MinterEllison makes a strong case for moving to the cloud.

MinterEllison is one of Asia Pacific’s leading law firms. Established in 1827, it is also one of Australia’s oldest, with processes firmly embedded.

As with many firms in the legal industry, MinterEllison is facing a growing demand by its teams to process the large amounts of data required for litigation
in a timely and accurate manner.

MinterEllison CIO, Gary Adler, knew that to improve the company’s efficiency and deliver more effectively to their clients, they needed to move away from their established processes and embrace the cloud. “We stopped and thought; ‘How can we do this differently so that we have instant flex, infinite scale and a much lower cost?” His plan? To migrate 80% of the business to the cloud within five years.


On the decision to move to the cloud, Paul Harmat, Enterprise Architect at MinterEllison says;

There were concerns about data sovereignty because of Australia’s privacy laws. And then there was the concern of the unknown, this new way of doing things. No one else in our market was doing it.

To work through the firm’s concerns, the initial use case needed to be meaningful and have a tangible positive impact, for both internal efficiencies and their clients.

The ideal use case was the eDiscovery team, who are responsible for transferring, mining and storing the huge amounts of data used in litigation every day. Processing the data could take days or even weeks and the team relied on the manual transfer of hard disks and USBs to share data between of ces or with opposing parties.

Paul says;

Shipping data, even if it’s encrypted, on physical media isn’t ideal in terms of time, security and chain of custody.

And then there were issues with storing and archiving the data; “We could get a matter that was one terabyte in size and we just wouldn’t immediately have the disk space to store it.”

The solution?

  • Deliver a highly secure client data platform
  • Allow client data to be transferred and stored, while maintaining the chain of custody
  • Improve the internal ef ciencies of ingesting and sharing data
  • Reduce the strain on internal I.T to support the exponentially growing litigation infrastructure and compliance demands

The process

Gary says; “It became evident that if we were going to do it right and build a strong foundation, we needed to lean on an expert third party who did this day in and day out.”

When we met with DSG it was very refreshing. We met a team who was absolutely passionate about what they did. They spent a lot of time trying to understand the legal vertical and our particular use case.

DSG came to MinterEllison with a ready-made Amazon Web Services (AWS) design to deploy. But internally, says Paul, “There was a lot of skepticism about what the cloud was.”

DSG’s approach was to not only focus on the architecture and process, but on engagement and education.

Paul explains their process; “They turned every interaction, workshop and deployment into a knowledge sharing and education exercise.”

“There was no question that was too dumb, there was no concern that was too frivolous, it was really around them uplifting us. They recognized that the more comfortable we were, the more receptive we would be to the cloud journey and the better the partnership we would have.

By the end of it, the infrastructure team and the wider MinterEllison were completely on board with the cloud.”

The results

The results of moving the eDiscovery team to the cloud came fast.

Just months after their initial deployment, MinterEllison has already seen the cost of moving forensic data to a ready state reduced by 73% and time savings of 85%. There has also been a 32% drop in storage costs, which is expected to increase through economies of scale as they move more of the business into the cloud.

Gary says; “We’re celebrating our return on investment already, which I didn’t think would happen this soon. There is still a long way to go for our full ve-year plan but as far as this core foundational project has gone, it couldn’t be in a better place. The infrastructure team are absolutely all on board and the eDiscovery team own the process and are celebrating some great milestones.”

Final thoughts?

Both Gary and Paul agree that the key to the success of the deployment was the strong relationship DSG has built with the company.

Gary says;

Clearly they could help with the technical challenges but they really made themselves a part of the team. They took the time to understand the culture.

The best thing about DSG is their passion. They are positive, they’re full of energy and that’s how I like to lead my teams.

Paul says;

It wasn’t a client vendor partnership. We were working as one team.They were as heavily invested in this as we were.

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