eDiscovery Daily Blog

Ralph Losey of Jackson Lewis, LLP – eDiscovery Trends, Part 2

This is the ninth 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 Ralph Losey. Ralph is an attorney in private practice with the law firm of Jackson Lewis, LLP, where he is a Partner and the firm’s National e-Discovery Counsel. Ralph is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida College of Law teaching eDiscovery and advanced eDiscovery. Ralph is also a prolific author of eDiscovery books and articles, the principal author and publisher of the popular e-Discovery Team® Blog, founder and owner of an intensive online training program, e-Discovery Team Training, with attorney and technical students all over the world and founder of the new Electronic Discovery Best Practices (EDBP) lawyer-centric work flow model.

Our interview with Ralph had so much good information in it, we couldn’t fit it all into a single post.  Friday was part 1.  Here’s the rest of the interview!

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 am currently conducting an experiment on my own where, while I wouldn’t call it scientific, I am following the fully automated approach.  I am following the “Borg” as I call it, because I don’t want to criticize something unless I have personal experience.  I will be writing about the results of it later this year.  Last year, if you remember, I wrote about a 50,000 word narrative that demonstrated the multimodal approach using keyword search with predictive coding.  Now, I am performing a monomodal, fully automated, approach to compare the differences between the approaches. While I don’t want to give away the results too soon, I will provide just a little clue and say “so far, no surprises”, but I will write that up.

So, I don’t think “what this year’s big thing” is the right question.  I think it is “CAR, CAR, CAR” for the next several years, because it has totally changed everything.  To give you an example of how it has changed everything, I am for the first time in many years able to do my own review (which I actually like to do).  While I’m a fairly high billable rate (as you would expect from someone in my experience), it now makes sense for me to do the review.  I can do the work of 50 linear reviewers, because I have this “steam shovel” and I think we are seeing the “death of John Henry”.

We are seeing the dying gasp of vendors saying “no, no, no” and, in a couple of years, we are going to see a very big shake down in the industry again. I think this is the trend of this decade and it will be all about machine learning because that is the future.  The future is artificial intelligence leveraging your human intelligence and teaching a computer what you know about a particular case and then letting the computer do what it does best – which is read at 1 million miles per hour and be totally consistent.

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

I want people to know about my new initiative that I started it last year to try and come up with a model on eDiscovery that was just for lawyers.  There are two kinds of eDiscovery going on and what the vendors is do very important but vendors cannot practice law, and cannot give legal advice or legal opinions on what is reasonable and what is not reasonable.  Vendors sometimes do so, not because they are bad people, but because the lawyers don’t have a clue, so they count on them for more than they should.

So, that’s why I created eDiscovery Best Practices (EDBP.com, our blog post about it here) as a guide for lawyers.  I was happy to get that domain, and I had to pay a little bit for it, but I got a good deal on it and it’s a long term investment, so obviously I am in this for the long term.  One of the happiest things about my life is that my son is following in my footsteps and already doing better than I am.  What we are here to do is to provide guidance to lawyers and there was no real guide to what a lawyer does in eDiscovery.  It came out of a frustration of teaching law school for many years and the only model we had was EDRM.  It’s an excellent model, I love it and have taught it and know it backwards and forwards, but it only takes you so far.  That model isn’t focused on what lawyers and law students are going to do, so EDBP is a similar model, with ten steps, but focused on what lawyers do.

We are not going to attempt to define minimum standards – that is a court function and has to do with malpractice. Instead, the EDBP model is about best practices.  Obviously, what the best practice for a billion dollar case is going to be very different from a 100 thousand dollar case.  The fundamental best practice is proportionality, so you will do a lot more for the big case.  But, EDBP provides a model which is meant to be a crowd sourcing model, but the crowd is only practicing lawyers who actually deal with discovery.

Thanks, Ralph, 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.