori recently sat down with Julia Romero Peter, General Counsel and VP of Sales at CloudNine, to hear about how the e-discovery platform is helping companies optimize their legal operations.
What does your company, CloudNine, do?
We’re an e-discovery provider. We offer on-premise and SaaS solutions to address varying data discovery and legal discovery needs. A lot of people think of e-discovery as only litigation, but data discovery is relevant to audits, compliance, adherence to information governance and data retention protocols as well as compliance with new privacy directives coming from various countries, and not just within the EU with GDPR – Asia has a fair amount of their own rules. Believe it or not, China has stronger privacy rights than the U.S.
There are many uses for data discovery and legal discovery solutions. It applies to data throughout all parts of the enterprise – not just for dealing with litigation, government investigations or due diligence. Currently, with our acquisition of the LexisNexis’ on-premise platforms such as LAW PreDiscovery and Concordance and CloudNine’s proprietary SaaS platform we offer our clients the best of both worlds. They can pick and choose what works best for them, including a hybrid approach.
How is your company improving legal operations?
Part of legal operations is the management of data and legal discovery. One of the biggest problems this aspect of legal operations presents is the lack of clarity on the spend it is going to take to address the needs and the risks associated with mishandling data. Our software, whether SaaS or on-premise, really gives you a lot of control of your data and expenses. There are benefits to both on-premise and off-premise. With on-premise, it’s not plug-and-play, so clients will need to invest in building a team to manage and operate the software. However, clients have complete control of your data and it resides within their environment. The SaaS off-premise approach allows you to have the same efficiencies and cost clarity, but in a more cost-friendly manner without having to set up and maintain a supporting infrastructure and technical team internally.
What has your company aced in the last 12 months?
Automation, integration, and fluidity. Our tool competes in the fourth generation of e-discovery platforms. We bring automation, which empowers legal Ops and provides cost certainty.
One of the things that we’ve brought to operations teams and legal teams everywhere is fluidity. We believe that data should be fluid between platforms and we enable you to connect other platforms downstream or upstream. That is a huge improvement because often corporations and law firms can be held captive by their vendors. We don’t approach the market that way. We want to help create efficiencies and not become a roadblock. We want data to be fluid in and out of our platforms to others.
What aspect of that integration and automation is particular to the last 12 months?
The automation has been continuous over the past five years. There are a bunch of features that we’ve released this year that add additional automation to our tools. This past year we have released a collections and preservation piece that gives users the ability to preserve and collect data, in a forensically sound manner.
What have you been most surprised by in the evolution and emergence of legal operations as a field?
How long it has taken for people to realize the importance of legal operations and that it is only just now becoming something that people are focused on. Using technology in the practice of law should have been important in helping companies save money a long time ago. The law is one of the last industries to be managed as a business. It has always been a business, but managed as such. The practice of law is a service business, whether you’re talking about a law firm or a GC’s office inside a corporation servicing their internal units. I think the lack of business savviness in the law and legal education has traditionally been a real problem. It has created a culture where legal decisions don’t necessarily involve a business mindset.
What is your definition of legal operations?
I view legal operations broadly as the entire management of the legal practice, which would include contracts, technology and true AI. It can be everything from the contract management to the billing system, e-discovery and data analytics. Operations should really touch upon all those features that facilitate the practice of law within firms or within corporations.