Legaltech: The Future of Technology: Five Trends Lawyers Can’t Ignore

[Disclaimer: I am attending Legaltech thanks to a free blogger’s pass, so read skeptically. All opinions are my own because nobody else would want them anyway.] [Further disclaimer: Live blogging. Errors, omissions, and snarky comments are my own.]

The Future of Technology: Five Trends Lawyers Can’t Ignore
Now more than ever, attorneys have an obligation to change with the times and stay on top of available technology that can help them better serve their clients and manage their practice. From shorthand to typewriters, Dictaphones to voice recognition software, technology always works its way into lawyers’ lives. Just as it has in the past, so will it in the future—and at a faster pace than many lawyers may be prepared for.

This session will introduce you to looming industry trends you can use to help your firm thrive in the ever-changing legal marketplace. We will also get you up to speed on the five top tech trends you can’t afford to ignore, including:

Evolving ABA & State Bar rules
Social Media
Predictive Coding
Alternative Fee Arrangements

Speakers:

Christopher T. Anderson,
Product Manager for the LexisNexis Firm Manager,
LexisNexis

Jack Halprin,
Head of eDiscovery, Enterprise,
Google

The cloud is not a brand new threat. Back in the day, operators could listen in on phone calls. What’s new is the speed, the amount of information, and the informality with which we now exchange information. When Chris and I started our law firms wouldn’t even let us have computers.

Still, lawyers’ “over-arching fear of the cloud” is noteworthy.
BYOD (bring your own device) is spreading.
iPhone & Android users vastly outnumber Blackberry users in the room.
Cost of storage is increasing, but cost of managing stored data is increasing.
We’re all on different electronic devices; it’s not all uniform any longer.

Mr. Anderson: It’s the clients, with changing expectations about how we work, who are driving changes in the practice of law–alternative billing, big data & e-discovery, transparency, etc.

Trend 1: Alternative fee arrangements (AFA)
We’re getting new technology & data that allow alternative fee arrangements to work for us. Some lawyers say the billable hour is a dinosaur–it’s dying.

Trend 2: Big Data & Electronic Discovery
Big data: “Collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes awkward to work with.” Wikipedia. Impact: New FRCP Revisions effective Dec. 1–changing the way lawyers who practice in federal courts comply with e-discovery. Higher use of forensic specialists, e-discovery experts, data analysts.
E-discovery expertise is essential for most firms to compete in today’s market. More businesses are selecting legal representation based on RFP.
Technology assisted review (TAR) aka predictive coding. Not suitable for every case; with smaller document sets, it doesn’t work.
Predictive analytics & early case assessment (ECA)–estimating risk to prosecute or defend a legal case. Global organizations deal with legal discovery and disclosure requests for ESI and paper documents on a regular basis.

Trend 3: Client Expectations: The Age of Instant Information
Clients expect quick responses; we should have information at our fingertips. “It’s in the mail” is no longer acceptable. Cloud-based technologies help us to avoid the most common client complaint (not returning phone calls).

Trend 4: Social Media
The courts have almost universally held there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in social media. If it’s relevant info, or can lead to relevant info, it’s also discoverable.
Social media is being used as a business development tool. Ethical questions, such as whether you can “friend” a judge or an opposing client. You can’t describe yourself as an “expert” in your social media profiles.

Trend 5: Cloud Storage

Trend 6: Changing Business Models
Competition from above: Big Law is shedding lawyers.
Newly minted lawyers are not finding jobs.
Unbundling of legal services.

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About James G. Milles

Professor of Law, SUNY Buffalo Law School

Posted on January 30, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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