Most recognize that cloud computing will be the new norm for lawyers, if it’s not already. But not just because of the usual cited reasons of accessibility, efficiency or security.
 
I chat periodically with David Carns, Chief Revenue Officer of Casepoint, to find out what his company is up to. But also to get his take on what’s going on in the legal tech world.  Casepoint is an e-discovery cloud-based provider. It offers data-based intelligence and full-spectrum eDiscovery, including cloud collections, and review and customizable productions. It also data processing, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence service. I have written several posts about the company and our chats.
 
David is always interesting and insightful. When I talked to him last week about what was going on in his world, I was a bit surprised by his view about the changes to the legal profession that Covid will bring about.
 
David’s view is forget remote working. Forget changing office design and spaces. Forget work time/place flexibility. The real change says David: acceptance and use by lawyers of cloud computing and what it can do.
As firms begin returning to the office, they will remain hooked on the benefits of SaaS and cloud computing. The benefits are too great.
 
David told me that SaaS and cloud computing demand went through the roof when the pandemic set in, as we all know. But David correctly notes that as firms begin returning to the office, they will remain hooked on the benefits of SaaS and cloud computing. The benefits are too great. And SaaS and cloud computing use will only expand, maybe exponentially, and be the most lasting impact of the virus on law. David is right for three reasons, among others.
 
First accessibility. At the beginning of the pandemic, people were not in the mood, nor could they maintain on-prem systems when there was no one on-prem to run and manage them. People (lawyers are people; well, more or less) had to have their work, files, and tools accessible from anywhere. Lawyers like that flexibility and aren’t going to give it up.
 
Secondly, efficiency. Software like that offered by Casepoint drives efficiencies in ediscovery. Better results in less time. It can enable better budgeting and promote the use of alternative fees. But it enables efficiencies in other ways that may impact law in general. A single piece of software allows numerous people from different locations and in various business specialties log into a centralized system. This in turn leads to for a more integrated organization. As such, the software becomes integrated into everything they do.
 
Not only does this make processes more efficient, but it also results in reduced costs. Firms no longer need to pay for on-prem services and IT staff to run them. This cost saving comes at a time where cost reduction has become the new watchword for firms, as I have previously discussed. The need to reduce law firm costs ain’t going away.
 
Sure, no big revelation here.
But there’s a third and perhaps most important reason SaaS will rule the legal world.
 
 
But there’s a third and perhaps most important reason SaaS will rule the legal world. Says David, “Lawyers came to the cloud for flexibility but will stay for AI.” Casepoint, for example, runs 1000s of servers and has added constantly running software. The software can make predictions about documents and their relevance. More importantly, it can analyze how people using the software previoulsy characterized similar document sets. This predictive ability will enable the system to tell a document reviewer: based on what others have done with other similar sets of documents, here’s a category of documents for which there is an 80% relevancy chance. This couldn’t be done with an on-prem system. Casepoint offers this by default.
It’s no longer limited to litigation.
 
 
This predictive kind of analytical ability opens doors to other possibilities as well. “People assume SaaS was going to be efficient. But they underestimate how effective it can be in other ways’, according to David. Casepoint is already being used to drive efficiency, and get better results in internal investigations, data breach responses, compliance generated responses, and even FOIA responses. Anyplace where there is a need to sift through a lot of data, determine what is relevant, and then provide that data to someone else.
 
And as what can be done with this analytical ability becomes better known, David thinks clients (which David believes to be informed buyers) will refuse to use firms that aren’t using SaaS to maximum advantage. Client demand, says David, will drive even greater and more and more innovative uses. And as lawyers become more and more enamored with SaaS and cloud computing for accessibility and efficiencies purposes, they will also be more likely to embrace the other advantages the cloud offers.

 

It’s no longer limited to litigation.

But here’s the thing and the main reason why David is right about the impact of SaaS and cloud computing. Companies like Casepoint are sitting on a wealth of data. This data can drive AI and predictive analytics in new and exciting ways and finally make it mainstream. What Casepoint is doing, along with companies like Clearbrief and products like WeSearch about which I have previously written, enable in-house and law firms to see the possibilities. Tools to help get work done, assess exposures and even prevent the events that drive disputes. It’s not just sifting through data and providing what is relevant. It’s the ability to use and communicate what the data shows in ways we are are beginning to realize.

 

The contest between on-prem (and intuitive, wild ass guess predictions) and cloud computing (data driven predictions and analysis) is over. Driven by discovery providers, the cloud has won
 
E-discovery often does not get due credit for driving change in the legal industry. Lawyers often have little choice but to embrace and use ediscovery tools that make work more efficient. This is because ediscovery responses are deadline driven and the lawyer often has little choice but to be as efficient as possible. The result: edocovery providers can make and sell tools that make lawyers work more efficiently and better. They are not held hostage to the reluctance of lawyers to adopt technology that reduces billable hours. So we get advances that push the envelope that lawyers and clients are already familiar and comfortable with that can be applied to other non ediscovery areas.
 
The contest between on-prem (and intuitive, wild ass guess predictions) and cloud computing (data driven predictions and analysis) is over. Driven by discovery providers, the cloud has won. And that may be the lasting change in law.

