The New York Law Journal recently published an article entitled, “Can Technology ‘De-Commoditize’ Document Review?” In stark contrast to many of the doomsday articles and blogs posted in response to the March 4, 2011, front-page New York Times story, “Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software,” the New York Law Journal authors wisely point out that while the introduction of new technologies will likely reduce the demand for some traditional services, including linear document review, there also is a tremendous opportunity for lawyers who become experts in the use of these new technologies and processes. We couldn’t agree more. Automated review strategies, such as our i-Decision® process, may cut down on demand for traditional document review time, but supervising attorney time is still a must in creating review guidelines, analyzing sample documents, and in documenting the steps in the process in order to satisfy any 30(b)(6) or similar matters that arise.
In fact, we don’t think that the “opportunities” will end with individual supervising attorneys. It’s hardly news that we are working in an era where clients recognize that the discovery process can be the most expensive aspect of a case, and where those same clients are demanding more value from their service providers. We believe the law firms who can demonstrate a high degree of competence leveraging automated review strategies, such as i-Decision® and PrivBank®, will have a significant advantage in pitching and retaining business from discerning corporate clients.
Review automation is here to stay and the stakes (and rewards) are high for the lawyers and firms that become masters of this very new domain of document review.