Her memory of the moment as a first year associate is clear.
“I remember distinctly walking into Orin’s office and he said ‘I want to see every doc in the case.’”
Orin is Orin Snyder, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and one of the nation’s leading litigators who has represented brand-name companies in some high profile cases, including Facebook, Uber, Yik Yak, and NBC Universal. Handing him 100 binders of documents was not an option.
Alma Asay sat at her desk, trying to figure out what to do. She opened up Excel, and started typing in key portions of documents like the content of emails, dates, times, and other pertinent information. Soon she had spreadsheets of information that put the documents of the case into a tangible, searchable format. When she showed it to him, he loved it.
From that point on, she leveraged Excel to keep track of case information, refining the process during her time at Gibson Dunn to incorporate other elements like evidence and deposition testimony. She learned how to create columns and sort by document to see testimony and document side by side.
“I didn’t know Excel skills would be helpful as a lawyer, but I thought it was silly that Excel was the best option,” Asay said.
The Seeds for Allegory
A problem with Excel, and the shared drive approach, is that data is isolated from each other. It’s also difficult to track what information is being used where, and who has said what about it. Believing there was a better solution, Asay went looking. She learned CaseMap was already installed on her machine and available to the law firm, and she quickly learned why everyone preferred Excel.
“I tried to create a case, and couldn’t figure out the basics,” Asay said. “I’m a typical non-tech savvy lawyer, and I’m not going to read a 100-page manual. I want to open the application and do what I need to do, or figure it out as I go. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could build a software program to fix all this?”
The seed for Allegory blossomed as she found herself at the six year mark, and on track to make partner. After being introduced to some engineers while still working at Gibson Dunn, she started mapping out Allegory. In 2012, she left the practice of law to launch her startup.
Litigation Pain Points Managed
Described as a “mobile and secure cloud-based litigation management software that helps lawyers win cases” through automation of tasks, connecting case information, and putting the answers lawyers need at their fingertips, Allegory considers itself the smartphone of litigation management.
The secret of Allegory is in its ability to collect and connect disparate or unconnected data. In other words, you can see not only how a particular document is being used, but also how it’s been used throughout a case. This can be especially helpful during depositions, since you don’t have to know in advance what the other side considers to be important. Allegory puts all the information at your fingertips so you can quickly find what’s needed, whether you know it’s coming or not. Sounds like magic right? That magic is the automation of everyday litigation tasks.
Asay sat down with one of the paralegal’s at Gibson Dunn and learned how binders were created. The process took hours, but with Allegory, it takes considerably less time. The same is true for exhibits, particularly where attachments are concerned. Whereas you generally have to use the “Print to PDF” function, and combine the email and attachments using Adobe, Allegory consolidates it all for you into one document in a process called “paper clipping.” More importantly, paper clipping also carries over any data that’s associated with the email and attachments, like highlights and notes.
“We’ve found that Allegory really speaks to the pain litigation teams are feeling on a daily basis. Being able to create binders quickly from a list of Bates, and paper clipping attachments immediately resonates with them,” Asay said.
The Allegory team consistently iterates, incorporating what they see as pain points their clients experience as well feedback from clients into weekly releases. When asked about the future, Asay looks at how to leverage information to help law firms better manage data and communicate with clients: “I want to be able to build something that lets lawyers quickly find information, like examples of past briefs for specific judges, or that can run queries on how long it takes to go from case filed to summary judgement for a specific judge. All this data exists, and now we’re building tools for lawyers to better leverage that data for themselves as well as clients.”