Published: February 5, 2011
We came, we saw, we networked.
This week's storms across the US added some much-needed thrills for LegalTech 2011 attendees. By Day 3 this year it felt even more than usual like we might not all escape the New York Hilton and return to our families unscathed.
In industry news, there was less to write home about. Many of the show's over-arching trends were Déjà vu all over again - Mimecast said it best with their Legaltech "Groundhog's Day" formula . Some vendors must have gone back into their holes for a year after February 2nd 2010.
Here are some of the more notable themes and releases:
Cloud-based everything - Several vendors launched cloud-based archiving or collection tools, often as an "as-a-service" on-ramp to downstream processes like review. Autonomy announced cloud-based information management combining WorkSite, Records Management, Search, Process Automation, and ConflictsManager. Kroll Ontrack demoed hosted repository service Ontrack Guardian. Bloomberg launched Bloomberg Vault, a consolidated hosted archiving and compliance solution. BIA launched a cloud-based collection tool. Trial Solutions introduced SelfLoader for adding data to its cloud-based review tool at no charge.
Self-service improvements - Many of the cloud offerings were aimed at better legal self-service, still a key differentiator in e-discovery. Whose fault this is depends on who you ask: according to vendors, it's "non-technical" legal users to blame, but on the other hand there's no shortage of poorly-designed tools playing catch-up to the legal use case. Regardless, better self-service is needed to foster independence from IT, cut review time (and cost) with better workflow, and provide more transparency into outsourced parts of the process for general counsel. More importantly, it's vital for vendors to appeal to the legal buyer, when too many aiming at enterprise sales are still geared towards an IT sell. Products boasted low-click usability makeovers, improved dashboards and single-pane consoles, among them Autonomy and CaseCentral. GGO launched a "Pro" single-user desktop processing version of Digital WarRoom for under $1000.
Fixed Rate Managed Review and LPO - Others still prefer "full service" to "self-service." Service providers are betting big on clients outsourcing part or all of the process, particularly at a fixed rate made possible by contract reviewers and central project management, instead of relying directly on law firms. FTI's Acuity hit big in 2010 with fixed rate all-in pricing for managed review, as have more traditional LPO players like Integreon. DiscoverReady and Huron Consulting made major announcements this year.
Process Management - While service providers are anxious to fill the void for those outsourcing project management, software tools continue to beef up their own capabilities. Exterro launched Fusion v. 4. PSS Systems debuted post-acquisition as part of IBM. Wave Software announced its purchase of iFramework, integrated last year with Trident Pro. Other tools added more features for gauging data volume, cost, risk, and productivity across individual or multiple matters - among them Autonomy and CaseCentral. Legal hold gathered steam as well, following a year of judicial emphasis on preservation and sanctions. kCura appeared behind Method Legal Hold and Relativity v. 6.9, boasting rapid progress in growing its channel (significantly in direct enterprise sales), while Zapproved and Bridgeway continued making their own strides.
Concept search and automated coding- Should culling happen at collection, processing, review, or pre-emptively? The answer is still "yes," but advanced search in review was especially ubiquitous this year. Clearwell by Symantec released "transparent concept search." Kroll Ontrack released Ontrack Inview 6.5 with Intelligent Categorization. DiscoverReady trumpeted automated review. Recommind added QC sampling to its Axcelerate predictive coding. Equivio boasted more direct law firm and even enterprise sales. CaseCentral added concept clusters, faceted search, and visualizations in v. 5 with new search technology.
Integration continues - Major players continue integrating their acquisitions, smaller ones are banding together, and everyone is integrating with more data sources. EMC announced an eGRC platform integrating IIG information governance, Data Domain disaster recovery and RSA Archer security. FTI announced Ringtail 8, more closely unifying Ringtail and Attenex. AccessData is integrating its acquisition of Summation with its e-discovery platform, highlighted in its web-based CaseVantage offering. New partnership announcements came from Digital Reef, Exterro, kCura, RenewData and Wave Software. StoredIQ announced deeper integration with (and support for) SharePoint.
Education - One highlight was the announcement of the Law Institute, a free education initiative spearheaded by SEC Special Counsel for Electronic Discovery, Patrick Oot and the Electronic Discovery Institute, and sponsored by several industry vendors.
Last but not least, ESG previewed some of our own projects for the next year at our 30+ briefings, which I'll detail in future posts - stay tuned for more to come.
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