Automation, SaaS, and Self-Service: Quick Thoughts on LegalTech® 2016


It will be interesting to see if the discussions and diatribes during LegalTech represent actual market direction in 2016. However, if what was communicated during LegalTech is any indication of market trajectory, terms such as ‘automation’, ‘SaaS’, and ‘self-service’, will be heavily used in all types of eDiscovery communications in 2016.

According to some studies, 55% of communication is delivered by body language and 38% by vocal tone, with only 7% of communication dependent solely on words. Because of the importance of communication beyond words, the annual LegalTech® gathering in New York continues to be an important ‘validation’ opportunity for participants to both hear and see how others feel about the latest trends and tools in the discipline of discovery.

During this year’s event, the technologies and services that seemed to elicit the most emphatic responses from leading vendors, commentators, and consumers of eDiscovery software appeared to be focused on the increasing desire for eDiscovery automation, the growing acceptance of SaaS-delivery of eDiscovery, and the emerging affinity for self-service eDiscovery offerings. It also appears that differentiation of features is no longer the center of gravity for comparative discussions about competing offerings, as the center of gravity for comparisons seems to have shifted to the differences in delivery models (direct vs. indirect, on-premise vs. SaaS) and business models (pricing).

Based on conference chatter, it seems fourth generation eDiscovery offerings that provide simplified eDiscovery automation and are delivered via SaaS and available with predictable pricing models will be at the forefront of both verbal and non-verbal eDiscovery conversations in the coming year. Whether it be delivered from emerging technology upstarts like CloudNine, Everlaw, and Logikcull or from established eDiscovery entities like DTI, kCura, Thomson Reuters, its appears this will be the year that automated self-service SaaS-delivered eDiscovery will move from ‘being asked about” to ‘being asked for’.