The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

Looking back on LegalTech New York 2014

February 19th, 2014

LegalTech 2014 is over for another year and since I am now back in New Zealand (and having the chance to thaw out), I have now found the opportunity to share my observations from the latest iteration of the industry’s leading Legal Technology event.

This year’s LegalTech will be remembered by the cold and the snow in New York in February, which did impact on many travelling to New York. However LegalTech still had in excess of 10,000 in attendance at the Hilton in midtown New York. In addition there were over 200 exhibition booths with providers showcasing their products and services – most familiar names, but also some new players to the market.

LegalTech continues to be a great opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals that face similar issues. As well as the endless meetings, conference sessions and demos, LegalTech is an opportunity to catch up with old friends, some of which I only get to see once a year. For me LegalTech 2014 was my busiest yet as far as meetings away from the show as well as numerous demos and discussions about the latest developments – not to mention the many parties long into the night.

LegalTech yet again launched a number of new products and developments, but 2014 also consolidated some of the themes from last year’s LegalTech.

The evolution of Predictive Coding

As has been the trend over the past few years now, Predictive Coding still dominated LegalTech 2014.

Many had anticipated that Predictive Coding may fall away like ECA (Early Case Assessment) had a few years back. As you went around the exhibition booths, the Predictive Coding message was front and centre for most of the providers.

What we did see this year was the further evolution of Predictive Coding/Technology Assisted Review, in both its transparency, but also the workflow around its use. The attention of the main Predictive Coding providers has moved on from solely the transparency to understanding the process and ensuring that Predictive Coding is done right. There is even greater emphasis on the importance of the workflow that goes around the Predictive Coding process.

Predictive Coding is not a silver bullet

There appears to be a greater appreciation from providers that Predictive Coding is not a silver bullet, but one of many tools that should be considered to suit the specific requirements of a matter.

Information Governance is here to stay

Information Governance continued to attract more attention, with many of the more traditional eDiscovery players now focussing on the importance of Information Governance and the management of ‘Big Data’.

We saw the tools that are being used for Predictive Coding in eDiscovery also being talked about being used elsewhere. This is effectively taking the Predictive Coding/TAR tools and applying them to Information Governance.

The Information Governance message mostly involved how the analytical tools could be used to better understand and manage their business data. The tools that have previously been the sole domain of eDiscovery and litigation can be used to assist organisations to make better business decisions.

Catching up with sponsors of the New Zealand eDiscovery Conference

At the show I was fortunate to be able to spend time with the sponsors of the 2nd Annual New Zealand eDiscovery Conference, namely Nuix, EDT, Symantec and Recommind. They are all making significant strides in the industry and many delegates at LegalTech spoke very positively of their recent developments. All took some time away from their hectic schedules to meet with me and discuss their latest developments in further detail.

It will be good to catch up with all of these service and software providers again in a few weeks at the 2nd Annual New Zealand eDiscovery Conference.

Final takeaways

Many of the established industry providers are now offering their clients multiple software options. Many of these decisions are driven by the demands of their existing clients.

A number of providers are moving away from the traditional eDiscovery model that largely centred on expensive per GB and/or per user pricing. The shift is all designed to provide more cost effective options for clients, but also more cost predictability in an industry that historically hasn’t been so easy to do so. To achieve these efficiencies many providers are moving away from the multiple tool approach and focussing on the one solution that can be used for the matters entire lifecycle.

Even though technology continues to evolve at an alarming rate, I think some may occasionally lose sight of the fact that the tools are there to enable lawyers to get to the key documents quickly and cost effectively. An event like LegalTech is a great platform to find out about the tools, but more importantly then devising a way to deploy the tools to assist lawyers in how they work.

As always there is plenty happening in the eDiscovery and legal technology space and I am sure by this time next year the industry would have moved on even further. The dates for LegalTech 2015 are already marked in my diary – I just hope for some warmer weather next time around.



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