This is Allens

Mary McEachern 

Mary is the Head of Review Services, a team celebrating ten years of specialising in large-scale document review, project management and legal technology.

This year, we are celebrating ten years since the Review Services team first formed at Allens. That milestone has caused me to reflect on not only my career at the firm, but the journey we have been on as a team as part of the broader Integrated Legal Solutions team.

The remit of the team has definitely changed since our first matter in 2012. That first review involved two reviewers and me with a make-shift set up in a conference room reviewing about 8,000 documents on Ringtail. Even that was a far cry from my first discovery exercise more than ten years earlier involving a first year lawyer, me, leading a large team of lawyers, a table covered with lever arch folders filled with original documents and a sticky notes to mark documents for photocopying by opposing counsel.

We're now approaching 11 million documents reviewed by hundreds of reviewers and the volume and type of data our clients have is growing exponentially, along with the remit and knowledge base of our team.

The narrative about technology and - more recently - AI, replacing people has been around for a while. However, the more we use tools such as Nuix Discover (Ringtail) and emerging legal technologies, the more we see the benefits and opportunities. Many of the tools and methodologies we have developed can apply to other challenges our clients face such as data breaches and due diligence exercises and we still need legal, technology and review experts to interpret what the technology is telling us. 

Embedding our team with lawyers and technologists means our clients benefit from a unique collaboration among those experts enabling Allens to provide more timely, accurate and cost-effective outcomes. We provide an improved career experience for our people because lawyers can direct their energy and skill to more strategic work and ILS team members get to push the boundaries of what legal technology can do.

As we look to the future, I'm excited for us to explore the emerging opportunities that we anticipate technology enabling. The incredible pace of the legal technology market allows us to diversify the work that Review Services does. Over the next 10 years we will continue to position the team to work with a broader spectrum of practice areas across the firm, minimising repetitive and process driven work and freeing our lawyers time up for the more strategic legal work they joined Allens to do. We plan on keeping our focus squarely on reducing pain points in legal practice, driving efficiencies for our clients and creating fulfilling career experiences.