Another Great LegalTech 2012

Posted on February 9, 2012

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I’ve just returned from another great, high-energy and exciting LegalTech conference in New York. I love that show! Large crowds of old and new friends, and incredible buzz.

There was no shortage of software solutions that could be deployed either in-house or in the cloud, but the availability of eDiscovery solutions that are fully parallel with distributed Virtual Machine architectures was minimal. I predict that will be the buzz next year, as the capability makes perpetual scalability easily attainable. Some of the showcased solutions cover the entire EDRM, whereas others address just parts of it. Some vendors also provided legal expertise to implement a solid legally-defensible methodology including templates, a well-documented quality control methodology, and referencable case law.

We saw the beginnings of new approaches to Early Case Assessment, where next to the traditional quantitative data-processing eDiscovery approach, some vendors also made it possible to use advanced text, audio and image search in combination with content analytics and data visualization for more qualitative Early Case Assessment (ECA) approach. We also saw advancements in Machine Assisted Review (including automatic creation of random data-sampling sets), Machine Translation and Automatic Redaction on hundreds of languages, electronic file formats and different database repositories including popular cloud-based data collections.

But, besides all these high-tech innovations, one of the key questions remains: can you collect from “my repository” – which is often comprised of legacy email archives or other obsolete content management systems for which support no longer exists. I hope that all the eDiscovery pain and challenges related to these proprietary archives makes organizations look for more enduring and sustainable open archive solutions in the future. In reality, if everything had been archived in XML, for instance, than collection would be a simple endeavor as well.

Another continuing question relates to legal production formats. Many law firms negotiate sometimes exotic or at least uncommon requests or they have found out that TIFF is not the best format to produce XLS (formulas), PPT (animations) or video. Intelligent and flexible legal production functionality can make or break a deal.

Also, for the first time at LegalTech, many visitors shied away from the eDiscovery bells and whistles and wanted to learn more about “proactive eDiscovery” for information management, enterprise information archiving, legacy information clean-up, defensible disposal, data monitoring for internal investigations such as non-compliance,  early fraud detection and other intelligent governance tools. The focus seems to be shifting away from solely limiting risks and costs on specific matters, but looking to use the software for better knowledge management and to assist an organization to implement its strategic goals.

In the upcoming weeks, I plan to elaborate in more detail on these topics in my blogs, so look out for more!

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