Well, well, well our little blue ball is still spinning around the sun. So much for that prediction. So now that that it's a safe bet that there will be a LegalTech New York 2013, we thought it might be fun to forecast the future. LTN polled a bunch of folks, and asked, "What do you predict will be the most unexpected legal technology development or trend in 2013, and why?"
You can always count on the Minnesotans to cut right to the meat. St. Paul-based consultant George Socha, analyst that he is, took issue with the query itself: "This is the unanswerable question. Anything you get as a prediction is by definition expected. I can't think of any unexpected developments or trends, just expected ones."
OK, OK, George, so what are the predictable predictions? "We will see expanded use of the CAR/TAR/Predictive Coding more offerings, more users, and more uses," he said. But, he warned, "We will not see agreement on what to call it," referring to the many acronyms for computer-aided review, technology-assisted review, etc. But it's unlikely that anybody will call it "PC" at least not the Californians, because for those of us with left coast genealogy, PC is always "politically correct," and it's unlikely that San Francisco-rooted Recommind has any patents on that phrase. :)
Back to Socha: "E-discovery pricing models will continue to be problematic for all involved. Many of those who pay will keep pushing for models that reduce their outlay while many of those who sell will keep trying to add costs back in. Because offerings vary so greatly, however, we will not be able to settle on one model to suit all needs." And he offers a third forecast: "Apps will continue to push into the legal technology landscape and begin to push traditional applications off to the side or even off the map entirely."
Also chiming in from the land of 10,000 lakes is John Shaughnessy, vice president, Communications, at Thomson Reuters. His pick for unexpected legal tech trend: "Consumerization simple, intuitive, app-like UX, and a relentless migration away from the tyranny of the point solution to true workflow."
I had to look up UX. According to wikipedia, it stands for "User Experience." I like that acronym. It's fun to say. And on a complete non sequitur, have you noticed how many companies especially car manufacturers love to put "X" in a product name. I guess it makes the products sound sexy. (Examples: Lincoln MKX, CadillacSRX, Jaguar has a whole series of X cars.) In fact, Borgna Brunner wrote a very funny article on car names. Check it out here. And if you are lusting after a new car, check out ExtremeTech's "The 10 Best Tech Cars of 2012" (and yes, #3, has a X in its name; hat tip to PC Magazine).
But I digress. Back to our predictions, coast-to-coast-to-coast:
>> MSP/SFO: Before we depart the Twin Cities, we hear from Albert Barsocchini, who is discovery counsel and director of strategic consulting for Minnesota-based NightOwl Discovery. "In 2013 we are going to see technology used in other industries for example, business intelligence that is repurposed for legal. BI is a perfect complement to record management, data mapping, and even search," says Barsocchini, who is based in San Francisco. He notes that he's starting to see interest in BI in corporate law departments. "It will be an exciting year as the legal technology market looks outside for new applications."
>> ORD: Theodore Banks, partner at Chicago's Scharf Banks Marmon, says "voice-based applications will finally take off." This year we'll be able to do "everything on your pad or smartphone without a keyboard."
>> JFK: Another New Yorker, Alan Numsuwan, a manager at Deloitte Discovery, is sure that "predictive technologies are going to move past document review very quickly, as the use of technology-assisted review becomes commonplace. The conversation will move to the realms of collection and processing stages of e-discovery," he says.
>> BOS: Fish & Richardson's Chuck DeMille, director of network infrastrucure and compliance, has created a new acronym: HYOD. He expects that "a lot more firms will be buying mobile devices for legal staff as part of a move to Have Your Own Device." While it's "expensive at the beginning, a HYOD policy simplifies the support and application development model for firms now trying to cope with two or three different mobile device platforms," says DeMille, based in the Boston metropolitan area.
>> BNA: Nashville-based Drew Lewis, e-discovery counsel at Recommind, also has a spin on mobile devices: "Companies will rethink BYOD policies, as the anticipated savings disappear after a few rounds of extensive discovery requests involving personal tablets, phones, etc.," says Lewis. "The short run cost saving is a great way for companies to avoid paying hefty fees for iPhones and Galaxy S3 (which are the primary devices consumers want of course, they will still buy a Blackberry should anyone ask for one)," he notes. Companies also avoid paying for the full phone package,"as it is assumed that the phone and data plan will be used, at least some amount, for personal use." But, he cautions, there is often too much uncertainty in BYOD policies, even if the company has a defined (or enforced) policy. "Users are free to download apps on their personal devices and most users have no idea where the data is stored, who has access to it, etc." Another concern: "potential privacy and security issues once there is a perfect storm and simple four digit passwords without dual layer authentication are proven to be as vulnerable as we all have suspected they were from the outset."
