eDiscovery Daily Blog

Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?: eDiscovery Best Practices

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, eDiscovery Project Management from Both Sides, which we covered as part of a webcast on October 31.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding the state of lawyer adoption of technology titled Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology? that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into five parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Here’s the first part.


Law firms today possess technology tools which have been proven to save time and money while simultaneously improving quality within the discovery process. Two thirds of the states have enacted rules which impose lawyer’s ethical duty to understand technology. And, case after case shows judicial endorsement of both of these concepts.

Why is it, then, that surveys continue to show that many lawyers have yet to embrace these new technologies and approaches? The latest survey on legal trends by Ari Kaplan reveals that many lawyers are still not sufficiently up to date with legal tech to make informed decisions about where to focus their firm’s resources and staff’s attention.  Several years ago, the results of the ILTA Law Department Survey reported a degree of technology usage that Ron Friedmann, in reporting on the survey, described as both “shocking” and “frightening”.  The survey released in Dec. of 2017 still showed problems, with 50% of the respondents using Windows 7 on their desktops and only 40% using a cloud-based email system.

Have these technological delays impacted law firms’ relationships with clients?  The 2018 Zapproved Corporate eDiscovery Benchmarking Report found that “… corporate legal departments prioritize streamlining and modernizing operations as a top priority…” .  Are outside counsel firms meeting this standard?  Not according to the EDRM/Exterro 2018 In-House Legal Benchmarking Report, which found that almost 70% of legal teams conducted most of their litigation services in-house compared to 50% last year.

Why is this? As long ago as 2009, Judge John Facciola said in a keynote address at LegalTech New York that “…attorneys are lacking in technology skills not from ignorance but stubbornness.” He elaborated that they simply aren’t taking the time to learn the basics of handling electronic data and, as a result, they don‘t really know what is important and what is just marketing fluff.

Has that changed in the past 10 years? When I asked that question recently of a currently sitting Federal court judge, he replied: ”marginally”.

In this paper, we will examine the situation more closely and ask several questions:

  1. Why is the lack of technology expertise among lawyers important?
  2. How can we change the situation?
  3. What are some good resources to help lawyers improve their technology expertise?
  4. What can we do to help lawyers become technologically proficient?

We’ll publish Part 2 – Why is the Lack of Technology Expertise Among Lawyers Important? – on Monday.

So, what do you think?  Do you think that lawyers are where they need to be in becoming technologically proficient?  As always, 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.