Opportunities to use technology to enhance the practice of law abound. However, we think attorneys will not be replaced by computers soon. We see great opportunities for enhanced early case review; more efficient contract assessment and drafting; better intelligence gathering about courts, clients and opponents; and a better understanding of the business of law. Why do we think this?
Jim Boyers and Rob Simmons attended Legal Tech 2018 in NYC earlier this month. Legal Tech brings together a wide range of legal industry professionals –in-house counsel, academics, government and private practice attorneys, technology consultants, E-Discovery vendors and software developers. Part tradeshow, part continuing legal education and part brainstorming, this year’s recurring themes involved Artificial Intelligence and Efficient Processes in the practice of law.
Legal departments are expanding and looking to bring down the costs of discovery. Efforts include applying review platforms, legal hold software and early case assessment in-house. Notably, enhancing the management of data and records to bring control over what data is maintained and what data is eliminated has become a real focus. Companies realize the negative impact on litigation costs created by undisciplined records management. The cost to businesses arising from inefficient handling of valuable data has also been a driving force behind reforms with records management. Companies striving for greater business success and greater litigation preparedness are analyzing their data processes with an eye towards preservation of valuable data and eliminating data that serves no business purpose. We found the presentation about J.B. Hunt’s records management program interesting and informative about the issues, the processes and technology available to help address those issues, and how to help employees adopt the changes.
Regarding E-discovery technology, we see costs coming down with enhanced technology assisted review. This technology can be trained case by case by subject experts to prioritize (rank) documents for review and to identify documents that will not be relevant. Law firms and companies in the mid-market have a real opportunity to use technology in a wide range of cases to take the fear and uncertainty out of e-discovery efforts where, the costs of such efforts would not have been proportional to the needs.
Technology will continue to evolve at a rapid pace and understand your processes, challenges and opportunities before turning to technology for solutions. Understanding the processes of your work and explaining them to technology service providers in clear terms will provide the greatest opportunities for finding effective solutions. As clients look for more predictability in their legal spend and seek to move away from the billable hour, technology can be a great tool to make our services more efficient and predictable in a world of enhanced metrics. As we try out some of the new technology we saw at Legal Tech we will share our impressions.
We want to share a few links to articles we have seen about the Legal Tech experience from several points of view.