We live in an era in which data volumes are multiplying exponentially – representing a clear and present hazard for law firms from potential data breaches and the soaring costs of data storage. Here in part two of our data disposition series, Chris Giles suggests how firms can go about controlling data’s proliferation.
The LawTech landscape is currently at its most buoyant - with tech start-ups developing some of the most innovative and ground-breaking solutions as well as acquisitions from larger organisations taking place across the sector. There’s been a significant amount of investment in this space by providers and venture capitalists alike, and nothing to indicate it slowing down.
What are the issues, challenges and information governance considerations that firms should be aware of in relation to matter mobility? Chris Giles surveys an evolving landscape.
Matter mobility is a component of information governance that is now of growing concern to law firms, simply because it’s becoming more and more common for both lawyers and clients to move firm. Accordingly, firms are well advised to direct some concerted effort to ensuring that as part of their information governance programme, they reduce the risks of matter mobility management and minimise its unhelpful effects on productivity and client service levels. But first, your firm needs to be clear about the inherent hazards of matter mobility and the attendant negative impacts.
"Software is eating the world," wrote Marc Andreessen in The Wall Street Journal in 2011. More recently, we have heard claims that both Services (as in the" as-a-Service" model) and AI are eating Software. The foundation, in addition to raw computing power, of both the "as-a-Service" model and AI is data. Loads of structured and unstructured data. Data is used for training AI algorithms and 'Big Data' generated by an organisation's business processes and interactions with customers (including end customers), business partners, vendors and other external parties. Most organisations are more or less drowning in data, and their users struggle to navigate all the disparate and siloed "data lakes" (pun intended) available to them.
Finding a hidden story can be crucial to winning litigation but finding it can often take a huge amount of discovery – which can be costly and takes time. Whether it’s buried among a thousand or ten million documents, legal teams need to be able to access the “hot documents” or the story telling documents quickly, to ensure they know the real story and can craft their winning argument. But, with external factors like hybrid working practices changing the way people work, legal teams must find new ways to stay ahead.
Unfortunately, clear thinking about the impact and the benefits of any technology investment is often coloured by short-term thinking and peer-pressure. Among law firms’ competitors often appear to have far too great an influence on many decisions around technology investment – “they’ve got it so we must have it” is surely not the best way to judge the benefits of new technology. Technology is generally the largest area of investment for the average law firm.
Data disposition is becoming an increasingly hot topic for law firms, both because the volume of data keeps growing, and because the risk of breaching GDPR by retaining excess data continues to rise, as Chris Giles explains in part 1 of the data disposition series.
Among the many consequences of the global pandemic, one was that it drove many law firms to embrace digital transformation. And in the course of enabling remote working, many introduced cloud-based systems and took the opportunity to scan existing paper records. This has led firms to believe that, to the necessary degree, they’ve “taken care of” their records. But is that entirely true?
For legal firms, customer onboarding is not very high up on the digital transformation to-do list. More eye-catching projects tend to grab the attention instead. Yet there’s a tremendous opportunity here to streamline business processes, improve efficiencies and productivity, and ultimately take accounts to profitability much earlier.
The truth is that legal practices can do much more than Robotic Process Automation (RPA). And they can do so without even needing to rip-and-replace legacy systems.
In today’s technology driven world, it is often assumed that everyone knows all there is to know about how to use the technologies that have become an indispensable part of almost every aspect of the practice of law. Discussion of how generational differences between old world lawyers and digital natives impact the workplace have given way to debates over exactly which skills are actually needed, who has them and how you can tell.
In the legal sector as in others, new technologies drive efficiencies and business growth. The legal profession is embracing a new reality of hybrid working, where the personnel working on any one project may be office or home based, and located in different cities or even on different continents. All team members need access to documents, the opportunity for virtual meetings and collaboration in real time wherever they are.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a growing presence in today’s corporate legal and compliance departments — and for a good reason. With ever-increasing pressure on GCs and compliance officers to demonstrate value, any tool that increases efficiency and lowers costs without sacrificing quality and accuracy will be of great interest. But with the growth of AI comes a responsibility to ensure it is used ethically, which creates unique responsibilities for in-house counsel and compliance officers.
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