eDiscovery Daily Blog

Nigel Murray of Huron Legal – eDiscovery Trends

This is the eighth of the 2013 LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series.  eDiscoveryDaily interviewed several thought leaders at LTNY this year and generally asked each of them the following questions:

  1. What are your general observations about LTNY this year and how it fits into emerging trends?
  2. If last year’s “next big thing” was the emergence of predictive coding, what do you feel is this year’s “next big thing”?
  3. What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Today’s thought leader is Nigel Murray.  Nigel is Managing Director at Huron Legal.  Nigel has been at the forefront of the litigation support and e-Disclosure industry in the UK since 1991. He managed the first e-disclosure project to go before a U.K. court in the early 2000s and has since advised and worked with many clients in the U.K., mainland Europe and the Middle East in a range of industry sectors. Prior to joining Huron, Nigel was the founder and managing director of TRILANTIC, the first U.K.-based e-disclosure company, and a litigation support manager in a major international law firm. Nigel has been a speaker at engagements throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, and he has published multiple articles.

What are your general observations about LTNY this year and how it fits into emerging trends?

This was my 15th Legal Tech show over 18 years and it was as good as ever.  The show attracts all the key people in the industry to New York where new ideas and concepts are discussed and shared in an informal environment.  This year did not bring any startling “new” technology, more a shift along the evolutionary cycle.

If last year’s “next big thing” was the emergence of predictive coding, what do you feel is this year’s “next big thing”?

I have three thoughts about “big things” for the coming year.  The first is a continued refinement of the thinking on technology assisted review. This year, technology assisted review (sometimes called predictive coding) is becoming widespread and there are now a lot of companies that offer it.  However, my personal view is that there are still only a few of those solutions that are defensible and repeatable.  Regardless of how good the technology is, it still requires a great deal of expertise and work flow to actually get what you want out of it.  I predict that one of the challenges that will arise at some point will be a court case against a company that offers technology assisted review and it has gone wrong.  The people who really understand computer assisted review understand that it requires a process.

Another area that has been around for a while but is gaining emphasis – is the effective management of corporation’s data. New, affordable technologies are available to dramatically reduce the amount of rubbish within an organization, as well as de-duplicate the huge volumes of data.  That falls into a number of areas within the EDRM model and within organizations’ structures: its partly risk, partly records and information management (RIM) and partly information governance.  I feel that over the next three years, the whole area could become increasingly important.  Now, that will drive down the cost of eDiscovery because if, after you have effectively whittled down your rubbish and got rid of the duplicates, you have only one-third of the documents to manage, which will ensure that your eDiscovery costs are going to be dramatically lower.

Data management combines with the third area that I think will be talked about this year, and that is information security. A lot of corporations understand the importance of keeping their information secure and some corporations, like banks, are required to do so.  However, the model that we have built up is that even though companies may keep their sensitive data secure internally, when it is time for discovery, they give the data to other organizations to process and work with; and those organizations may not have that same level of security.  At a fascinating dinner the other night, I heard about 20 to 50 corporations saying, “we cannot trust our law firms to look after our data securely.”  The keynote speaker told the dinner that he had recently gone to a law firm and asked whether they believed they were secure, and they said “of course, we are secure.” He then produced the minutes from the firm’s board meeting two days previously!  Stories like that are becoming widely known by corporations, so I think the effect is that the corporations are increasingly going to want to keep the data behind their own firewalls.  The data will be reduced, analyzed and hosted behind a company’s firewall and the external review entity and the law firm will be looking at the data within that domain.  I think that is going to be a significant change to this industry.

What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

At Huron Legal this year, we have launched Integrated Analytics, which falls under the TAR/CAR brackets.  Integrated Analytics is built around data analytics specialists who are both lawyers and database administrators, so they understand data and are lawyers as well, which is an unusual, but effective, combination.  The approach that we have taken is that we will work with internal counsel and external advisers where we do the “pushing of the buttons” and perform the searches.  We prefer to do it for our clients because junior and senior attorneys charging 200 an hour are not necessarily the most qualified to be performing the analytics in the most defensible and reputable manner. So, we launched this service to help our clients reduce the amount of data that needs to be reviewed and also speed up that review process.  We have the expertise to get through data more quickly, resulting in cost savings, so it’s a different model from those who try to do it themselves.  We also provide within our pricing expert testimony from statisticians and lawyers on our process, if required.  The launch of our Integrated Analytics team is our big news here at the show.

Thanks, Nigel, for participating in the interview!

And to the readers, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic!

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