“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”
–Mark Weiser, Chief Scientist and Chief Technology Officer of Xerox PARC
The eDiscovery field has a long history of innovation that’s taken place on many fronts, something we’re intimately familiar with. The Nuix software that legal teams use today can process and index hundreds of files types in dozens of languages more rapidly and accurately than ever before. Attorneys can then analyze these documents using keyword search, concept clustering, data visualizations, machine learning, and predictive analytics—all from in the same interface, alone or in combination—quickly and easily. What used to be novel is now an everyday occurrence.
Cloud computing and the economics of Software as a Service (SaaS) have made this software readily available to hundreds of organizations and thousands of legal professionals who didn’t have the large IT budgets and/or requisite sophistication to install, optimize, maintain, and secure enterprise software applications. The flexibility that cloud delivery offered enabled those that had large IT budgets to develop a deeper and more profound understanding of the software by allowing them to focus less on software infrastructure and more on software capabilities.
This led to them develop new services and offerings with the software. Or, you could say, it led to another round of innovation.
Innovation on innovation
This next round of innovation, fueled by the people and legal teams sitting in the middle of eDiscovery, at the intersections of law, commerce, language, and computer science, is what our Faces of Innovation Report is all about.
We noticed that many firms were starting to create roles and teams dedicated to both innovation and knowledge management and, in several cases, these were combined. Given Nuix’s long history and passion for helping organizations around the globe make sense of their own data and documents, this was a trend we wanted to better understand and support.
So, in the spring of 2019, we commissioned Ari Kaplan Advisors to examine this trend. Ari interviewed 33 knowledge management leaders from law firms in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and across the United States.
The respondents discussed:
- How technology was forcing law firms to reconfigure roles and shift an array of responsibilities
- Ways that client expectations were prompting those firms to assemble multidisciplinary teams that featured a unique combination of legal, technical, and tactical talent
- How these organizations were embracing a universal approach to information to gain greater insights from total data intelligence.
The survey results revealed an incredible transformation taking place inside law firms. Here are some of the key findings:
Strong Connection Between Knowledge Management And Innovation
The survey found clear evidence that law firms and their knowledge management practices were undergoing considerable transformation. All respondents but one (97%) reported that their role had changed in the past few years. More than half (55%) could specifically identify when their responsibilities moved from an exclusive concentration on knowledge management to a broader focus on innovation.
Client Expectations And Demand For New Services Led To Rise Of Multidisciplinary Teams
Three out of four respondents (78%) noted that client expectations were prompting law firms to assemble multidisciplinary teams.
Collaboration Is High
Most respondents (58%) rated the level of collaboration between their knowledge management team and the firm’s lawyers, paralegals, and professional staff at a four out of five (five being the highest); one-third ranked the level of collaboration at a five.
Law Firms Are Embracing Analytics And Machine Learning
Four out of five respondents (82%) reported that law firms are leveraging insights from taking a holistic look at their data. This concept of total data intelligence includes the intentional examination, cultivation, and reuse of data after a litigation event.
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