Customization, configuration, tailoring – we’ve all heard these words thrown around when it comes to litigation management and eDiscovery technologies. The word “customization” can trigger certain thoughts or emotions when it comes to cost and time. But can it be a cost effective and efficient alternative to one-size-fits-all options?

When the topic of customization comes up, the conversation typically turns to things like efficiency gains, user experience enhancements, and better aligning the product to your operations. And those are certainly valuable benefits customizable solutions can provide. But at the end of the day, those positives are really byproducts of its true purpose: solving your team’s unique legal challenges.

Solving Problems

Think about some of the biggest struggles corporate legal departments face when juggling complex litigation portfolios:

  • Maintaining consistent matter organization and knowledge sharing across teams
  • Capturing and structuring data intuitively for specialized practice areas
  • Defining stage-specific workflows that conform to your internal processes
  • Surfacing real-time dashboards spotlighting your core management KPIs
  • Collaborating effectively with external counsel and other stakeholders

These are just a few of the potential roadblocks your team may face. And a rigid, one-size-fits-all software solution is never going to be able to adequately clear those hurdles.

Not All Customizations Are Created Equal

Of course, not all customization capabilities are created equal.  Effective customization considers the data, processes, technology and people in each solution. Many legal tech vendors position their products as “customizable” when in reality they only allow surface-level adjustments like:

  • Setting user permissions and security rules
  • Tweaking dashboard styling with fonts, colors, and logos
  • Pre-built filtered views of unchanging data schemas

While nice to have, those types of customizations can be limited. They can’t remedy foundational structure, process, and data architecture limitations at the heart of litigation management challenges. 

For example, document centric systems often have flat data structures and limited search capabilities that often overlook the related data points to make one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-one data connections.  Effective litigation management data architecture is commonly highly relational and those relational elements can differ significantly across clients, or even across matters for the same client.

In addition, some platforms allow for indiscriminate creation of fields and objects. But this lack of data modeling governance often leads to duplicate records and fields, inconsistent properties, and inefficient implementations.  All of this creates searching, reporting, and analysis challenges when users aren’t clear on what fields to use or how to utilize them.  Just because a system may allow every user to add their own fields, doesn’t mean that you should allow those capabilities to go unchecked or unmonitored.

Getting Better ROI Out of Your Litigation Management Platform

When litigation management tools can truly mirror and adapt to your processes rather than dictating them, that’s when you start realizing maximum ROI. Instead of inefficient compromises, you get purpose-built solutions for:

  • Organizing and structuring matters intuitively for your practice areas
  • Automating processes and quality checks aligned to your operations
  • Consistent management of data across your entire portfolio
  • Tailored, actionable reporting and analysis for stakeholders
  • Having a single source of truth to get the answers and data that you need

The productivity gains, user experience enhancements, and efficiency boosts you want all stem from solving your core challenges first through proper data architecture, configuration, and customization.

Beyond the Platform: Selecting the Right Vendor

Choosing the right litigation management platform is crucial, but equally vital is selecting a vendor that acts as a strategic partner. This is where the people and processes commonly come into play. The right partner should offer more than just configuration advice—they need to dive deep into your unique processes, roles, and specific needs to help build solutions that don’t just meet but exceed your expectations.  And those solutions need to be able to address the challenges of today, while being flexible enough to pivot to meet the needs of tomorrow.

Right from the start, your strategic partner should be committed to understanding how your team operates. This means their project managers will take the time to learn the details of your current workflows and how these might integrate or align with the platform’s capabilities.

This collaborative approach is essential for ensuring that your investment in a litigation management or eDiscovery platform is not just effective for the immediate term but remains relevant and optimized as your operations grow and change. Choosing a platform is a significant decision, one that goes beyond a simple transaction to a partnership that evolves with your organization.

So, as you evaluate potential platforms and partners, it’s important to look beyond the surface-level feature of “customization.” Consider the depth of customization capabilities and, critically, the expertise and approach of the team that you’ll be partnering with for the foreseeable future.

For a comprehensive guide on what to look for in litigation management software, consider downloading our white paper, “The Top 7 Considerations When Selecting a Litigation Management Platform,” for more valuable insights and guidance.

White Paper:
Top 7 Considerations When Selecting a Litigation Management Platform