According to Gartner, by 2020, information will be used to reinvent, digitalize or eliminate 80 percent of business processes and products from a decade earlier. That trend line appears to be right on track in the legal industry, where evolving tools and technology in the area of early case assessment provide just one example of how information governance is being reshaped.
This was the focus of a recent meeting of The Legal Innovation 2020 Working Group (LI 2020), an invitation-only peer group focusing on innovations in technology and workflow that shape the eDiscovery, litigation technology and legal information management industries.
Thought leaders from both corporate legal departments and law firms exchanged ideas about the fallout they’re observing due to evolving early case assessment technologies:
1. Work shifting away from associates.
Document review, which has historically been a time-intensive task assigned to teams of associates in law firms, is increasingly being handled by machine-learning software tools and other outsourced processes. This is true for both eDiscovery in litigation and due diligence in transactions.
2. Greater discipline in data management.
With more corporations adopting the “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” mantra, attorneys in both corporate and private practice are being pushed to impose new disciplines to the way information is managed in their organizations. One example is the use of the Six Sigma methodology: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC), a data-driven improvement cycle used for creating stable business processes during early case assessment and throughout eDiscovery.
3. Rise of artificial intelligence.
Fueled by IBM’s initiative to make available their Watson machine-learning system in the cloud, some legal technology observers foresee continued progress in the application of artificial intelligence to legal information governance and eDiscovery. As the industry is introduced to better early case assessment diagnostics, the new insights will continue to drive better processes.
4. “Highest and Best” use of law firms.
Corporate legal executives are learning that the best way for them to get optimal outcomes for less money is to “in-source” some early case assessment functions by partnering with appropriate legal technology vendors that can present them with better data, do it faster and do it cheaper. Once the data is in hand, they bring in their law firms for counsel and to assist with laying out the smartest legal strategy, which in-house counsel agree is the highest and best use of a trusted outside law firm.
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The LI 2020 Working Group gathers for monthly virtual meetings in order to be engaged and educated on evolving trends that impact legal business models. The LI 2020 initiative is managed by The Cowen Group and is underwritten by LexisNexis.
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