Earlier this month, Lexpert Business of Law put out the article, Transformative Practice: will the traditional law firm model dominate much longer in Canada?, which comments on the current and changing state of the Canadian law firm market. It's a worth-while read, but what really resonated with me was this quote:
"... far less happens in two years than expected, but what happens in 10 can be beyond your wildest dreams.”
This quote is true on both personal and professional levels, and reminds us that we are all in a state of constant transformation.
As a global ediscovery service provider, we have had the benefit of working with an amazing cross-section of clients – law firms, corporations and government agencies of all demographics and sizes. Historically, we have found that the most forward-thinking law firms have been the ones to pioneer technology-based discovery practices, and having been doing so for some time. But it has not been easy...
10 years ago, working with law firms to scan their paper into digital and move away from the creation of multiple binder sets for manual sorting and resorting was an uphill climb, and one that included cost-benefit analyses, Summation iBlaze on-boarding, and articulation of the value of up front bills to the client.
2 years ago, technology assisted review (TAR, predictive coding) was introduced into mainstream litigation support technologies. While no one would venture to use it on their cases, it was considered a “must have” criteria when seeking out a replacement to iBlaze. We all knew some big changes were brewing.
Today, with the explosion of electronic data, the use of analytics has become a common and accepted method for improving the efficiency of the review process on many cases. However, the demographic has shifted – it's now corporate clients that are becoming ediscovery pioneers. Corporations are highly motivated to eliminate the "fire drill" around evidence management and to solidify ediscovery as a business process. As a result, they are investing in technology to better manage and access the documents that will enhance the value and predictability of their legal spend.
Looking ahead, I predict that over the next 2-5 years, the dust will settle on the “exploration” of in-house capabilities. Law Firms will do what they do best: differentiate themselves around their expertise and their ability to develop strategic alliances and, leverage technology to enhance the impact of that expertise (i.e., manage evidence in a more strategic manner). Corporations will continue to gravitate towards law firms and providers that can offer services that are predictable, proportional, demonstrate hard dollar savings and align to their overarching business needs. And finally, Service Providers will act as a cohesive bridge between the two by hosting the data and working in trilateral partnership to support the defensible and cost-effective management of evidence.