Centerbase | Resources | Case Study: Why Chilton Yambert Porter Selected Cloud-based Technology for their Next Chapter

Why Chilton Yambert Porter Selected Cloud-based Technology for their Next Chapter

CHERIE EMLING, Personnel Manager
Chilton Yambert Porter, LLP

The cornerstone of Chilton Yambert Porter’s success is the belief that when a case is well prepared for trial by the experienced defense attorney who will actually try the case — and the opponent knows that the defense is ready to proceed — the possibility is maximized for the most favorable resolution.

And the courts agree.

Prevailing in a 7-year pension-spike litigation that closed in February 2019, and that was covered by the Chicago Tribune, Kathryn Thomas, a Chilton Yambert Partner, was introduced to the entire courtroom by Judge Neil Cohen. Judge Cohen noted that Ms. Thomas obtained one of only two Summary Judgment rulings he issued in 2018.

Investing in Efficiency

For Chilton Yambert Porter, delivering exceptional client service goes beyond good lawyering. Quality representation is the combination of both legal and business acumen.

Corporate clients expect their outside counsel to operate efficiently. This includes leveraging technology to manage cases and provide billing that is timely and compliant with corporate guidelines. Not just to win but to win cost effectively. When a robust and growing firm like Chilton is ready to invest in new technology, the selection of products must align with their mission of providing extraordinary legal representation and delivering extraordinary results.

Chilton Yambert Porter’s infrastructure resided on a server-based system, which included time, billing, case and document management software tools. A full review of options began by the team.

As Rachel and Cherie worked through the evaluation process, they identified that upgrading to a new version of the existing billing system, while possible, would be expensive and still not provide the functionality required to support the growth of the firm. Also looking to transition away from their server-based file system, a robust document management program would be needed to organize both historical client files and support the additional practice groups.

The team agreed to look beyond their current platform and investigate new solutions in the marketplace.

Selecting a Solution

Chilton Yambert Porter chose Centerbase for integrated matter management, billing and accounting. Centerbase is a cloud-based platform that is secure and offers a high level of customization, workflow automation and robust reporting.

To improve document management, Chilton selected NetDocuments® which seamlessly integrates with Centerbase and offers collaborative workflow, enterprise search, secure permissions-based access and one central place for document archiving.

“Why waste money on a system that doesn’t work well for us?”

Implementation and Historical Data Migration

With an if you can adapt technology to work here, it can be made to work anywhere approach, Chilton Yambert Porter chose the practice group with the most complex billing challenges to begin the Centerbase implementation: The toxic tort group.

A group who required “split billing” capabilities, as multiple insurance clients are often involved in a single matter, something their current billing system could not handle.

  1. Creation of a working copy of the data for testing
  2. Data cleanup prior to the migration
  3. Mapping the old data to the new Centerbase platform so that the data was usable in the way intended and that it supported the use of all the new features
  4. Creation of a test database for the end users so they could report on what worked, what didn’t and what functionality they needed to be enabled prior to the migration

Once the functionality was confirmed, a full rollout commenced. Again, this was done initially on a working copy and then on the live database.

About Chilton Yambert Porter LLP

Founded in 1998, Chilton Yambert Porter LLP is a regional law firm practicing in state and federal courts across the country with 43 employees. The Chilton Yambert Porter litigation practice is focused on wrongful death, personal injury, commercial litigation and toxic tort. Headquartered in Chicago, they also have offices in Geneva, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin.

Firm Size: 43 Employees

Location: Geneva, Illinois

Practice Areas: Appellate & legal issues, class action, commercial litigation, construction litigation, corporate practice, environmental law, general negligence, insurance coverage, labor & unemployment law, medical malpractice, municipal law, premises liability, products liability, professional negligence, real estate law, regulatory, toxic tort law, transportation, workers’ compensation.

Results After Implementation

Firm-wide adoption and embrace of the new platforms.

Use of ‘pick lists’ rather than freeform entries for consistency and more compliant billing.

Increased automation and process efficiency

Easier payment entry.

Split-billing capabilities

Integrating NetDocuments Document Management

For Chilton Yambert Porter, the NetDocuments migration was not about transition to “paperless,” said Cherie Emling. Rather, it was about “organization and the increased ability to readily find needed information, something that is challenging in a server-based file structure.”

Again, Toxic Tort was the perfect starting point. The practice represents Chilton Yambert Porter’s insurance clients across multiple matters. The ability to quickly and easily locate documents from previous matters concerning the same issue for the same client, or similar issues for a different client, and leverage that work was a primary motivation for adopting NetDocuments.

Ms. Emling notes that the goal is to move beyond the “hunt and peck” for information and to enable the litigators to easily answer the following for every matter or project:

  1. “This is what happened.”
  2. “This is why those actions were taken.”
  3. “This is what we need now.”
  4. And eliminate the need for asking “Does anybody have _____?”

The benefit of enhanced access to the vast stores of matter-specific knowledge accrues to the firm and the client alike. It improves the efficiency of more routine work such as motion practice and pleadings, as well as the substantive work in developing case strategies, managing multi-district litigation and joint defense groups and other complex commercial litigation.

Looking Ahead

Customization and improvement of the Centerbase workflows continues. Just a few short months after the pilot program, firm-wide adoption was complete. Now all groups recognize the benefits of enhanced auditing, reporting and improvement to individual attorney time entries and billing practices. The firm has also begun to roll out document management best practices, such as developing document naming conventions to fully leverage NetDocuments.