Travers Smith saves up to $5K per legal case

Applying a highly secure, unlimited data model to a 200+ year-old firm

travers smith
Travers Smith
INDUSTRY

Professional services


COMPANY SIZE

1,000+ employees


YEAR FOUNDED

1810

KEY USE CASES

Contract management

Client onboarding

Project planning


PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS

Box Shield

Box Governance

Box Platform

$4-5K

savings over legal-specfic data rooms

1 of 15

most innovative firms in Europe

0 to 600

seats in just 1.5 years

CHALLENGE
  • The firm's legacy content platform made it challenging for partners and clients to submit documents for review

  • The firm was shipping the U.K. courts large bundles of paper documents for in-person hearings — a tedious, expensive, time-consuming approach

  • Securing sensitive client data was paramount, and the firm needed to step up its approach to content management in the virtual post-pandemic era

OUTCOME
  • The Content Cloud granted Travers Smith a robust, secure enterprise technology that looks like a consumer technology, so non-technical employees and clients can jump right into using it

  • With strict, automatic retention policies, and Box Shield's ability to minimize the attack surface, sensitive legal content is better protected

  • Paper documents, memory drives, and storage devices have gone the way of pre-pandemic times, with the company now able to operate virtually

Putting a premium on content accessibility and security  

When a corporate law firm is over 200 years old, the first word you think of to describe it might not be "innovative." Yet, in the case of Travers Smith, you'd be wrong to assume the company is rooted in old-fashioned ideas. In fact, Travers Smith, headquartered in London with additional offices in Paris, was recently ranked as one of the "Top 15 most innovative law firms in Europe" by the FT Innovative Lawyers Report.

 

In early 2020, the company implemented the Content Cloud, led by Shawn Curran, Head of Legal Technology at the firm, who oversees legal products, e-discovery, and engineering. This broad scope of responsibility means Curran has a hand in everything from off-the-shelf legal products to software products built specifically for attorneys. Curran is also in charge of document review within the litigation practice as part of his e-discovery role. His team manages plenty of disparate workflows, and in consultation with the eDiscovery team, they ultimately made the decision to move to Box and send both content and workflows into the Content Cloud.

 

Curran led the transformation to Box as the primary method for collaboration in any and all cases that require document sharing, including data rooms for M&A dealmaking, sharing court bundles, and so much more.

It was very obvious to us that Box was clearly a tech-leading company based on the maturity of their developer portals and their API capabilities.

— Shawn Curran, Head of Legal Technology, Travers Smith

From challenging UI capabilities to seamless content management

When Curran decided to move the company from legacy content-management technology to Box, one of the biggest drivers was the ease of use Box provides. "We call it the enterprise technology that looks like a consumer technology," he says, "and that's obviously perfect when working with non-technical audiences. Box is just a really straightforward platform to use. The minute you open it up, you know exactly what every function is, what every button is. It just makes sense."

 

What this looks like in practice can be subtle but profound. For instance, the legacy technology had buttons that were confusing for clients, who couldn't easily figure out how to perform basic functions like uploading a document. For this and similar reasons, people weren't using legacy technology the way it was designed. Instead, they were practicing shadow IT — finding other consumer apps and even using email to share content. An impossible paradigm to govern. With Box, the file-sharing request process is clear and simple, which makes it very easy for non-technical audiences to use. This is key, because sharing data with clients is integral to workflows for Travers Smith.

 

For three main reasons, the Content Cloud makes work more efficient for Travers Smith, and the customer and employee experience much better. With Box, Curran's team can:

 

  • Prioritize protecting client and expert witness content and data
  • Ensure ease of collaboration between various internal and external stakeholders
  • Create a more hands-on, yet somewhat automated method of content governance

 

With over 600 internal users now onboarded with Box, the Content Cloud is not just a software tool; it's a culture. Most of the legal practice groups and the business services teams use it. A lot of this growth happened in an organic way from the company's initial 300 seats, which were full within the first two months of adopting Box. From there, more and more employees were added as it became clear that content management was simply working better in Box. And, of course, it was more secure.

