2014 in E-Discovery: The Wins, The Losses and What's Next
As 2014 draws to a close, we look back over the past year to celebrate our wins, mourn our losses and try to envision what is next. Looking forward, we do our best to predict something that is by its very nature unpredictable: the future. Here is my contribution to the effort.
While not contained within a single event, I celebrate that the field of electronic discovery has continued to mature and gain acceptance in the legal marketplace. Attorneys and their support teams (both in-house and vendors) who embrace technology are finding themselves in the enviable position of being “go-to” experts for law firms and corporate legal departments. More importantly, this shift in attitudes is moving at a pace that is faster than one would expect with a simple shift in demographics. The idea that e-discovery expertise is limited to the domain of that mysterious “younger generation” is rapidly proving itself to be a myth. Some of the most senior attorneys I know have traded in their legal pad and #2 pencil for an iPad and a hosted database review with advanced analytics.
One name: Browning Marean. A Senior Partner at DLA Piper, he was a shining ambassador for e-discovery for many years. Browning passed away in August after a battle with esophageal cancer. I first met Browning at LegalTech NY in 2002 as Syngence was preparing to go to market with its concept search/near duplicate detection technology. Bear in mind, in 2002, the idea of using concept search to assist in document review was not only radical; people classified it as vaporware that would never work. Not by Browning though. He immediately “got it.” I enjoyed meeting with him over the years to discuss new technologies and to seek his advice. To read a couple of terrific remembrances by other friends with words far more eloquent than mine, read Craig Ball’s here and Tom O’Connor’s here.
2015: What's Next
Now for my predictions for 2015. Look for these to be expanded on in future posts:
- The pace by which corporate legal departments “drive the litigation bus” will increase. More control over outside counsel activities, more control over vendor selection, more cases being handled internally with increased use of in-house technology, vendor partnerships, and staffing.
- The use of Predictive Coding/Technology Assisted Review (TAR) will continue to grow but will settle into a more even pace. Like a runner out of the gate, TAR sprinted to the front of the pack as the newest in “must-have” technology. Challenges arose when it was applied to cases and document universes for which it was never designed. Look for it to mature into a useful tool.
- Repercussions from the Supreme Court’s Alice v CLS Bank case will continue to grow, but in ways that you might not think. Think back to the days of tort reform that limited personal injury damages. Plenty of personal injury attorneys simply reversed the initials and became IP plaintiffs. If IP is no longer as lucrative, what is next?
And lastly, Inventus will announce some significant growth in 2015. OK, I’ve got an inside track since I work here but how could I write a blog without at least one shameless plug?
See you in 2015!