The role of lawyers is set to change more rapidly in the next decade than it has in the last 100 years. Here is a summary of the biggest trends for 2020.
Managed Document Review (MDR) – More Versatile, Quick and Being Adopted In-House
Requests from regulatory bodies such as ASIC, the ATO, ACCC, and Royal and Special Commissions (among others) will become more frequent and ferocious. This has pushed our clients to look for new solutions from their MDR providers, including faster and more frequent turnaround with much shorter ramp up periods.
Perhaps less expected is the back office uses that MDR has been turned to, including digitisation with the move to paperless/paperlite offices, contract review and cataloguing of office data.
CBA did a recent survey with law firms where 57% (up from 43%) are looking to leverage legal service providers to provide support and this will only increase as clients demand more choice and everyone comes under pressure to cut costs.
Clients will demand access to eDiscovery tools, particularly AI. As clients become more savvy about eDiscovery, they are increasingly looking for access to all the toys in the eDiscovery toy chest, with AI now almost as standard. This is then reflected in the way that Review Teams work, perhaps reviewing following the application of active learning or reviewing datasets identified through concept clustering.
Consultants will Play an Important Role in a Very Saturated, High Growth Legal Tech Market
eDiscovery technology is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 10% to 2023 – a value of US$17.32 billion. Asia Pacific (APAC) is expected to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
Underpinning this thriving market is Legal Tech Funding which increased by 750 percent in 2019 to $1.9 billion. This is set to continue into the 2020s.
Australia is the biggest host of legal technology companies in APAC apart from China and we have nearly double the saturation compared to the US market, so it can be difficult for legal professionals to find the most beneficial products and services. This is where consultants continue to play an important role.
An Ever-Increasing Data Pool and Courts’ Preference for Forensically Acquired Data
Continued developments in technology are providing personal devices with a greater level of storage and privacy. From an investigation perspective, this means devices like mobile phones can hold more personal data and give greater connectivity with the cloud.
These developments also result in blurred lines between personal and work-related use of devices. Many people now use multiple devices in any given day. The issues raised by multiple data sources is often further compounded by cloud storage. Data is often duplicated on multiple devices and often times there is more data for analysis.
In investigations, time is often of the essence, so as a result, there has been an increased focus on prioritisation and faster evidence processing. Courts are continuing to rely more heavily on forensically acquired and examined data rather than self-collected evidence or photos of evidence.
Legal Technology is Reducing Costs and Optimising Productivity in the Hearing Room
With automated systems and electronic evidence, legal processes will be more simplified and streamlined.
Operating costs will reduce and productivity optimised as more take up the latest digital hearing technologies and processes for their eHearings including Online Hearing Book, Electronic Evidence Presentation, Live Web Streaming, Real-time Transcription, Remote Witness Video Conferencing, and Legal Services Project Management and Logistics Management.