eDiscovery Daily Blog

The March Toward Technology Competence (and Possibly Predictive Coding Adoption) Continues: eDiscovery Best Practices

I know, because it’s “March”, right?  :o)  Anyway, it’s about time is all I can say.  My home state of Texas has finally added its name to the list of states that have adopted the ethical duty of technology competence for lawyers, becoming the 36th state to do so.  And, we have a new predictive coding survey to check out.

As discussed on Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites blog, just last week (February 26), the Supreme Court of Texas entered an order amending Paragraph 8 of Rule 1.01 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The amended comment now reads (emphasis added):

Maintaining Competence

  1. Because of the vital role of lawyers in the legal process, each lawyer should strive to become and remain proficient and competent in the practice of law, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill of a competent practitioner, a lawyer should engage in continuing study and education. If a system of peer review has been established, the lawyer should consider making use of it in appropriate circumstances. Isolated instances of faulty conduct or decision should be identified for purposes of additional study or instruction.

The new phrase in italics above mirrors the one adopted in 2012 by the American Bar Association in amending the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to make clear that lawyers have a duty to be competent not only in the law and its practice, but also in technology.  Hard to believe it’s been seven years already!  Now, we’re up to 36 states that have formally adopted this duty of technology competence.  Just 14 to go!

Also, this weekend, Rob Robinson published the results of the Predictive Coding Technologies and Protocols Spring 2019 Survey on his excellent Complex Discovery blog.  Like the first version of the survey he conducted back in September last year, the “non-scientific” survey designed to help provide a general understanding of the use of predictive coding technologies, protocols, and workflows by data discovery and legal discovery professionals within the eDiscovery ecosystem.  This survey had 40 respondents, up from 31 the last time.

I won’t steal Rob’s thunder, but here are a couple of notable stats:

  • Approximately 62% of responders (62.5%) use more than one predictive coding technology in their predictive coding efforts: That’s considerably higher than I would have guessed;
  • Continuous Active Learning (CAL) was the most used predictive coding protocol with 80% of responders reporting that they use it in their predictive coding efforts: I would have expected that CAL was the leader, but not as dominant as these stats show; and
  • 95% of responders use technology-assisted review in more than one area of data and legal discovery: Which seems a good sign to me that practitioners aren’t just limiting it to identification of relevant documents in review anymore.

Rob’s findings, including several charts, can be found here.

So, what do you think?  Which state will be next to adopt an ethical duty of technology competence for lawyers?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine 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 Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.