Predictions 2013 and Beyond: IT in Law and IT for Lawyers

December 27, 2012

From Daniel Pollick, Director of Business Infrastructure and Chief Information Officer, DLA Piper UK LLP:  


We start to realise BYOD costs more not less.

Apple’s music and tablet monopoly begins to fade.

Microsoft Surface reinvents the laptop.

We see the first major publicly-known cyber-attack on a law firm.


Brave law firms have started to fall out of love with their office buildings and finally exploit remote and virtual team technology.

The Co-op wills and divorces as many people as it buries (in terms of market share).

The need for offline capability in devices has gone away, to the relief of software designers and IT security professionals everywhere.

The app model has collapsed under its own weight, displaced by holistic super-apps.

Finding stuff on internal IT systems is as easy as finding stuff on the internet.


SCL finally changes its name. 

From Charles Christian, Charles Christian, Editor-in-Chief, Legalit Insider: 

2013: In terms of hatches: I think one of the big challenges in 2013 will be the consumerisation of legal IT as it moves on from devices, BYOD and all that, and on to software and training. Simple example: Facebook is the most widely used application on the planet – yet nobody goes on a training course to use it. In contrast Microsoft Office is the most widely used application in law offices and firms go into meltdown whenever it comes to rolling out an upgrade. We’re going to see software moving towards more social media-like interfaces – we’re going to see software (and legal IT training) adopting ‘gamification’ methods. Dispatches: the Blackberry, it is now just one debacle short of turning into the parrot in the Monty Python sketch. 

2023: Ten years on traditional desktop systems and software applications will be dead – it will all be apps and tablet devices (and not just iPads). It will be the sunset years of Microsoft as we currently know it. Speech interfaces will be as widely used as keyboards and touch-screens, though probably owing more to Apple Siri than today’s speech recognition software. We will also see the iTunesification of legal publishing and knowledge management – why buy a whole album when you only want two tracks? Why write or buy a whole book or law firm taxonomy when you only want two chapters? 

2053: Ray Kurzweil’s predicted ‘Singularity’ will be here in terms of the man/machine interface – at the very least we’ll all have USB ports (well at least the 2053 equivalent) in our heads – artificial intelligence will expanded to the point where machines are much smarter than us – and virtual reality will have removed the need for offices and face-to-face meetings with clients. However the UK rail network will still be reduced to chaos when the wrong sort of snow falls on the lines.


From Jan Durant, Director of IT & Operations at Lewis Silkin LLP

SharePoint 2013 is going to rock the world of those who ignored past versions… there will be no escape with its inherent FAST components unless you’re a complete hippy.  

Last year we could hide a bit from BYOD – this year the gloves are off, sort yourself out a strategy/policy and security solution.  

I am watching and waiting to see how good the Surface is – will it replace the iPad in our affections?  

And… as for Big Data – this is just hype as far as law firms are concerned. 

From Andrew Haslam, Allvision Computing (, one of the UK’s leading independent litigation support consultants 


In the field of Litigation Support Technology I think 2013 will be year that ‘end to end’ applications go head to head with the approach of pairing ‘best of breed’ tools, with the research and development in the former finally starting to challenge the focus of the latter.

It hardly qualifies as prediction, but the fallout from the HP/Autonomy financial crisis will have a significant impact on the software provided by Autonomy, with Recommind laughing all the way to the bank as its main rival Autonomy and their IntroSpect product implode.

Vendors will tell you that the debate about the use of Predictive Coding is essentially over, as client are voting with their wallets for the cheaper and more known results these technologies produce. 2013 will see some of the more Canute-like law firms wake up to the water lapping around their ankles/waist/head and the majority will join in the use of such tools, particularly after the April rule changes. 


3D printing technology will have changed the way in which almost everything is produced and distributed.

Film/TV will be a totally immersive experience with holographic images, surround sound systems and interaction being the norm.

The legal landscape will be almost unrecognisably different as the ‘perfect storm’ of; pressure from Co-Op law, client demands for fixed price, project managed, transparently billed work, the manner in which we consume information via the net and tablets, rejection of the partnership model, efficient working practices, over-supply of lawyers, newer generations rising through the ranks, all combine to cause rapid and significant change throughout all law firms.

And, at 66 I’ll probably still be having to work in some capacity or another to meet the expectations that come with a predicated life span of a 100 years for my generation. 


My fully licensed Avatar will be earning me residual income as its AI ‘brain’ uses my 40 (by then) years of experience in the litigation support world to advise and support the legal AI’s that have replaced law firms as we know them.

My personal jet pack will still not have arrived.

There will still be a lawyer somewhere trying charge by the billable hour…….in a living history museum. 