>>MCO: Frequent readers of LTN would not need a Ouija Board to guess what Orlando's Ralph Losey, partner and national e-discovery counsel at Jackson Lewis, would call. "More and more law firms and corporate law departments will close down the engineering sections of their litigation support departments and rely instead on single vendor [systems]," he predicts. "The courts will speed this process along in e-discovery cost award cases by articulating the differences between legal and nonlegal services. This will ultimately lead to complete outsourcing of all nonlegal e-discovery services as my firm has done." Want more? Read "Five Reasons to Outsource Litigation Support."
Adam Losey, an associate at Foley & Lardner and president of IT-Lex expects "a very rapid adoption of computer-assisted review as the 'norm' in large document cases." He also predicts increased competition in that arena. "There is already a very healthy competition ... and I expect that to ramp up even more. As the antitrust folks are fond of saying, competition is a great thing for consumers!"
>> DCA: Leigh Issacs, director of records and information governance at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, in its Washington, D.C., office, says "I might be the only one excited about it, but I think the most unexpected legal technology development trend is going to be using predictive coding/analytics technologies typically used for e-discovery for information management tasks." Orrick, she says, is piloting some tasks/projects with Logickull. "Its really intriguing to see these tools be helpful for processes on the left side of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model."
>> IAD: "The deplorable state of information security at most law firms is going to drive many to the cloud," asserts consultant Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, of Fairfax, Va. "Though many leverage cloud computing in some fashion, there has been reluctance to store client data there. That concern is evaporating fast as lawyers respond to clients about security concerns, face business continuity problems from derechos, storms and other natural disasters and begin to recognize that good cloud providers can secure their data better than the law firm can."
>> MCI: Major Baisden is president of Olathe, Kansas-based Iris Data Services. "More and more law firms will move to a managed services model for their litigation support and e-discovery processing, hosting, infrastructure and personnel," he predicts. "The complexity of e-discovery applications is increasing and making it harder for firms to manage, administer, and customize the technology needed to cull, process, and host electronically stored information."
>> SYD: Nuix CEO Eddie Sheehy expects "two unexpected things will happen in legal technology in 2013. First, some organizations will finally give up on the 'keep everything' mentality and start deleting some of the data they dont need. Second, some people will realize their problem isnt with big data its with small tools."
>> EWR: ConsultantRonald Hedges, a retired New Jersey U.S. magistrate judge, suspects that the most "likely" and "frightening (but useful in litigation)" technology trends "will be those that allow the internet (read 'social media') to be searched" to gather "the universe ... of electronically stored information on anyone. But I've seen some of this offered, so I guess it's expected." Hedges also expects, but dreads that there will be more technologies that follow Daegis' mobile app for document review. Hedges worries that mobile review may lead to ethical problems "given where that poor first-year associate or contract lawyer is reading her documents!"
>> SEA: Seattle-based Sachin Bhatia, vice president of product development at Avvo, predicts "an increase in expectations that clients can work with their attorneys online." It started with email, he says, but will expand to appointments, documents, billings, attorney communication, and more. "And, they'll want to do this from their phones. Blending personal touch with great online tools is going to be a key way to provide exceptional client service."
>> MSY: New Orleans' Tom O'Connor, director of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center, and a consultant with Gallivan, Gallivan & O'Melia, turns his attention to education. "I predict that 2013 will be the year that law schools finally leave behind medieval educational methods and begin training attorneys for how to practice law in the 21st century." Wishful thinking, indeed.
>> AUS: Austin's Craig Ball, lawyer and computer forensics examiner, says "the most unexpected legal technology trend in 2013 will be the utter absence of any sea change in legal technology in 2013, despite a healthy uptick in spending for same in all sectors. BYOD, cloud services, and e-discovery including technology-assisted review will all see steady, moderate growth; but, the tools, techniques, and technologies for same will look precisely the same at the end of 2013 as they do today," he predicts. "My justification is the paucity of any innovative tools and technologies in the consumer pipeline poised to invade the legal technology sphere. What did you see for sale this holiday that wasn't available last year? Smaller iPads? Thinner iPhones? Angrier birds? Wake me when there's something really fresh please."
>> CKB: Andrew Adkins III, CIO at Steptoe & Johnson, based in Bridgeport, W.V., was "planning to take an End of theWorld cruise, but that didn't happen." So because we made it past December 21, 2012, Adkins forecasts that "well see a platform that allows sharing of all devices and data: PCs, Macs, iToys, Droids, and whatever else. Drag and drop from anywhere, anytime, anyplace. This will have to combine remote access (Citrix, Microsoft's Remote Desk Protocol), collaboration (SharePoint), and secure File Transfer Protocol. Thats not a wish thats got to be the reality."
Happy new year to all! I predict (and hope) that I'll see you at the New York Hilton on January 29!
Monica Bay is editor-in-chief of Law Technology News and a member of the California bar. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lawtechnews @LTNMonicaBay