Another year, another LegalTech New York. But 2013’s LTNY was not just a regular old conference; rather, this year’s show was marked by high energy and a positive vibe. Overall, the biggest theme that came through to me was progress. eDiscovery professionals are making real progress on the ground. The hyperbole about what might happen was muted by the discussion about what is happening or what kinds of real plans are in place. The theme of progress resonated with me because of three trends that surfaced at LTNY 2013: fervor around information governance (IG); more pragmatism around technology-assisted review (TAR) and predictive coding; and a closer examination of the implications of privacy and related security issues.
A cynic might say that there has been fervor around IG for many years and it is nothing new at a LegalTech. I would argue, however, that IG has traditionally gotten nothing more than lip service in the past. There has always been a recognition that good IG will help alleviate some of the challenges of large-scale corporate eDiscovery, but the chatter around IG at previous LTNYs was vague and high-level. At the 2013 show, the attitude was very different. Attendees drank up IG session content and asked great questions. The discussion moved from IG theory to IG practice. The ARMA track on Thursday was well-attended all day long. Panelists and attendees got down to brass tacks. One discussion, for example, centered on how to get the C-suite executives interested in, and actively participating, in IG programs. There were deep dives into how to manage Legal Hold processes, how to undertake defensible deletion projects, and how to prepare for automated information classification. Instead of lip service to IG, there were in-the-weeds discussions and debates.
LTNY 2013 also featured a more advanced discussion of TAR and Predictive Coding issues. I know that Karl Schieneman had led panels that dive into the real issues Legal professionals need to confront in order to make Predictive Coding effective and as defensible as possible. It was great to see Predictive Coding get a more pragmatic treatment at the show. That said, probably about half the Predictive Coding sessions were stuck in last year – playing more into the hype than the reality – so the industry still has much maturing to do. But, at least Predictive Coding is not all hype any longer and 2013 can be about best practices and lessons learned from real experiences.
My other major takeaway from LTNY 2013 is that the eDiscovery and IG markets are at the beginning of an overlap with security. I would not be surprised to see more Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) at LTNY in the coming years. The relationship with security issues has always been there – most forensic investigation teams live within an organization’s security team. But, with the increasing importance of privacy (both in the U.S. and globally), the relationship between IG and security becomes even tighter. In some ways, the crossover is already rearing its head. Just this past summer, I wrote about how what is now a separate market – governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) – is showing increasing overlap with eDiscovery and IG. Well, the CISO is very involved in GRC and as that overlap continues to grow, look for the security teams to become important players in IG…maybe to the point that they begin attending LTNY.
This year, I am not going to do my traditional writeup of the vendors I met with at the show. Instead, you can find out what eDJ Analysts think about vendors over at the eDiscoveryMatrix, where we keep notes about all the solutions we run into (and that our readers run into and comment on). You can see an example of how Analyst Notes look here.