Orrick is a global law firm with roots stretching all the way back to 1863 in San Francisco. It has 23 offices across North America, Europe, and Asia, throughout which it practices both transactional and litigation law across a variety of industries such as real estate, financial markets, and insurance. The law firm has dedicated itself to the completion of two goals: serving its clients while building and strengthening its institution.
As a global law firm, Orrick had documents in repositories around the world. If someone at the firm needed to access the information in one of these repositories, he would need to search each one separately until he found the document he was looking for, taking up valuable time and resources. "The document repositories are not really user friendly," says Mark Salamon, senior knowledge analyst at Orrick. "So one of the main things we wanted to accomplish was being able to search all that content at once, and also being able to search it more easily."
Vendor of Choice: Recommind
Recommind is a predictive information management software company that provides end-to-end e-discovery, enterprise search, and automatic categorization software. Though it is thought of as an enterprise search company, Recommind's VP of marketing, Craig Carpenter, says the software can really be thought of as a "concept search system." He used the word "java" as an example, explaining that Recommind's software can search the term and differentiate between the different uses of the term, making search easier and more effective.
The Problem In-Depth
Dealing with document repositories scattered across the globe on an individual basis forced Orrick employees to perform search after search, wasting valuable time. It also resulted in no small amount of frustration. "People are used to going to Google and typing something in the search box and it searching everything," says Salamon. "We wanted to mimic that kind of search behavior where you could just go to our web database and have a search box and type something in and get results."
While Orrick was looking to employ the concept of a familiar Google-style search, the way Google actually ranks relevancy would not work within different document repositories or within a corporation in general. "It's based off of how many (links) there are to any individual page," says Carpenter. "That has no bearing on relevancy at a corporation. Google won't work in a corporation situation so that's how technologies like ours became very popular."
Accuracy and efficiency are high on a law firm's list of business priorities. Carpenter says, "Lawyers and their staff need to have the right results pop up first every single time. It's not okay if the right answer is number 50 on a list of one to 100."
While Orrick was trying to increase employee efficiency and therefore profitability, Carpenter says that from Recommind's perspective, "they were ultimately trying to make sense of the information that they had internally and the information they needed externally that was growing exponentially every year."