Because It’s Legal Tech Time

My post this week in the Advanced Discovery blog:

It’s January and the Super Bowl is close, so that means that it’s time for Legal Tech New York. Although this year the Super Bowl is the Sunday after Legal Tech (and the Sunday BEFORE Mardi Gras for anyone who wanted to know when Mardi Gras is this year), so we won’t have any conflicts with conference dinners or parties.

And make no mistake, Legal Tech is a great venue for parties. Although not so many as the annual ILTA conference, it is in New York and entertainment opportunities abound. For me personally, those always presented great venues for meeting people in the eDiscovery field who I wouldn’t normally get to see throughout the year. The picture below from a late night dinner at the now defunct Stage Deli is an excellent example …. and a free cigar to anyone who can name all the people in the picture. A Fuentes cigar to anyone who can name the person at the head of the table taking the picture.

LT NYC

But if you’re attending, and you wander through the Exhibit Hall, be on the lookout for the following trends from eDiscovery vendors.

The first is the continued movement by hosting companies to add more features which can distinguish them from the competition. Analytic tools, intelligent search engines, easier folder setups, better user interfaces, partnerships with other service companies, integrated processing: all of these are part of the ongoing development of hosted databases with better, faster and more efficient feature sets.

Service will be king in the hosting arena this year as pricing becomes lower and more competitive. The ability to assist clients with front end decision making and more transparent pricing policies is more important than ever. I expect to see even more competitive pricing as the demand for these services increases throughout the year.

Third, is the increasing appearance among eDiscovery vendors for a flat-rate or per document pricing model. I have seen this approach last year in several project bids. It was usually a thinly disguised attempt by major vendors to low ball, or even give away collection and processing, in order to land the hosting and review of a project. However, now smaller vendors are embracing the concept and you can expect to see six or more companies at Legal Tech offer this price model.

My primary concern with this approach is that, if the document population changes radically during the project, and the vendor finds itself in a position of having underbid the cost based on that shift, there will be a push to get documents reviewed quickly and not necessarily accurately in order to maintain an acceptable profit margin. Now this can be handled by specific price structuring that provides for floating costs based on regular project reviews of the document population.But I am still somewhat troubled by attempts to “guesstimate” document levels at the beginning of a project.

If you are attending I will be there all day Tuesday and on Wednesday AM. Members of our Solutions team will be doing demos of Discovery Control, our latest front end to Relativity, which gives users insight into legal work they can potentially reuse in multiple matters, helping to lower eDiscovery costs and drive document review efficiency. You can click here to sign up for a demo, or send me an email at tom.oconnor@advanceddiscovery.com and I’ll be happy to meet with you for a quick chat.

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