TakeAways from Legal Tech New York

Here’s my two main impressions after looking back at the Legal Tech event this year.  The first is the obvious trend my hosting companies toa dd more features which can distinguish them from the competition. Analytic tools, intelligent search engines, easier folder setups, better user interfaces, partnerships with other service companies: all of this tells me that hosting has finally been accepted and now the challenge is to provide more than simple “electronic Iron Mountain” basic storage.

Service will be king in the hosting arena this year and watch for even more competitive pricing as the demand for these services increases throughout the year. I also expect to see more integration with cloud based case management systems and more intelligent search engines, in a manner consistent with the new search protocols we saw at the show from West and Lexis.

And along the lines of product differentiation, I also expect to see more independent analysis of software products. Sean Doherty of Law.com mentioned in his column LegalTech New York: Thats’ A Wrap, that Legal Relay is a product to watch.  This online forum for reviewing and rating software and services is based on on user-generated content although vendors can pay a premium to post product information. This combination will make LegalRelay the “Amazon reviews for legal technology,” says president and founder John Gilman.

The second trend I saw in e-discovery was the increasing appearance of the  flat-rate per document pricing model. I has seen this approach last year in several project bids and it was usually a thinly disguised attempt by major vendors to low ball or even give away collection and processing in order to land the hosting and review of a project. But now smaller vendors are embracing the concept and I saw at least four companies at Legal Tech offer this price model.

My major concern here is that if the document population changes radically during the project and the vendor finds itself in a position of having underbid the cost based on that shift, there will be  a push to get documents reviewed quickly and not necessarily accurately in order to maintain an acceptable  profit margin.  Now this can be handled by specific price structuring that provides for floating costs based on regular project reviews of the document population but I am still somewhat troubled by attempts to “guesstimate” document levels at the beginning of a project.

Still, what is clear is that more competitive pricing, not just in levels of pricing but types of pricing, is here to stay as vendors move to compete much more aggressively for available work.  And this can only be good news for firms and legal departments as they work on litigation budgets.


1 comment so far

  1. John Gilman on

    Tom, thanks for your kind words. We had a great launch at LegalTech and are already seeing legal professionals begin to help each other make more informed buying decisions and ultimately influence product features and quality. I invite readers who are users of legal software products and services to visit LegalRelay.com and “Relay” their experiences to the rest of the community.

    John Gilman (LegalRelay.com)

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