 

Box security at the ready

In the legal industry, there's a growing concern around cyber hacks and security issues. In just the last few years, there have been a handful of high-profile data leaks at law firms. Curran's philosophy on content security is to always use the most conservative approach:

 

  • All content is subject to short retention policies
  • No “god” access to content; instead, service accounts per folder
  • Configuration of the most pessimistic security options

 

Box enabled all of that with a security posture and reputation that put Curran's mind at ease. He says, "One of the real benefits was that Box didn't sell security as an add-on. It is actually embedded into the core product. We really like the approach from Box, which was that security comes first, content comes second."

 

Travers Smith teams use particular features of Box that are indispensable in this way. For instance, with Box Shield, they create behavioral AI analytics that detect anomalous behaviour. If a folder is created to share data with a client, but the client is accessing the content in that folder in an uncharacteristic or suspicious way, the risk team automatically knows to investigate. "Out of the box," Curran says, "AI anomalous behavior detection of Shield is vitally important to us, and we leverage that."

 

Travers Smith also enacts the strictest password protocol so that any content sent via Box must be password-protected. Any documents sent that break those rules are automatically deleted — just an extra layer of protection to stop sensitive material from being inadvertently disclosed. Curran says, "For me, Box isn't a content platform, it's a security platform. And then, once you buy the security capability, you also get the content capability."

 

Better governance with $4-5K savings per case

"When we rolled out Box in our litigation practice," says Curran, "we were able to then collaborate and share content with courts much more easily and effectively, and clients were able to share data with us on a digital basis much more securely." But as important as security is, governance is equally critical to a legal firm. Box Governance provides advanced content controls so Travers Smith can retain documents for as long as legally required and then automatically delete them.

 

Strictly enforced retention policies keep Travers Smith's content from ballooning out of control, but by its very nature, content still expands. So the unlimited data model the company has with Box eliminates the concern of having to charge platform storage costs back to clients. When a client uploads a gigabyte or even a terabyte of content at once, it doesn't pose a problem. This lets Travers Smith get on with what’s important: providing their clients with legal service.

 

Box is extremely cost-effective in comparison to other data room technologies — to the extent that the firm nets an additional $4,000 to $5,000 per legal case per year, with around 40 or 50 cases annually.

Travers Smith

 

The magic of good timing

The Box implementation just happened to coincide with the beginning of the pandemic, which was inadvertently timely. Curran says, "We often worry that the legacy system might not have coped with what our needs would have been through the pandemic. So, the timing was fantastic."

 

Prior to COVID, as just one example, Travers Smith would regularly have to ship the U.K. courts large bundles of case files for in-person hearings. Even though some of those processes had already moved to digital workflows, there were still a lot of paper-based and otherwise clunky steps. For instance, one of the ways the legal industry regularly collected data was to move it around on memory drives and storage devices. They're encrypted, but that doesn't solve every security problem, nor does it facilitate workflows.

 

Now, the firm can use Box to share all kinds of data more quickly and securely — and remotely — and that was a lifesaver during the pandemic. People used to the status quo of in-person and paper-based legal work quickly realized that virtual workflows bring a lot of efficiency. '

 

The other major unexpected benefit wrought by the pandemic was the pivot to e-signatures. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've depended on electronic signing to close almost all of our matters, all of our transactions, all of our deals," says Curran. The fact that Box Sign now integrates natively with the Content Cloud holds a lot of potential for Travers Smith to wrap e-singature integration right into centralized cloud content management. "Box is a very innovative organization," says Curran, "and we've been very lucky at Travers Smith, having implemented a bespoke and unique version of Box with our legal-specific use cases.''

 

A valuable platform for the legal industry

As of right now, the company has brought back staff at a 50% capacity, with employees working from home two to three days a week, and that's a common approach many law firms are taking. Having digital processes already in place makes this flexible approach much more intuitive, and Box is at the center of that effort. The Content Cloud allows Travers Smith to better surface, serve, share, secure, and transact on legal content in the post-pandemic, often virtual era.

 

See what Box can do for you