From Legal Tech NY 2010: the technology

Feb 9th, 2010 | By | Category: LegalTech NY 2010

This post is one of several summarizing our coverage of LegalTech New York 2010.  For our other posts click here.

LegalTech NYC 2010   200 x 100

Reported by:  Gregory Bufithis

InsideLegal counted 96 eDiscovery/litigation support vendors present and as they said — and we agree — everybody’s theme was predictable, up-front, and simple to understand pricing.   Makes sense: increased competition in the e-discovery space, smaller budgets all around. 

The two “big” technology launchs were: 

1.  Thomson Reuters Legal’s launch of WestlawNext, the self-proclaimed “next generation in legal research”.  There was a major press conference, and first-class multimedia show which touted “the most comprehensive and expensive R&D project in the company’s legal history”. 

2.  LexisNexis announced their tie-up with Microsoft. Their new offering, LexisNexis for Microsoft Office, aims to “empower lawyers to search and find relevant research in the Office applications they already use”. 

For a good “starter” review click here.

Everybody seemed to be selling “pre-review data culling/processing” as part of their ECA package  and they all seemed to be hawking per-gigabyte contract review. As the 451 Group mentioned (link below) all the ECA product releases in the last year seem to have made it a de facto step in the ediscovery process, the only argument remaining is how early it should occur – as early as the initial data gathering at identification and collection, or just before review but after processing?

The 451 Group review does a great job reviewing three trends: price sensitivity, new software releases, and changes in the nformation management reference model.  For their full blog post click here.

And for a great analysis of the vendors that offer all-in-one e-discovery software that sweeps from the far left to the far right of the EDRM see Sean Doherty’s post for law.com (click here). 

We spoke with 20+ software and service providers at LegalTech (including briefings we were invited to) and we attended the EDRM luncheon where we spoke with Sandra Song of H5, one of the co-chairs of the group tasked with building the Information Management Reference Model (IMRM).  For some background click here and click here.  We’ll have an in-depth interview with Sandra in the coming weeks about the model, and about her company H5.

A major trend we see:  multilingual software and service has risen and will continue to rise in importance.   Many firms are now recognizing the need to localize applications and content across cultural and geographic boundaries. Though the technology has been around for a while to enable that, a mindset shift is propelling the requirement forward.  It is the recognition that employees and partners operate more effectively in their native language rather than using English as a second language.   But it has an ecoonomic bend, too:  the potential to sell outside of the saturated English language market.   The Internet era, rather than push us toward the goal of English as the lingua franca, has given us the tools to revitalize and re-recognize native tongues.   It the reason we have seen a proliferation of foreign law web sites, and foreign law social media sites.

And it is why we saw a doubling of the vendors offering foreign language software and services and vendors who are integrating non-English language translation into document review workflows (as an example see the Merrill Corporation press release here).   And it explains the spike in Asian e-discovery vendors at LegalTech as Asian-based e-discovery soars.  

Part of it is outsource/cost driven.  In America, Britain and Canada, most commentary on legal process outsourcing refers to providers in India, where English is commonly spoken and the common law prevails. But for in-house counsel whose primary work language is French or Spanish, other countries contend for the work.  For example, as explained in the current issue of European Lawyer , “outsourcers are looking at other regions, such as Morocco and Romania to cater for the French, Italian and German markets and where a full-time equivalent lawyer will typically cost one-fifth of what it does in those European jurisdictions.”  The search for low-cost providers of legal-related services extends to another common language:  “They are also beginning to target Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras for the Spanish market.”

We’ll explore this trend in more detail in a later post when we launch our foreign language e-discovery site.

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