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Leading Law Firm Builds Search-Based Apps Across Practices

The Customer

Based in New York with 22 offices worldwide, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (“Skadden”) has approximately 1,700 attorneys and more than 50 distinct areas of practice. Skadden is one of the largest, most prestigious and highest-grossing law firms in the world.

The Challenge

During the past 10 years, economic uncertainties and geopolitical challenges have increased competition among legal services providers globally. The pressure to do more with less has forced a growing number of law firms to assess how technology solutions can help them perform more effectively and more efficiently.

One of the biggest challenges facing Skadden’s law practitioners in recent years has been retrieving information from many different collections and sources, both internally and externally. Across the geographically distributed firm, thousands of lawyers need to find information and expertise – quickly and on a regular basis – that is buried within millions of documents spread over multiple silos within the organization. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that some of the highest value information is locked behind the so-called “ethics wall” and only accessible by partners at the firm.

The Solution

To overcome this challenge, Skadden developed an experience finding application using Sinequa’s Cognitive Search & Analytics, which canvasses and makes sense of millions of records and documents including attorney biographies, legal matters, time notes, and more to suggest attorneys with relevant expertise based on matter information and other legal accomplishments.

Our firm has leveraged Sinequa’s search and analytics platform to build an effective system for identifying our experience from millions of records and documents including attorney biographies, matter summaries, billing information and more.

Harris Tilevitz Skadden's CTO

One notable but subtle aspect of this application concerns security, specifically the platform’s ability to include restricted content in the computation underlying the application without revealing the restricted content to unauthorized users. This gives Skadden the best of both worlds, i.e. the ability to leverage high-value sensitive information to connect experts across the organization while at the same time enforcing access controls and protecting restricted content.

The Outcome

The production solution enables partners to assemble teams of expert attorneys very quickly and accurately by incorporating explicit traits like seniority and experience, along with implicit and arguably more objective traits automatically surfaced from documents and records spread across the organization.

As the competitive global market for legal services increases the pressure on Skadden to sustain its historic success as one of the world’s leading law firms, there is no doubt they will continue to find progressive ways to leverage their information assets and build upon the cognitive search & analytics foundation now in place.