I had the opportunity to chat with Marissa Downs, Principal at corporate law firm Much Shelist in Chicago, IL. As an experienced litigator and active board member of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, Marissa shares how her firm differentiates their litigation practice with innovative, tech-conversant attorneys who understand how to marshal big data.
As a part of our series of DISCO client interviews, I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg Leighton, Partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, about his career and the various changes his career has undergone, influenced by new technology and today’s shifting legal landscape.
The December 1, 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and robust new technology have ushered in a new age for attorneys to benefit from artificial intelligence in the ediscovery practice. No longer should practicing attorneys be required to always explain and justify the use of technology-assisted review (TAR) methodologies to courts, but instead courts should measure practitioners’ discovery conduct by the time-tested dictates of proportionality and reasonableness.
This new age threatens some in the ediscovery space who have made their living consulting about the less-understood nuances of TAR. They are worried because they feel that newer TAR technology is a black box that can’t be explained to a judge. However, in truth, the discovery process from the court’s and the requesting party’s perspective in most cases has always been a “black box,” even well before the days of ediscovery. Before the advent of ediscovery, the process of collection, review, analysis, and production was done in paper form (and I’m old enough to remember those days). Courts did not usually interfere with the means or methods by which a producing party went about its discovery obligations, so long as the party complied with the Rules: the document production was timely, reasonably responsive to the requests, and was organized in a fashion allowed by the Rules (e.g. by individual request, or as kept in the usual course of business). There was little or nothing the producing party needed to explain to the court, unless the producing party ran afoul of the Rules.
How should you write ‘ediscovery’?
Is it e-discovery, E-discovery, eDiscovery, or ediscovery? While some may say the derivation of a word should dictate it’s spelling1, others argue that communication has become a fashion; the method, spelling, and even the meaning of language should change to match the current social and cultural climate2. This conversation could lead into serious digression. However, I do think the spelling of a word speaks about the culture and, in some cases, the industry surrounding the term.
One may perceive DISCO’s comments about the slowness, unintuitive experience, and outdated technology of legacy competitors like kCura contentious, competitive name calling. Any perceived hostility by DISCO is unintended. In marketing, it is often difficult to describe nuances in technology innovation without sounding aggressive in its comparison (recall the Apple vs PC campaigns). Luckily, if we look in the rearview mirror, it’s easy to see patterns that emerge; patterns that can shed objective light into the present and future trajectory of legal technology.
Part three of this series addressed how and why lawyers choose technology products, and what companies can do to build products that lawyers want to use. If you missed that post, you can read it here.
The series concludes with my thoughts on how legal technology will be delivered to achieve the predictions in my previous posts, as well as closing comments about how we get to this future of legal technology.
In my last post, I discussed how changes in technology will create the opportunity for a new role within law firms and corporate legal departments. If you missed that post, you can read it here.
Part three describes how and why lawyers choose technology products, and what companies can do to build products that lawyers want to use.
In part one of this series, we covered how legal technology will empower lawyers across all areas of practice. If you missed that post, you can read it here.
Part two expands on how changes in technology will create the opportunity for a new role within law firms and corporate legal departments.
On the heels of Legaltech New York, I decided to set down some of my thoughts about the future of legal technology. In this four-part series, I will cover four predictions:
- Legal technology will empower lawyers across all areas of practice
- The rise of legal technology professionals in law firms and corporate legal departments
- A recipe for products that lawyers will actually adopt
- Cloud and SaaS will replace on-premise software
Each part will include examples of how the prediction could play out, and the series will conclude with my thoughts on how we achieve this future of legal technology.
Without further ado, let’s dive into part one….
If you were born before 1985, it’s likely that you immediately get the reference to Festivus, the anti-commercial holiday “for the rest of us”, that was invented by George Costanza’s father and celebrated on Seinfeld. Of course, Festivus wouldn’t be complete without an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, a dinner where the guests engage in the "Airing of Grievances" and recognition of "Feats of Strength" as well as proclaiming easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles".
The “Festivus” episode from Season 9 (1997) - ranked as a top fan favorite of the entire series - also popularized the concepts of “two-face”, when someone is not as good looking as first thought due to lighting and other environmental conditions, as well as “The Human Fund”, a fake charity George makes up in order to get out of spending money on his co-workers for the holidays (its motto being "Money For People").
If you have no clue what I’m talking about then I strongly encourage you to stop whatever you’re doing and spend 4:37 minutes in laugh therapy watching highlights from this memorable and much quoted episode. Your life will be richer for it - and you’ll be in a much better position to grasp the balance of this blog post.The title for this post popped into my head as I perused the agenda and session descriptions for Relativity Fest 2016 . Taking place this week in Chicago, kCura’s annual user conference (referred to by insiders simply as “The Fest”) is 3 days of Relativity-centric content delivered across 138 sessions with 190 speakers and a whole heap of upselling excitement.
For those of us selectively outside of - or the many disenchanted with - the Relativity ecosystem, I’ve officially declared this week as ediscovery Festivus Week - complete with ‘airing of grievances’ if you’re so inclined.
Digging into the session content, I can’t help but notice some interesting trends as well as a few curiously absent topics.