We have seen analytics used in exciting ways in the world of e-Discovery. One of the most significant technological innovations has been the development of machine learning or TAR (technology assisted review). Machine learning can drastically reduce the duration and costs of document review. We have helped clients use it with great success.
The OBA recently held a seminar on “Innovation in Litigation: Responding to Changes in the Legal Industry”. Mitch Kowalski spoke about the sources and benefits of innovation, and in particular the influence of technology on the practice of law. Kowalski described great innovations in the application of information analytic technology in legal research applications. These applications rely on analytics to provide answers to legal questions. There is a developing interest in the market for automated legal services, and we expect the interest to increase.
Despite the hype, these innovative tools still rely on human expertise and experience to deliver full value. In order to benefit from the efficiency offered by technological innovation, law firms and their clients need to understand how the technology operates and how it should be used for accurate, defensible results. Firms like ours that combine great technology with great processes are already deriving significant value from technological innovation. We recommend that all firms do what is necessary to keep up with technological innovation.
Last year, Ashley Madison, the extramarital-affair website, experienced a widely publicized data breach. Some information was leaked, and some information was held for ransom. The breach compromised the personal information of 37 million users.
One allegation put forth as a result of the leaked information was that Ashley Madison created fake female profiles on their website. These Fembots (Female Robot user profiles, a reference to female robots in the Austin Powers movies) were created to lure men into purchasing accounts.
This claim has led to a class action lawsuit in the U.S., and is the subject of a dispute over whether litigants can use hacked data released to the public in their case (see this motion). Basically, it asks “Is leaked data in the public domain”?
For the first time, Millennials (those between 19 and 35 years old as of this year) surpassed the Gen-Xers (people between 36 and 51) as the largest employed group in the U.S., according to a report by Pew Research (“Labor Force by Generation analysis”).
Millennials have been raised in the digital era. They were weaned on the Internet, started using smartphones while still in school, were introduced to Facebook and Twitter in their teens, and are now the most digitally connected group in the world.
The nature of digital communication continues to evolve. More and more data is stored on an increasing array of storage devices and locations, and ever more varying forms, from social media postings to emoticons. While luddite legal professionals will continue to print out volumes of paper or review digitized paper equivalents on computers, these methods are reaching the breaking point. New workflows and systems are constantly being developed to meet the challenges arising from the changes in the way we communicate. The legal profession is undergoing an evolutionary change.
Growing up as “digital natives”, Millennials naturally look for technology to solve their problems. They, more than any other group, are uniquely suited to embrace the new technology-centered processes that the next decade will demand. In 2020 and beyond, the new kids on the block will be the ones soaring to greater heights in e-discovery and information management.