Renate Walker is an associate in the Labour and Employment department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Atlanta office where she advises and represents clients in a broad range of employment-related matters, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour actions. Prior to her legal career, Renate was a human resources professional for nearly ten years.
Complete complex legal research assignments efficiently--in terms of both time and cost.
After using ROSS, Renate’s uses for LexisNexis and Westlaw to review statutes. The nuts and bolts of her research – case law – is handled by ROSS. This transition hasn’t required any adjustments because “it’s extremely intuitive and user friendly.” Whereas traditional law firm search engines require hours of hands-on training, Renate tells us all that was required for ROSS training was a video conference since the system itself is so simple to use.
Renate first started using ROSS in 2018, and has found it to be an essential tool to her practice. Whereas traditional legal search engines require lawyers to think through Boolean logic carefully before entering a query, ROSS performs well on plain-language searches—drastically cutting down time spent searching and freeing up time for legal analysis. Rather than charging for every search (including those searches that include typos or formatting errors), the ROSS system does not charge per search. This gives Renate peace of mind and flexibility when researching legislation and precedents for clients: “the fact that I can run as many searches as I want and not have to worry about racking up charges because I put something in the wrong set of quotation marks, or need to move a parenthesis, is just fantastic.” This sensitivity to cost and delivery of real-time solutions gives Renate’s clients confidence in the counsel they’ve selected and helps retain and attract clients with the same type of cost sensitivities.
Renate admits that one of the most frustrating parts of legal research is the unknown – knowing that you need case law on a certain topic, but not knowing if it’s ever been addressed by the courts. Typically, the research process begins broadly with hundreds of cases returned which requires hours of sifting through materials, opening and closing browser tabs, and keeping a pad and paper by your side to remember which cases are relevant and which cases are not.
Renate tells us, “when you’ve narrowed down your search, but aren’t retrieving any relevant hits, you can spin your wheels and end up without an answer after a few hours.” For example, while researching the applicability of certain provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act to transportation workers in a given jurisdiction, the standard law-firm search engines returned hits that took hours to sift through, with the result that no express case had addressed Renate’s clients’ circumstances.
Using ROSS, Renate was able to confirm in minutes that there wasn’t any precedent in case law that could be relied upon (or distinguished) for her client. This sort of efficiency – in terms of both time and cost – is the most important factor in deciding which search engine to use, and which makes ROSS so attractive. In Renate’s words, “legal research was intimidating and time consuming, and it required a lot of forethought before even getting started. With ROSS, it’s a simple, intuitive process that allows me to use plain language in searches and pinpoint what I’m looking for … people should just try it out, I think they’ll love it.”
“Legal research was intimidating and time consuming, and it required a lot of forethought before even getting started. With ROSS, it’s a simple, intuitive process that allows me to use plain language in searches and pinpoint what I’m looking for … people should just try it out, I think they’ll love it.”
In the short amount of time that Renate’s been using ROSS, word of its capabilities has already spread through her office. Renate tells us that a fellow associate saw her using ROSS on her desktop one day and inquired about the platform. After using ROSS, Renate’s colleague didn’t hesitate to sing its praises and recommend it to other members of the firm. Unlike traditional search tools that require extensive training, her colleague could get set up after watching a training video from the comfort of her office.
One of the most prominent examples of how ROSS gives Renate an edge over other lawyers was when she was asked to update educational materials for a client teaching employment law. Specifically, she needed verification over non-compete covenants in employment agreements for a specific jurisdiction. Renate tells us that it is exceptionally difficult to narrow down broad searches like that using LexisNexis or Westlaw, but with ROSS, her plain language query returned answers immediately. Renate asked ROSS, “what factors do courts consider in determining whether or not non-compete agreements are enforceable in “X” jurisdiction” and it immediately pulled up the section of the case that listed all the factors she needed in responding to her client.
The ROSS team is excited to be partnering with innovative international law firms like Seyfarth Shaw LLP who recognize the value of investing in AI technology early to enhance their client service delivery in terms of time and cost reduction. We look forward to sharing additional details of how AI is transforming Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s law practice.