Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-02-02 01:39:40Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. LegalTech New York is appropriately scheduled early in the year.  Optimism is high, marketing budgets flush, and sales plans are bullish.  In the past, LegalTech has tended to be blustery.  Too many vendors put out meaningless press releases in an effort to drum up buzz.  Too much of the content focused on law firms (though, to be fair, this is a conference where lawyers learn about how to be better at eDiscovery, so the law firm focus is understandable).  Too much of the buzz was around topics that didn’t matter all that much or fringe subjects (e.g. fully automated document review).

As the industry slowly matures, LegalTech does take on more of a focus.  While there is still plenty of “noise” (meaningless partnership announcements are a particular pet peeve of mine), there are several themes emerging on the first day of LegalTech 2010.  The theme that I’ve tuned into is cost reduction.  There is a real agreement that reducing the cost of eDiscovery is an absolute must.  It’s no wonder, then, that virtually every software vendor in the space is touting early case assessment (ECA) capabilities.  I’m going to call 2010 the year of ECA.  No matter how you define ECA, it’s got the ability to reduce costs in a huge way – whether that be through avoidance of outsourced EDD processing fees or minimizing the amount of information to be reviewed.

There are also several announcements about eDiscovery appliances and/or quick deployment methodologies – this is in recognition of the fact that organizations need to be able to stem the tide of eDiscovery costs now (not in 6 months after a major, multi-million-dollar software deployment).  Organizations need fast, small victories that can grow into larger initiatives.  The underlying story is that any effort an organization makes will bring at least some level of efficiency and cost-reduction to eDiscovery, which tends to be a high-cost nightmare for most.

Another big topic of discussion vis-a-vis cost reduction is “the cloud.”  Organizations are looking for more efficient long-term storage solutions and the cloud is one way to get there.  The cloud also promises to be an efficient application delivery model (one already in use by the legal world – hosted review).

This is just a set of first impressions.  It will be interesting to see if Day 2 is a continuation of the cost-reduction theme or if new themes emerge.

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