Keeping an eye on new products 'a significant focus' at Bergeron Clifford, says Joseph Dart
Joseph Dart, partner at Bergeron Clifford, says in this day and age embracing technology is a baseline: firms have to leverage the tools available to them, or risk being left behind. But Bergeron Clifford is not just passively accepting this new reality – they’re actively searching out ways to make the firm better at what it does.
“We’re very forward-thinking and our marketing department is always looking for ways to increase our technological capacity to make the lawyers more efficient, our staff more efficient and make life easier for everybody,” Dart says. “We definitely have our eye on that and keep it as a significant focus.”
The number of hours each file requires to make sure it proceeds as it should is such that whenever a firm can gain advantages and the quality of the work doesn’t suffer, “you have to look into that,” Dart notes, adding technology enables almost everything to be done more efficiently, moving files quicker with less mistakes, keeping everyone on the same page and allowing people to work remotely. The benefits are endless in that regard, he says.
Bergeron Clifford is completely on the cloud and paperless, using Filevine to access files from anywhere, on any device, which has made the COVID-19 era smoother. The ability to assign tasks to staff, track what’s been done and check the overall status with the click of a button via the file page keeps things moving which has resulted in a more streamlined process. Dart can keep a finger on the pulse of a file and have every document at his fingertips whether at the office, at home or on vacation.
Alexi a solution that leverages Artificial Intelligence to produce high-quality, comprehensive memos from any research question, is another tool that offers too much in the way of efficiency to be left untapped. Bergeron Clifford was one of the earlier firms to latch on to it and use it frequently, and while a personal injury firm may be more focused compared to a generalist firm “there are still hundreds of legal issues that can come up in any one file that you don’t know the answer to off the top of your head,” Dart notes.
“Instead of having a student – or yourself – spend multiple hours on it, it takes 30 seconds to plug it into Alexi and within 24 hours you basically have your answer,” he says. “It’s up to you to read the cases the memo quotes but certainly the framework of the issue you’re looking at is there in a short amount of time – and without the hours it would have required previously.”
Though useful at all stages of a file, Alexi shines during litigation when lawyers are working hard to update what they’ll need during the course of the trial, such as statements of law and memos, as well as in the midst of the trial when an issue comes up and the judge wants submissions the next morning, for example. Inputting the question into Alexi gives you an answer, points out the relevant cases and even provides wording from the memo that can be leveraged.
“It’s done that for us many times,” Dart says. “Other than the fact it’s always used during the lead up to trial time, there’s no one place it’s used more than others – I use Alexi throughout the litigation.”
Alexi is also useful at the beginning of a file, especially from a client-service and marketing perspective. Reviewing intake information to identify issues in advance of meeting with a client is a helpful best practice, and if there’s a unique liability issue or a question about a certain aspect of a claim you haven’t dealt with before, Alexi is a quick and efficient way to get a handle on it before you even sit down with the client.
When you show up well-versed in the law even if it’s complicated, it shows clients you’re on top of legal issues and they’re impressed by that, Dart says, adding that’s happened quite often for him over the time the firm has been using Alexi. As with any technology that helps a firm operate more effectively and efficiently, it comes down to putting your best foot forward.
“It’s incumbent upon law firms – and we take it very seriously at Bergeron Clifford – to keep up to speed on technological advances and use them to our advantage to service clients and remain competitive,” Dart says. “It’s something we continually strive to improve and take advantage of as these products come out.”