Garlington turns to DocsCorp to reduce risk and increase productivity managing non-searchable content

Garlington, Lohn & Robinson, PLLP, is an established, full-service Montana law firm built upon a strong tradition of providing exceptional legal representation to businesses and individuals. For more than 130 years, Garlington, Lohn & Robinson has served the legal needs of individuals and businesses, as well as numerous national corporations, health care institutions, insurance companies and governments. The firm excels in the resolution of complex and challenging litigation.

The business challenge

Garlington, Lohn & Robinson receives a significant number of electronic documents through discovery. Many of these documents are image-based documents and are therefore non-searchable. The firm’s legal assistants must OCR the documents at their desk using Adobe Acrobat to make them searchable. This was inhibiting legitimate business functions, recalls Dan Featherman, IT Manager at Garlington, Lohn & Robinson. “The amount of time spent OCR’ing documents was astronomical. It was made even more difficult due to the resource-intensive nature of OCR’ing with Adobe Acrobat. An assistant had to choose whether to be productive or commit their desktop to OCR’ing and find something to do with physical files.”

The volume of image-based documents coming in to the firm had exceeded its capacity to OCR every document. Instead they were simply added to a growing backlog of non-searchable content in its ProLaw database. Recognizing the risks this posed, the firm had on several occasions investigated the possibilities of resolving the issue, but always ran into the same problems: new hardware requirements, high licensing and per page costs.

Our solution

Garlington had heard about DocsCorp through ILTA and on the ILTA List Serv. Initially, they were interested in the pdfDocs product for creating and managing PDF content. It was during early conversations with DocsCorp that they learned about contentCrawler—an automated end-to-end process that intelligently assesses image-based documents in a content repository for conversion to searchable PDFs, which are then re-profiled for indexing by the search engine.

contentCrawler integrates with leading document management systems as well as MS SharePoint and MS Windows file systems. DocsCorp was close to finalizing integration with ProLaw when Garlington approached them about contentCrawler.

The firm decided to take advantage of the complimentary audit tool to get a snapshot of its ProLaw database. A non-production server was set up for testing purposes and the firm ran the crawl on a portion of their database.

Dan pointed out that they had some obvious concerns about an automated system accessing the firm’s ProLaw system. “Would document dates and times be altered? Would users see documents opened by contentCrawler and thus be limited to a read-only version? Would contentCrawler preserve all underlying metadata?” The firm was reassured to learn that contentCrawler did not modify the original document, preserving the original image quality and compression. It also preserved any annotations in the original. Documents were saved back into ProLaw with the original time/date stamp. A couple of other points to note: contentCrawler is 99.9% accurate and supports more than 180 languages.

As a result of the crawl the firm discovered that about a third of their documents were non-searchable. Also, Garlington was able to confirm that documents checked out by users during the crawl were ignored by contentCrawler and re-assessed in subsequent crawls of ProLaw. Dan recalls that there were a few hiccups along the way, but the firm worked with DocsCorp to work out the kinks. “I made a number of feature requests and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were being incorporated into the next release of the product.”

Other benefits

In 2012 Garlington upgraded their server to 8 CPU cores to accelerate processing. According to Dan the firm has processed about 750k documents, 200k of which needed to be OCR’ed. “The software has been invaluable. The ROI was immediately realized when users no longer had to spend 30-45 minutes OCR’ing a document. They just dropped it into ProLaw and it was fully-searchable the next morning. 30-45 minutes of OCR’ing 4 times a week ends up being 2-3 hours of productive time, 8-12 hours per month, 96-144 hours per year per assistant!,” claimed Dan. contentCrawler supports 4, 8, 16 and 32 CPU cores for faster OCR processing.

Garlington legal assistants were relieved of their OCR’ing duties. contentCrawler provided the firm with a single OCR’ing solution that eliminated the need for multiple OCR’ing workflows and processes. It provided unlimited pages, non-stop 24/7 processing.

In addition, IT Administrators can install and configure the contentCrawler solution from the centralized monitoring and reporting dashboard. Administrators can also set up various email notifications to report on the progress of the crawl, requesting the Service Statistics and Error reporting be emailed to them. They can export processing reports as CSV files for analysis and review.

In summary

The law firm Garlington, Lohn & Robinson was acutely aware of the productivity drain image-based documents were causing at the firm. Despite the best efforts of its staff members, its ProLaw database consisted of about 30% non-searchable content. Efforts to find an affordable solution proved futile, until the firm learned about DocsCorp’s contentCrawler.

contentCrawler, a fully-automated end-to-end solution delivered an immediate ROI. It processed over 750k documents, 200k of which needed OCR’ing. Legal assistants were no longer required to manually OCR image-based documents, saving up to 150 hours per legal assistant per year.

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