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Baker McKenzie's Dispute Resolution Team Saves Time and Money on Document Review

  • Law Firms

Global legal powerhouse Baker McKenzie’s dispute resolution team is an international group with a singular vision. Their goal is to maintain the same high standards in dispute resolution, regardless of country or region.

Senior Associate Estefania Contreras works principally with international arbitrations in Baker McKenzie’s Bogotá, Colombia office. In this region, document review comes with unique challenges. “The document production phases that I work with,” Contreras explains, “are related to what a tribunal decides and that the parties agree to.” The process is heavily dependent on what a tribunal wishes to see, as opposed to a more generalized approach you might find in the U.S. or other countries. “Colombian domestic litigation doesn’t have this procedure of document production or discovery,” she adds. “It’s something that is more related to arbitrations.”

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Epiq does the review and manages that process to reduce the number of documents that the firm’s lawyers will have to review,This saves huge amounts of time and money.

Saving costs and increasing efficiency

The firm’s dispute resolution team uses Epiq to complete first-level review of potentially relevant documents. “Epiq does the review and manages that process to reduce the number of documents that the firm’s lawyers will have to review,” Contreras says. This saves huge amounts of time and money. “Two things would happen without a team to handle that first-level review and manage all that process,” she says. “First, the hours from firm’s lawyers would increase significantly, and second, the time the lawyers would spend completing the review instead of working the cases would reduce efficiency.”

Her first impression of working with Epiq involved a comparatively small case of 12,000 documents. But after Epiq’s review, the firm’s lawyers only had only 2000 of those 12,000 to review. It was easy to imagine the time and cost savings on cases that had ten times or even one-hundred times more volume.

Epiq got it done. They really worked with us on that review and helped us with dynamic searches. And that also made the review from McKenzie’s lawyer team faster and easier.

Meeting region-specific needs

Having worked with other vendors who had difficulty meeting the dispute resolution team’s requirements, Contreras has nothing but praise for Epiq’s ability to listen to their needs, ask questions to ensure accurate communication, and meet the standards agreed upon.

“In this kind of document production,” she explains,” it can be very important to have everything divided in requests. Sometimes, that’s not easy. It’s going to be easier to have all the documents reviewed without dividing the documents in subdivisions. And some Relativity vendors don’t recommend dividing the documents, or just don’t do it. However,

because this was an international arbitration, the counterparty made requests by number, and the arbitration tribunal ordered their requests by number. That means we have to divide the discovery documents accordingly. It’s very important to be focused and to produce only the documents that have been ordered in the requests by the tribunal. Epiq got it done. They really worked with us on that review and helped us with dynamic searches. And that also made the review from McKenzie’s lawyer team faster and easier.”

Another wrinkle in the document production for this case was the handling of privileged and confidential documents. Clients do not have to produce documents that are privileged or contain confidential information. “There are two ways Epiq helped us with that,” says Contreras.“ One, was to produce the documents with redactions.” Epiq worked with Baker McKenzie to develop a system of tags that identified redactions as privilege redactions, commercial confidentiality redactions, or technical confidentiality redactions.

“The other way Epiq helped,” she continues, “was with what are called privilege logs. Documents that have to be protected entirely have to be listed on such a log. However, there is no set template; the tribunal can order a privilege log in different ways, with different specifications. The Epic team helped us so we could make the privilege log according to the tribunal’s procedural orders.”

Adding value through flexibility and proactivity

Working within the tight deadlines common in arbitration, Contreras values Epiq’s flexibility. “There was surprise from my team,” she recalls, “because all of us have worked with other companies, and they were not as open to comments or instructions, or they complained about it. But it didn’t happen with Epiq.

They were also pleased and surprised by Epiq’s proactivity. “The Epiq team was proposing ways to speed the review and make it more efficient for us,” Contreras states. “Their expertise in Relativity was a real benefit. They know what is more efficient, how to do things faster in the second-level review—that was the review from the lawyers. I think that was very nice. Working with us to improve part of the process that didn’t even directly involve them—that was a first for one of our vendors. That’s why I gave them a 10 out of 10 satisfaction score.”

The dispute resolution department’s feelings toward Epiq were capsulized when they realized a case had far more documents than they had anticipated. “When we realized that,” Contreras says, “we didn’t know how we were going to manage. Before Epiq entered the picture, we were worried. But once Epiq arrived, everything was good.”