Want to have an in-person event again? It’s all about organization and risk management. Just ask the West Virginia State Bar Association.

 

It’s spring. A time for rebirth. And slowly, ever so slowly, people are getting back together, coming out of their caves bleary-eyed. And while some organizations are beginning to THINK about returning to in-person live meetings and conferences, one organization has already done it.

 

On April 10-12 at the Greenbrier resort in Lewisburg, West Virginia, the West Virginia State Bar Association became the first state bar to return to in-person meetings. (For that matter, I haven’t heard of any legal tech organizations having live events yet).

Continue Reading Live From West Virginia, It’s the Annual State Bar Association Meeting

I was pleased to hear the recent announcement that Natalie Kelly, the former Director of Law Practice Management for the Georgia State Bar Association, has accepted the position of Director of Legal Management at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC or Center).

 

Natalie is one of my favorite people. Since I hadn’t had the chance to talk with her in a while, I reached out to Natalie recently. I wanted to get her thoughts about her new position. We talked about her new job, the SPLC itself, legal tech, and even the responsibility of law firms and law firm leaders to speak out against hate.

Continue Reading Natalie Kelly: Fighting Hate, Teaching Tolerance, Enhancing Justice

Legal and legal tech conferences have shied away from using avatar platforms for fears their constituents won’t accept them. They shouldn’t.

 

Like most of you, I’ve been to more virtual conferences the past year than I care to count. You know the drill: you sign up thinking you will diligently attend. The conference starts, and your attention wanders. You look to the exhibit hall, and it’s a bunch of videos or chat rooms populated by God knows who. As the conference drags on, it’s harder and harder to keep engaged. As the day closes, there is the proverbial zoom happy hour. This is a usually pretty dreadful affair with a bunch of talking heads interrupting one another. I’d rather drink alone.

Continue Reading Lawyers Can Be Avatars: Just Give ‘Em a Chance

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those with loaded guns and those that dig. You dig”.

Blondie to Tuco in the 1966 movie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

The increased number and sophistication of litigation analytical programs calls to mind the above line from one of my favorite movies, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. In the movie, the line sums up the obvious advantage a character holding a loaded gun (Blondie, played by Clint Eastwood) over a character with an unloaded one (Tuco, played by Eli Wallach). To paraphrase Blondie, there will soon be two types of litigators in this world: those who use litigation analytics and those who, well…dig. For those who use analytics, its a good time to be a litigator.

Continue Reading It’s a Good Time to Be a Litigator…If

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Malcolm X

 

Last week, the Future Trials Working Group of the New York Commission to Reimagine the Future of Courts rendered a comprehensive Report. And it’s chock full of sound analysis and imagining about where Courts, at least in New York, may be going. The Report identifies the critical issues and challenges evolving technology poses for our court systems. (A tip of the hat to my friend Matt Cairns for sending me the Report

 

The Commission itself was formed in June 2020 by New York Chief Judge Janet DiFore. It mission was to make recommendations to improve the quality and delivery of legal services in New York. The Future Trials Group was one of 6 groups established by the Commission.

Continue Reading New York’s Vision of the Future of Courts

If you’re looking for a post about legal tech and innovation like those which usually appear here, you will be sorely disappointed. This post has nothing to do with legal tech, tech in general, or innovation. No gentle reader, this post is about something else entirely. It’s about a celebration and hope for the future.

 

If you’re wondering why I’m straying from the usual fare, it’s because I can. As then-candidate Ronald Reagan once said when a debate moderator tried to silence him, “I paid for this mike.” Got to hand it to Ronnie, regardless of what you thought of his politics (I don’t agree with them), he did have a way with words. And yes, I know I’m dating myself. I really don’t care. (Here’s the video of that moment btw). Continue Reading This Is NOT About LegalTech…

It makes perfect sense for business people to lead practice groups, law firms and even corporate legal departments. But lawyers are held back by hubris and an antiquated business structure.
 
 
Kate Tompkins is the Practice Group Leader of Latrobe GPM’s Intellectual Property Group. And she is not a practicing lawyer; she doesn’t even have a JD.
 
Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert recently interviewed Tompkins on their Geek In Review Podcast. If you don’t subscribe to this podcast, I strongly recommend it. It’s always interesting and enlightening.

Continue Reading Can a Non-JD Professional Head a Practice Group? A Law Firm? The (Gasp) GC Office?

According to a recent article by Gregg Wirth in Thompson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, the notion of the fancy traditional downtown office of law firms is fundamentally changing. And with it ultimately, in my view, the nature of the profession. Three immediate factors are driving this change: partners are embracing remote work, the trickle-down effect on the use of technology, and a new emphasis on cutting costs. All three of these factors will change how lawyers view tech and working from a central.

 

Continue Reading Law Firms Reduce Office Space: Three Reasons It’s Important

The traditional law firm. Composed of partners: the firm owners who toiled in the associate vineyards for several years and who were ultimately rewarded with the brass ring. A partnership, a piece of the ownership of the firm. A piece of security that tied you to the firm and your partners. On the other side were the associates—those who worked hard toward partnership and the security it brought.
 

Continue Reading Non Equity Partnerships and the Changing Law Firm Culture