As we enter the reality of many businesses working remotely over the coming weeks (and possibly months), it’s important to remember the extent to which technology has already augmented several aspects of our work and how much can still be executed in a remote work situation by applying available technologies and relevant workflows. Below are some of the technologies enabling lawyers specifically to work remotely – and efficiently – with surprising ease.
Originally developed to streamline the management of documents during discovery, eDiscovery technology can be applied to various other situations (regulatory response, investigations, incident response, simple document organisation, etc.) to remotely manage documents and teams. Using these tools provides a few key advantages to lawyers and in-house teams alike:
Increased Security: There has been an uptick in criminals looking to take advantage of businesses and individuals working remotely. As an example, ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is aware of a COVID-19—themed scam being distributed via text message in recent weeks. If hackers gain access, then both client and personal data can be compromised. eDiscovery tools such as Relativity mitigate this risk through sophisticated security restrictions when sharing files or collaborating on a case as a team.
Team Collaboration: eDiscovery tools can be seen as simply a review platform for documents in a case; however, they also offer a centralised collaboration platform. All data is in one place, sorted by tags and other filters, with users having the ability to send files and add comments, annotations, redactions, highlights and more. Using such a tool removes the need for multiple platforms and email chains whilst providing an audit trail for full accountability.
Data-Driven Decisions: Teams will experience difficulties with workload management and progress tracking whilst they are away from their offices. eDiscovery and progress management tools like Telescope provide real-time data that can be used by leaders to track progress and allocate resources based on the team’s workload. Remote document review is an easy task for lawyers to undertake from their home offices, but without eDiscovery tools providing a platform for dividing the documents and tracking progress, it would be an extremely challenging workflow to manage.
Alongside eDiscovery, there are many traditionally face-to-face services that can easily be handled from a remote location using technology.
Forensics: Having a forensic expert on-site to perform a collection is a seamless task with minimal need for additional assistance. However, by providing access to a computer with administrative rights and plugging devices into a remote collection kit, a forensic analyst can connect remotely, image the locations needed and defensibly collect data. This process proves incredibly efficient and is actually TLS’s preferred approach to the majority of forensic collections.
Hearings: Court proceedings, mediations and arbitrations can also be handled remotely with software like TLS’s Video Link and Exhibits App. Participants dial in remotely through video link from any device with an internet connection. Documents are shared securely online and can be accessed in seconds, enlarged, annotated and submitted on record. Live transcripts are also integrated, with remote transcription being a very real and possible alternative to having a court reporter on-site.
Continuous Education: Remote working means that a lot of us will have more free time due to less in-person meetings and travel. This is a great opportunity to increase our knowledge base and get a jump on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points for the year ahead. CPD and continuous learning courses can be easily accessed through platforms on a subscription basis (such as GO1, one of TLS’s partners). With over 60,000 relevant subjects to choose from, classroom or on-site presentations will begin to become a lot less appealing.
Even before the recent health crisis, organisational trends suggested that remote or flexible working conditions would soon become the norm, as more firms and corporations look to hire millennials and younger generations that demand flexible work schedules and environments. This doesn’t mean, however, that workforces will become any less efficient. In fact, with the use of technology, it may actually mean workplaces of the future look very different – and are even more efficient – than those of today.
For more information on TLS and how we can support your remote work environment, please visit our website here.