Freehills picks Fujitsu for e-discovery cloud

As the law firm gears up for global expansion, it wanted to find a service provider that could grow with the company.

Australian law firm Freehills has decided to host its e-discovery applications with Fujitsu as it prepares for global expansion.

E-discovery refers to the legal process of obtaining evidence for a court case from the opposing party through electronic information.

With 1200 lawyers across Australia and Singapore, Freehills is preparing to more than double its staff count through a merger with Herbert Smith, a law firm with a global operation, later this year.

"We need to start thinking globally rather than locally in terms of our IT, and Fujitsu has coverage all across the world," Freehills enterprise technology manager Gary Adler told ZDNet Australia. "We wanted to make sure whichever provider we went with could really grow when we need to grow and offer us agility and flexibility on the fly."

Freehills has been a Fujitsu co-location client for three years. The new arrangement will see Fujitsu provide hosted infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for Freehill's e-discovery applications from its local datacentre, which will link up with the law firm's existing co-location environment.

The e-discovery applications were previously hosted on-site at the law firm's Sydney office. In recent years, Freehills has been struggling to cope with the vast amounts of data that it has to deal with for e-discovery.

"The explosion in data growth has really hit the e-discovery world in a big way," Adler said. "In the past, lawyers would be working through boxes of paper [for discovery documents], but now we are getting hard drives dropped at our door with a lot of data."

Servers used for e-discovery processes require a lot of processing power and memory to index loads of data. Immediate scalability of server power and storage for e-discovery was an attractive proposition for Freehills, not to mention the potential cost savings on the capital expenditure front.

"Internally, we could do it, but it would be very difficult to, say, source five extra servers from a hardware vendor, which could take a couple of weeks, and then you have to scale that up," Adler said.

Depending on how the e-discovery applications-hosting arrangement goes with Fujitsu, Freehills may consider working more closely with the service provider.

"If successful, this will be a good step for us in terms of figuring out where we're going in the future with this general hosted and cloud strategy," Adler said.

Fujitsu scored the Freehills contract through a tender process.


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