How a most unwelcome change agent is accelerating the technology journey of Chartwell Law
In just under 20 years, Chartwell Law has grown from being a four-attorney practice specializing in workers’ compensation into one of the fastest-growing defense litigation firms in the country. Established in 2002 in Valley Forge, Pa., today they are a full-service law firm and are one of the National Law Journal’s 250 largest law firms in America.
Chartwell’s attorneys represent and counsel businesses in a wide variety of legal matters ranging from insurance defense and employment law and labor relations to complex insurance coverage issues and commercial litigation. The firm’s multi-disciplinary practices include but aren’t limited to: large catastrophic loss, insurance coverage analysis and litigation, workers’ compensation, professional liability, product liability, general liability, and casualty defense.
Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, Chartwell opened new offices in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Oregon in 2020. “With the pandemic, the demand for legal services increased,” said Maor Levy, the organization’s chief technology officer. “We quickly opened a pathway to grow and increase productivity, and even though it was tough at the beginning, as it was in every business, we were quickly able to shift to remote work while providing the same level of service as they would have in an onsite environment — and managed to continue growing.”
As with many organizations, the health crisis forced Chartwell to add significant speed to their technology transformation. As a modern firm, Chartwell had a significant amount of automation already in place; Levy joined the company to take their tech to the next level — two weeks before the pandemic struck. Timing changed the trajectory of Chartwell’s plans. With the pandemic came an uptick in business, and Chartwell picked up the pace of their journey to accommodate the surge.
Initial efforts focused on adding velocity and ease to the intake process. “The pandemic forced us to use technology more often in more sophisticated ways to reply to our clients’ requests and requirements,” he explained. “Our attorneys needed to answer questions fast, so we had to quickly implement changes to our systems and get our attorneys up to speed.”
That meant rapid access to volumes of documentation. “Instead of manually going through hundreds of documents, we use machine learning to summarize them so we can quickly understand what a case is about and what path we must take to provide the best service for the client.”
Overlaying data science on both existing and newly automated systems helped the firm perform at peak while bringing greater value to their clients. “We’ve been around for 20 years, so we have a lot of data from past experience, and we can easily analyze that data and find similarities,” he noted. “Since joining Chartwell we’ve added more automation and technology to help us increase productivity, discover how we can generate more business, and in terms of marketing, better understand where our business comes from.”
On the client side, service reigns supreme. Technology adds intelligence to a number of critical processes, from matching the right attorney with the right experience to the right client, to helping their clients limit exposure to risk. “We save them money and time by assigning the appropriate staff on their case and ensuring that we handle it well.” That includes making filing deadlines, staying extremely organized, and providing the correct documentation.
“When we get a case, we use technology to analyze the documents, find who has the best experience, either by who has the most experience in the jurisdiction working with the type of claim, the same charge, or working with the same billing codes. We know who on our team has the best experience, and if we need to bring an expert in to give us more insight on the case.”
According to Levy, Chartwell clients can be curious about the “magic” behind their operation, especially when it comes to handling big caseloads and attorney productivity. “They want answers to those sorts of questions, and thanks to technology, we can provide those answers,” he said. “We introduce technology even if it’s automating something small that can save labor and time. More automation, and fewer clicks for the attorneys and staff means we provide better service and save money for the client. Our mission is to help our clients achieve their goals, and that remains at the forefront of all technology, automation and processes we put in place.”
The pandemic also presented an opportunity to increase Chartwell’s cybersecurity. “The pandemic made implementing projects quickly a must, and I was able to push projects that would have taken years into a few months,” he said. A decades-long partnership with enterprise managed services provider SSI enabled the team to introduce new technology and strengthen cybersecurity efforts inside and outside of the organization. “They understand our needs and helped us to grow from 40 employees to over 350.”
User training was a key focus for the team. They created a training process that users could easily embrace and identify with as a bulwark against cyberattacks. “Eventually the most common threat issues come from user error, and we put our efforts into educating our users on what looks suspicious. They must keep in mind what to look for when they receive something from a client — or what’s supposed to be a client — what they should and should not do. That’s the focus of the partnership with SSI: introducing new technologies and making sure our environment is very strong and can handle that level of activity.”
Aderant billing and timekeeping technology allows the company to be more productive on the attorney service side and in the back office. “It helps us from all sides with very sophisticated programs that enable us to provide the very best service,” Levy affirmed
Working in an ecosystem that includes attorneys of impeccable standing means working across a spectrum of comfort levels, from near-Luddite users to the technologically proficient. “It can be very hard to change paths when you’ve done something the same way for many years, but Chartwell continues striving for success.
“I am sure that technology can make employees lives better and improve our clients’ experience, so I keep pushing and expanding further,” he continued. “We always look to see where we can introduce technology and in what way and what channel we can move into. We never give up on technology.”
With 24 offices located in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Tennessee, Chartwell Law attorneys offer a wide variety of legal services ranging from general liability and casualty defense, insurance coverage analysis and litigation, workers' compensation defense, employment law and workplace issues to high-stakes commercial litigation.
970 Rittenhouse Road
Valley Forge, PA 19403