I spend the last week walking the exhibit hall and meeting with technology vendors at the 2012 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) Conference held August 26-30, 2012 at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in Washington, D.C. ILTA is the premier peer networking organization, providing information to members to maximize the value of technology in support of the legal profession. As such, ITLA’s annual conference is a great place to talk to most of the technology vendors targeting the legal market, see demos of their technology offerings, listen to presentations from industry experts and judge the current status of the evolution of technology adoption within the legal community.
Historically, lawyers have been late buyers and laggards according to the Technology Adoption Lifecycle model developed by Joe M. Bohlen, George M. Beal and Everett M. Rogers at Iowa State University. Therefore, it wasn’t that many years ago as the rest for the world was embracing the Internet and mobile computing, the technology showcased at ILTA revolved around scanning and first generation document review and hosting technology. However, this year, as I walked the isles of the exhibit hall, I was not only struck by the rapid evolution and sophistication of the new generation eDiscovery platforms but also by the new crop of vendors offering innovation technologies such audio search and analysis software, and Business Intelligence (BI) software to enable law firm partners to analyze and better manage their firms.
Examples of traditional eDiscovery vendors that I met with include:
- Exterro, ranked as one of the leading vendors in the 2012 Early Case Assessment (ECA) Buyer’s Guide, announced and demonstrated more than 250 enhancements to its eDiscovery software at ILTA 2012.
- Catalyst, a pioneer in providing cloud-based document repositories for eDiscovery in complex legal matters, launched Catalyst Insight, its innovative eDiscovery review platform, at ILTA 2012.
Both Exterro and Catalyst have been offering eDiscovery solutions for many years and I have to applaud their efforts for continuing to push the envelope technically and continue to provide users within the eDiscovery market access to the most advanced technology available in any market today.
I also spent time with iRIS Technologies (iRIS), iRIS provides i3 a cloud based business intelligence analytics for law firm billing systems such as Elite, Aderant, ProLaw, Juris, Rippe, Rainmaker, and CCH. The multi-dimensional capabilities of i3 Cloud allows law firms to proactively make decisions based on historical and emerging trends regarding revenue, productivity, profitability and budgets.
Having just recently gotten over the shock of shedding their yellow legal pads for iPads and being issued iPhones to answer their own calls, some of this new technology probably makes some lawyers feel like they are living in a Star Trek movie. However, advanced BI to analyze corporations from top to bottom have been prevalent for many years outside of the legal community and therefore it is about time that it finds its way inside the legal community.
In addition, I also got an update from Tom Platt, Director of Legal Business Development at Nexidia regarding enhancements the company has made to its Audio Early Case Assessment (ECA) technology. As more and more potentially relevant evidence is incumbent in audio format, Nexidia, based on technology that has been used throughout the government is such data intensive agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA), will continue to expand its market share within the litigation market.
I was also very pleased to see Accellion in attendance at the ILTA 2012 Conference this year. As I pointed out in a recent article on August 29, 2012, titled, “Enterprise Alternative to DropBox”, While not the household name like Dropbox, Accellion is more industrial strength with products that support public, private and hybrid cloud deployment options for variety of user devices such as legacy desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Androids, and BlackBerrys behind the corporate firewall.
The ILTA annual conference has always been one of my favorite legal technology conferences. I get to visit with all my old friends from within the legal industry and talk to most of the leading litigation technology vendors and experts all under one roof. However, I have to admit that ILTA 2012 had a different look and feel. The ILTA annual conference is no longer just about scanning and document review technology. It is obvious that technology is quickly evolving as a major foundational component and key competitive advantage for law firms and corporate legal departments alike.