How Seyfarth Shaw LLP Successfully Improved Calendaring Accuracy and Efficiency by Moving to American LegalNet’s Leading Docketing Platform

Success by the Numbers

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Docketing Databases Moved to a Single National Docketing Platform
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Docketing Systems Consolidated to One
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Offices Unified by an Efficient National Docketing Team

Challenges

Solutions

Results

  • Lack of firm wide docketing visibility increased the risk of calendaring errors
  • Siloed docketing data made reporting cumbersome
  • IT resources stretched managing multiple platforms
  • Clerk onboarding, training, and efficiency needed to be improved
  • Evaluate and select a single docketing solution
  • Consolidated all docketing data into single database
  • Train clerks on docketing and reporting procedures
  • Improved efficiency by unifying and centralizing docketing databases supporting a national docketing team
  • Gained visibility to litigation activities across all offices
  • Clerk and IT resources are more efficient and the risk of calendaring errors has been reduced

At Seyfarth, we are religious about our docketing. We chose eDockets because of the breadth of its court system capability. eDockets has the largest and most complete national court database and this was a 'must have' to allow us to consolidate docketing in the U.S.

CIO Andy Jurczyk at Seyfarth Shaw

Thinking Big

Seyfarth Shaw LLP (“Seyfarth”) is dedicated to core principles of value, innovation and eficiency when providing global legal services to clients. These priorities inform the firm’s technology decisions as well.

In recent years, Seyfarth faced a significant challenge with its U.S. docketing solution. The firm was using 3 different docketing solutions: CompuLaw, MA3000 and JuraLaw. CompuLaw was installed in 8 offices with a total of 7 databases since Seyfarth’s Los Angeles offices shared a database. With one database each, MA3000 was used in New York only and JuraLaw in Chicago only. Thus, in total, Seyfarth maintained 9 different docketing databases across its American offices. From both a risk and efficiency standpoint, maintaining so many products and systems was not sustainable.

Seyfarth set out to find a national docketing system to centralize their docketing across all jurisdictions and eliminate risk. Several leaders at the firm spearheaded the evaluation process including Director of Risk Management Beth Faircloth, CIO Andy Jurczyk, Director of Practice Services George Kaytor, and National Docketing Manager Arthur Aguilar who had just recently been hired to oversee the widespread docketing team.

The goal was to find technology that would allow Seyfarth to preserve and consolidate all docketing data with a single software solution. The team evaluated several products and eDockets quickly emerged as the only truly national docketing system that had a substantive rules inventory managed by its own internal staff, with court data feeds from New York, Illinois and Delaware Chancery courts.

Since no other solution could compete with eDockets, Seyfarth unanimously selected it. The firm purchased eDockets but their work had just begun. To convert 9 databases and 3 different platforms into a single unified eDockets system was a formidable job.

American LegalNet (ALN) set forth a plan for the massive conversion project. Working in tandem with Seyfarth’s docketing staff, the ALN team would execute several seperate conversions over a period of time. In each instance, ALN had to script one field at a time, export the docketing data from the incumbent system, and then map the data to match standard eDockets fields. Then the data had to be cleaned and de-duplicated before it was imported into eDockets.

For each of the 9 database conversions, there were 4 seperate passes for each to ensure quality. For each database, the ALN team did:

We needed a system that would allow us to beefficient and focused, centralizing our database and concentrating the efforts of a national dockeitng team. eDockets was the most sophisticated product available; it could pull data from courts in all American jurisdictions including New York City and Chicago, and also had a strong rules-based background. Edockets had all the features we were looking for and no other product could match it.

Director of Risk Management Beth Faircloth at Seyfarth Shaw

Enabling Update Workflows

Since no other solution could compete with eDockets, Seyfarth unanimously selected it. The firm purchased eDockets but their work had just begun. To convert 9 databases and 3 different platforms into a single unified eDockets system was a formidable job.

American LegalNet (ALN) set forth a plan for the massive conversion project. Working in tandem with Seyfarth’s docketing staff, the ALN team would execute several separate conversions over a period of time. In each instance, ALN had to script one field at a time, export the docketing data from the incumbent system, and then map the data to match standard eDockets fields. Then the data had to be cleaned and de-duplicated before it was imported into eDockets.

For each of the 9 database conversions, there were 4 seperate passes for each to ensure quality. For each database, the ALN team did:

1. An initial “trial run” conversion

2. A cleaning-up conversion

3. A near-final conversion

4. The final conversion

Each final conversion was done over a single weekend. The Seyfarth office’s docketing operation was shut down at noon on Friday so no new docketing data would be added while the conversion occurred. Seyfarth’s end-users were trained on eDockets on Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, the ALN team worked with Seyfarth’s staff to begin the conversions which extended from Friday afternoon through Saturday and Sunday. By Monday morning, eDockets was up and running at the office, without fail. In total, 9 conversions were completed, one per weekend, over a 9-month period.

The New York City office conversion was first, and the docketing data was extracted from MA3000. Then the CompuLaw conversions came next with Boston and Washington D.C. databases going first, then Houston and Atlanta, and finally California’s Los ANgeles, Sacramento and San Francisco databases. Both the MA3000 and CompuLaw conversions went smoothly, but the last and most complicated conversion was in Chicago from JuraLaw. ALN had to export the data manually, one spreadsheet at a time, which was a cumbersome and time-intensive process. ALN effectively executed all of the data conversions; then Seyfarth’s docketing team cleaned the data within 224 hours, removing duplicates and errors to make sure each entry was valid.

"The conversion to eDockets had to be perfect - and it was. We literally had no issues. We do a lot of implementations with a lot of vendors and it was a pleasure working with American LegalNet. Their workflow and customer service is solid and the work was delivered on time and on budget. Also, their team was respectful, attentive and easy to do business with. We are very impressed with their ability and quality. I would recommend American LegalNet and eDockets, and I can't say that about just anybody."

CIO Andy Jurczyk at Seyfarth Shaw

The end-users at Seyfarth responded favorably to eDockets. From the lawyers’ perspective, there was virtually no learning curve because the docketing dates were seamlessly added to their Outlook calendars. The docketing staff was technically savvy so they learned eDockets quickly. Since many of the docketing team had been part of the selection process, including their leader Arthur Aguilar, they were already on board to use eDockets.

Transforming our docketing system to a unified national platform was a big challenge, but American LegalNet did an incredible job. We are now using our resources much more efficiently with less risk. American LegalNet is very receptive to new ideas so we are continually working with them on some future plans for docketing. Seyfarth's conversion to eDockets was definitely a worthwhile experience. The benefits are already paying off as we support a large litigation caseload, from coast to coast.

Director of Risk Management Beth Faircloth at Seyfarth Shaw