Keyword searching was the first controversial advancement in the eDiscovery
field, but as matters grew, it struggled to make large datasets manageable. Early case assessment increased its popularity by facilitating the culling of data to identify a more relevant document set for review.
Today, these options seem almost obsolete as the power of analytics comes to the fore with conceptual searching and technology assisted review
. The rise of cloud computing poses new challenges and opportunities for the legal industry and eDiscovery service providers.
We have seen significant changes in software licensing and delivery models with increasing amounts of Software as a Service offerings, also referred to as SaaS or “on-demand software”. Microsoft’s release of Office 365 was the biggest development in this space with its subscription-based offering. Microsoft claims that 80 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies are currently on the Microsoft Cloud (Microsoft, 2016).
The impact of this on the legal industry is clear and introduces new considerations to the eDiscovery process including access to data stored on the cloud and jurisdictional concerns related to data sovereignty. Law firms are having to service clients who are more technically savvy or, at the very least, have high expectations around efficient processes. This creates a challenging environment for legal providers because skilled legal advice must now be accompanied by technical expertise.
The key is education. The profession must stay up to date with the options available to them to address the technical challenges of today’s environment. eDiscovery experts should be engaged and these experts should provide use cases to explain the benefits of solutions or workflows to deal with any given matter and its technological challenges. This environment also provides law firms with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage with a proactive approach to technology.
This article appeared in the June 2016 issue of Lawyers Weekly.
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