Originally published on relativity.com
Australian-based icourts employs a unique approach to support their clients and help them combat their challenges: the firm takes on dual roles as a solutions provider and developer.
With a team dedicated to data hosting and management, they know firsthand the types of issues that may arise with client matters.
“We have a robust understanding of the challenges our clients face so we can respond to them effectively and quickly,” said icourts’ Director of Evidence Management.
Best of Both Worlds
Being a boutique provider arms icourts with a competitive advantage over the bigger players out there, according to Matt. Because of their size, they can get in the weeds with clients on their challenges and can develop more targeted solutions to their issues.
“We are in constant communication with our clients,” Matt said. “They are looking to us to educate them about their case as well as industry trends and standards, such as evidence management and the EDRM.”
icourts take a two-pronged approach to navigating client challenges. Matt and his team have in-depth conversations with their clients about their case and any roadblocks impeding efficiency.
“Often, clients may have manual processes in place which eat up a lot of time,” Matt added. “Our team will go to them and say: ‘Why don’t we sit down and figure out what we can do to make this more efficient?’”
After Matt and his team consult their clients, they loop in their developers on whether a challenge requires a custom solution.
Teaming up with their developers is essential in making processes more efficient for clients. For example, the icourts team recognises that manual tasks often slow down a workflow.
“It is often the simple tasks that get overlooked from a technology perspective,” said icourts’ Director of Development Solutions Tony Chan
To improve efficiency, icourts’ development arm will examine clients’ processes to identify ones that are time-consuming, monotonous, and manual.
“Those are the areas that are ripe for a custom development solution,” Tony added. “We help clients automate the tedious.”
Often, icourts will identify technology solutions to clients’ issues when they are in the trenches to meet tight court deadlines. In one instance, the team noticed clients were spending a disproportionate amount of time hyperlinking back to reference documents when creating a witness statement or case outline.
“After the document was hyperlinked, it then had to undergo a second and even third round of checking as there were often many errors,” Matt said. “Amending the witness statement in the final hour created a huge amount of stress for our clients.”
To remove that stress, icourts developed Hyperlinx. The app automatically adds hyperlinks to these documents, which in turn, mitigates human error and saves time.
Moving Onwards and Upwards
Since first eyeing the development space in 2017, icourts now has big plans on the horizon. They have made their development arm an outward-facing function and create solutions for other service providers.
“We want to share our ideas, instead of only making them available in our own instance,” Matt said. “I believe forward-thinking firms like us will start developing and sharing their ideas with the larger community to show their commitment to solving client problems.”
icourts is not only solving challenges on a client-by-client basis, they are also looking to solve a pain point impacting courtrooms throughout Australia and beyond. Before a trial, case teams go through the entire EDRM cycle, reviewing and subsequently producing documents within an e-discovery platform.
When it comes time for trial, they use a less eco-friendly method to showcase relevant documents, often printing thousands of pages of paper to hand over to the court.
“One printing company here printed 8 million pages just for litigation in one year,” Matt explained. “We want to find a way of using Relativity to let jurors review documents in the platform during trial—and save some trees in the process.”
The idea to view trial documents in Relativity resulted from a conversation icourts had with a client. Per Australian regulations, juries can only access documents once both sides have discovered it, had legal arguments, and listed them as an exhibit.
Then, both sides often have to put these exhibits into physical files for the juries to access, which can be cumbersome for case teams.
“One client came to us saying this process was very difficult to manage; they had a large set of documents and they were constantly having to turn over documents to put into physical folders for these juries,” Matt said.
Instead of dealing with the chaos that erupts from last minute changes, icourts is working on a simpler, more streamlined workflow: doing everything in Relativity.
“The time savings factor is massive. If one side needed to show a document, they could grant permission to a user in Relativity and they can review it on the fly,” Tony said. “If someone comes up on the third day of the trial with a document request, you don’t need people running madly around to make copies. It will all be digitised.”
icourts is in the ideation phase of this process now, but they are excited to see the idea become a reality to make the lives of case teams that much more manageable in the courtroom. The firm’s innovative mindset is accomplishing this objective—improving client processes—through their many custom applications.
“The industry is evolving; our innovations will help our clients meet challenges—like security and information governance—head on,” Matt said.