Practice Technology

How client service has changed with emergence of generative artificial intelligence

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Ari Kaplan

Ari Kaplan. (Photo by Tori Soper)

Ari Kaplan recently spoke with Jamie Berry, the president of Evolver Legal Services, an e-discovery and litigation support services company.

They discussed how client service has changed with the emergence of generative artificial intelligence, the most common challenges that legal teams face in litigation, and the evolution of the practice of law.

Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your background and your role at Evolver Legal Services.

Jamie Berry: I got my start in e-discovery fresh out of law school in 2001. It was a temporary opportunity in what would later become DLA Piper’s litigation support group. We used summation to code and search medical records for a large class action matter. I became the firm’s litigation support manager and have served in various leadership roles at small and large ALSPs before becoming president of Evolver Legal Solutions, managing the entire business. It’s been a great ride.

Ari Kaplan: What distinguishes Evolver’s approach to e-discovery?

Jamie Berry: Evolver takes a novel approach to e-discovery and legal services in general. It has a Back to the Future style in which our focus and commitment are on creating a client-service-centric partnership, where we strive to drive our clients towards outcomes. In the process, we optimize speed, cost, accuracy and security to drive greater efficiencies. Our differentiator in a crowded marketplace is the wealth of expertise that our team brings to each case, coupled with the company’s white-glove concierge approach of listening to its clients and prioritizing collaboration.

Jamie Berry headshot Jamie Berry is the president of Evolver Legal Services, an e-discovery and litigation support services company.

Ari Kaplan: How has client service changed in an era of emerging generative AI?

Jamie Berry: AI has helped client service incorporate validation and collaboration into the engagement. It really makes each matter similar to a car with two steering wheels, where we are driving alongside our clients. They are now empowered to stop or redirect when necessary. While this can create unrealistic expectations for a silver bullet solution, it becomes an iterative process incorporating testing and confirmation to ensure accuracy, similar to the early days of analytics in e-discovery.

Ari Kaplan: What are the most common challenges your clients are facing in litigation?

Jamie Berry: The common challenge is doing more quickly with less, which has been confirmed for over 25 years in this industry. We are rapidly managing more data, new data types, additional security regulations and complex privacy concerns in an era of instant gratification and tighter timelines. We also seem to perpetually lack sufficient funding and human capital. So we must creatively develop solutions to address these needs by being innovative and appropriately deploying the right technology. You must be ready to fail fast, own those failures and pivot. You have to lead with client service and transparency to avoid any impression of using a mysterious black box approach.

Ari Kaplan: How has leadership in legal shifted?

Jamie Berry: The pandemic represented a turning point in leadership, particularly for legal. With a larger remote workforce, finding, maintaining and managing talent has been challenging. Professionals must complete more work quickly while balancing increased caregiver or child care responsibilities. There are also new disciplines to understand, with more professionals working in legal operations and procurement, who have a more influential role in the buying decision. Indeed, with all the M&A we’ve seen over the past few years, executives must speak a board’s language and be able to market a business, rather than market a service.

Ari Kaplan: What skills are most important for your team members today?

Jamie Berry: The soft skills of working with people, communicating effectively and demonstrating the highest levels of client service are crucial. It is vital to understand how to infuse technology into solutions that address the legal ramifications of a matter. Privacy and data security are also skills one must hone to succeed in this market. From a business development standpoint, being flexible and adapting your approach to the objectives of the procurement team is essential.

Ari Kaplan: How do you see the practice of law evolving?

Jamie Berry: More law firms are running like businesses, so lawyers must understand that they are not just service providers or legal experts. They are business owners and need to know how to run an effective and efficient practice, which can only exist with technology. In my class at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, I focus on empowering students to become dynamic litigators and demystifying the use of legal technology to support their clients. Hopefully, we can change the paradigm in legal education to help students hone their practical skills, business acumen and tech awareness.

Listen to the complete interview at Reinventing Professionals.

Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change and introduce new technology at his blog and on iTunes.

This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.

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