Thought Leader Observations

Thought Leader Observations from the Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics Team: eDiscovery Trends

Time for another thought leader interview on eDiscovery Today! This interview is a bit different in that it involves multiple thought leaders from the Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP team!

Recently, I asked the team for their observations on the eight trends that were discussed in eDiscovery Today’s 2023 State of the Industry report, released in January. Here are their observations on the first three trends.

How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the legal profession, if at all?

  • Kelley Hempson, Senior Solutions Delivery Manager: The innovative approaches judges undertook to ensure access to the courts have long-standing applications. These technological solutions (e.g., web-based docket scheduling/remote participation at hearings) showcase how the courts are looking at ways to meet the people where they are.
  • Lana Pellegrino, Managing Director: It has accelerated the use of technology across the profession. Those that were holding out or mistrusting were forced into the use of technology that they were hesitant to embrace and so many have said they wished they had made the leap sooner. Also, there was a creativity to how technology was leveraged (to Kelley’s point regarding the courts).
  • Nicholas Wittenberg, Specialist Leader: Multiple industries and organizations are still navigating whether to be in person, virtual, or hybrid. This has caused technological challenges such as ensuring strong cyber postures are identified, especially when individuals are working remotely; organizational cohesiveness is still maintained; as well as identifying opportunities so that day to day operations are run smoothly. Furthermore, the profession should look to ensure that training still progresses even if the apprentice model has gone virtual. However, the profession was forced to adapt rather quickly and video conferencing from multiple providers became a reality. This new reality has also caused organizations to examine current policies where virtual meetings may be more efficient and in other cases where in-person is better suited for a particular situation.
  • Amy Van Meter, Service Delivery Manager: It continues to require a hybrid work environment and, in general, flexibility. The legal profession was successful in leveraging technology when in-person presence was not possible, and I see this continuing, particularly when numerous stakeholders may be geo-located across the US.

Do you think in-person conferences are back at the level they were before the pandemic began? Why or why not?

  • Nicholas Wittenberg, Specialist Leader: It depends. Virtual conferences have allowed access to events that previously may have been hampered due to scheduling or resource limitations. The virtual option has opened a new world of possibility. However, in-person meetings allow for much needed comradery and networking which can seamlessly happen after a panel concludes their presentation.
  • Julie Strong, Software Engineering Manager: I attended one in-person conference in 2022 and my impression is that it was back to the pre-pandemic levels. However, I’ve been seeing a trend of conferences offering both virtual and in-person options to accommodate everyone and broaden their audiences.
  • Kelley Hempson, Senior Solutions Delivery Manager: Whether we are seeing more in-person returns, I appreciate the opportunities for virtual attendance. This allows for many more in the industry to access important industry events where travel costs and schedules may prevent attendance otherwise.

What single development (e.g., software feature, UI enhancement, court ruling, standardized protocol, education, etc.) do you think would help further the adoption of predictive coding the most and why?

  • Amy Van Meter, Service Delivery Manager: Education! Data is only getting messier and growing in size, elevating predictive coding from optional to very necessary. While predictive coding may seem foreign to the non-technical attorney, it is worth investment and I believe educating/training others on this will lead to more widespread adoption.
  • John Fuex, VP, Product Management: Artificial intelligence (AI) technology, including language analytics, is going to be a major disruptive change and drive widespread acceptance of AI/ML (machine learning) across a wide range of industries. Once the “civilian” world has come to accept AI as a trusted technology, lawyers who still eschew it are going to have to adapt or risk becoming obsolete. It will become difficult to compete with firms that embrace the wave of innovation.
  • Colleen Straniero, AVP, Service Delivery: The ability to see “under the hood” in terms of what terms/phrases the machine likely deems relevant versus what words/phrases the machine sees as likely non-relevant, is very important to confirm accuracy of the results. Not all predictive coding applications offer this functionality.
  • Nicholas Wittenberg, Specialist Leader: Further education, presentations, and demonstrated use case scenarios can help individuals to gain an understanding of and better trust of AI. In the past five years, there has been an explosion of individuals using AI from smart home devices, navigation programs, online shopping, to numerous other cases throughout one’s daily life. Additionally, great thought and research has gone into reducing biases, protecting privacy, as well as helping the accuracy of AI to get better. This is exciting as Always Improving Artificial Intelligence is happening daily.

We’re just getting started!  Part two of my interview with the Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics team will be published on Wednesday.

So, what do you think?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclosure: Deloitte is an Educational Collaborator of eDiscovery Today

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.


Leave a Reply