How ought law organizations respond to the radical changes in the business environment wrought by COVID-19 over the past several weeks? Not only has work-from-home become “the new normal,” but law firms and law departments also face an uncertain and potentially dismal business outlook. The confluence of these factors–a new paradigm for work coupled with an extremely challenging economic environment–means law organizations must act quickly and effectively to optimize their operational productivity.

When understood in this way, the current moment becomes, as odd as it may sound, an opportunity–a chance to deploy technology and services that markedly boost how fast and efficiently law organizations perform. The COVID-19 crisis will not last forever and changes made today have the potential to pay dividends long into the future. Law firms and law departments should accordingly look to institute flexible solutions that allow them to adjust to the conditions as conditions evolve.

Document review presents itself as a promising opportunity for increased productivity. The use of reviews is widespread and typically involves significant overhead–so gains in productivity in conducting document reviews translate into substantial savings. Already, Elevate customers have seen impressive results from adopting Elevate’s virtual document review offering. For example, the first round of metrics we’ve seen (from work we do for a large investment bank) shows a 22% increase in productivity since transitioning to work-from-home. This would be an impressive achievement under any circumstances.

With social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place directives now widespread, many–indeed, most–law organizations must adapt by adopting virtual workspaces to replace on-site reviews. Yet, decision-makers at some firms and law departments may nevertheless feel hesitant about making the transition. Typically, their concerns fall into one of two domains: concerns about supervising reviewers and concerns about confidentiality and security, particularly from an IT perspective.

Elevate’s virtual document review capabilities address both of these concerns robustly. To ensure reviewer productivity, Elevate provides reviewer progress and productivity metrics in the same manner as with an office-based review. This ensures that supervising attorneys can maintain the same level of vigilance and responsiveness as when physically present for an on-site review. Additionally, Elevate enables multiple daily team meetings by video to help ensure reviewers are well-informed and working together as a unified team.

Elevate’s virtual review capabilities leverage multiple measures and technologies to ensure confidentiality and security. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Elevate’s reviewers were already subject to background screening and required to sign an NDA as a condition of employment. Reviewers must also complete mandatory security training. On the IT side, Elevate enforces a plethora of security controls on all associates’ computers, including anti-malware software, full-disk encryption, and two-factor authentication, as well as software versioning requirements to ensure reviewers are running up-to-date operating systems and software packages. In addition, access to internal Elevate resources requires a VPN connection. Additional controls are in place as well, such as restricting access to secure browser-based connections as a way to prevent the propagation of malware from client to server. Many customers also choose to restrict access to a remote desktop configuration.

The current crisis forces law firms and law departments to confront a new operational reality in which improvements in productivity have become crucial for the survival of legal organizations. Boosting the efficiency and speed of operations is no longer optional. Virtual document reviews should be a prime target for such efforts. Elevate’s virtual document review offering has proven to be a game-changer. For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, it represents a vital capability for any law organization engaged in such reviews.