As one of the leading property management companies in North America, FirstService knows how to stay on the cutting edge. Indeed, passion for “being the best at what we do” is at the core of FirstService’s values and what drives its unrivaled experience, dedication, and innovation, across more than 8,000 properties and 16,000 associates.
But when it came to handling third-party subpoenas, discovery, and investigations, FirstService had fallen behind. A largely manual approach left their team overburdened and struggling to meet deadlines. Then Alison Shaw joined the company’s legal department as a litigation paralegal. “I knew there was a better way,” she says. And she set about finding it.
Within two months, Shaw had transformed FirstService’s approach to subpoena response, discovery, and investigations with Logikcull, cutting down the time needed to collect, review, and produce documents by 200% — and making sure FirstService’s legal team remained “the best at what we do.”
Like many in-house legal departments, FirstService’s subpoena response and discovery process was originally quite manual. When a subpoena or request for production would come in, their IT team would pull documents and the legal department would review them natively. The process was slow, and often left the team scrambling to make deadlines. The overwhelming workload would often leave the team months behind and force them to seek extensions — increasing their costs and exposing them to additional risk.
The process was unsustainable. The frequency of subpoenas and litigation was increasing, impacting court deadlines and forcing the team to spend money on avoidable motion practice. One of Shaw’s first tasks was to find a better way for the department to handle these tasks — without requiring significant expenditures or extensive training.
“I knew there was software out there that could help us do this,” Shaw explains, and she quickly partnered with her IT and procurement team to help bring it on board. In under six months, they had surveyed the market, completed a trial, and selected Logikcull to help transform their subpoena response and discovery process.
“Logikcull seemed intuitive, simple, easy to teach people who had never used eDiscovery software,” Shaw explains. “It gives us everything we need, without giving us too much more that would complicate the issue.”
With the right technology in place, the time required to respond to subpoenas and requests for production dropped drastically. What took two to three weeks before could now be handled in under a week, including collection, review, and production. That process, which covers review for privileged, confidentiality, proprietary information, and responsiveness, originally required four or more team members. Now it can be handled just by two — and often by Shaw herself.
Those time and cost savings have remained significant even as the volume of work facing FirstService’s legal department has increased. Historically, the team faced two to five matters a month. Today, they are handling ten to 15, a three-fold increase, with the average matter involving 22 GB of data and over 250,000 distinct documents. Despite growing matter frequency and increasing data size, Shaw can upload her documents to Logikcull, where they are automatically processed and ready for review in a median time of just 15 minutes.
“We can get things done much faster now,” Shaw says. “We’re timely. We don’t need to ask for extensions and when we do they are reasonable and we can make them.”
With Logikcull, Shaw and her team can quickly cull through their documents using built-in features to key in on sender or recipient domains. “That is incredibly powerful for weeding through documents very quickly,” Shaw says. Repeat tags, searching by parents, and family-level tagging also accelerate the process. “The biggest benefits,” Shaw explains, “come from reducing the number of documents we have to look at.”
As their success with subpoenas and discovery responses has grown, so too has the department’s reputation. “Because we have Logikcull,” Shaw says, “we are able to help out other teams facing similar challenges, because we have the right tools.”