From Charles Holloway, Director, Millnet Limited: 

As I will probably be in my dotage in 2023 and, barring some huge advance in medical science, dead by 2053, I am going to limit myself to a few short thoughts for 2013! 

The changes to the CPR due in April 2013 will bring about a change in the way lawyers view litigation under their control. Magically, they will start to accept that technology works and will come to rely on it and will engage with the litigation support and vendor community in ways undreamed of in 2012. 

There will be a realisation among lawyers and third party vendors that there is money to be made from advising clients about litigation readiness, document retention policies, due diligence and corporate governance.


There will be (yet another) serious data privacy breach which will cause law firms and their clients, and anyone involved in handling data, to re-evaluate how they approach this problem and to take it seriously. As a lawyer memorably put it the other day ‘Disaster is the best trigger to open the pocket book.’


There will be a measurable increase in digital data, ie not just paper and e-mails but evidence from sources such as audio, video, CCTV etc. 

From Tom Hiskey, co-founder, The Law Wizard Limited,  

For 2023… 

The inevitable has occurred and consumers’ first port of call for legal services is online, just as it is today with banking, shopping and tax. Behind the scenes, lawyers are less like book-worms and more like managers. Partnerships are few and far between; so are hourly rates. Consolidation sees a significant market share for a small number of providers. It’s easy to find a decent cup of coffee, everything’s made of graphene, and The Rolling Stones, now more silicone than human flesh, enjoy a successful comeback tour. 

For 2053… 

A.I. rules! Humans, or our robot successors, will speak their situation in plain language, and Artificial Intelligence algorithms will produce advice and documents in a few seconds. Legal advisors survive and remain plentiful, but are largely consigned to high-end bespoke work and comforting chit-chat over a cup of coffee (Nescafe).

From Mike Taylor, Director, i-Lit Limited: 


April will see the acceleration of the ‘race to the bottom’ on e-disclosure processing pricing. This will eventually mean the consolidation of service providers as those with lower volumes find it harder to survive on their own, this in turn will lead to reduced competition and a gradual (over a long time) increase in pricing.

There will be an increasing use of predictive coding.

E-disclosure service providers will (hopefully) really concentrate on the quality of project management as their key differentiator.

Someone will introduce a low cost ‘Point and Process’ e-disclosure service.

More and more firms will use low cost document review options. 


E-disclosure exercises in SMEs will be completed using ‘off the shelf’ low cost software. Large organisations will have gained control of their data and will complete the process in-house.

Law firms will effectively be split into two groups – process driven ‘factory’ firms with high throughput and low margins  and ‘sets’ of expert high-cost solicitors with low throughput and high margins.

BYOD (with centralised storage and sync) will be the norm. 

From Joanna Goodman MBA – freelance writer for The Law Society Gazette, Legal IT Professionals, LSN Briefing, Raconteur Media/The Times, The Lawyer Business Technology Guide, City A.M.  

2013: Liberalisation, leverage and engagement  

BYOD (bring your own device) caught on in 2012 and lawyers love their iPads. The jury is out on the Surface at least until the professional version is released. 2013 will see more flexibility over how and where people access information, communicate and collaborate – the device itself becomes less important.  

CIOs are looking to streamline and leverage the technology and licenses they already have rather than purchase more, supporting national and international mergers. They are making technology more intuitive to reduce IT training and further encourage user engagement – already boosted by BYOD – through social media and gamification. There will be continued focus on client-facing IT, which might include some big data analysis. 

2012 has seen consolidation in the supplier market. This will lead to more bundling offers to drive brand loyalty – ie suppliers offering a one-stop shop – but it also leaves room for innovation by niche suppliers.  

2023: Ultra-mobility and the blurring of boundaries

The demise of the deskphone and potentially the landline. Fewer business support professionals as outsourcing, online services, and automated processes will replace many roles. Online/mobile video links will probably be the de facto means of business communication. Video conferences via IP TV wherever you are and ultra-mobile collaboration will further blur work-life balance.  

It’s impossible to predict what devices people will be using, as this depends on what is invented and what catches on – Google goggles, bendy phones (bendy tablets)? 

Social media will be just another part of routine working practices. There may be more ways of using big data. Regulation and compliance will still be big issues as will security as globalisation of services – including legal services – continues, driven by emerging markets. 

Cloud will be the de facto means of delivery as today’s challenges will have been addressed. CIOs will be managing a portfolio of outsourced services and delivering very few direct services.  

Commercialisation and consumerisation will mean that within ten years legal technology will have caught up with that of other sophisticated commercial organisations, making it harder to forecast its future. So I am not attempting to predict 2053.  

From Chris Dale, former commercial litigation partner turned e-disclosure consultant.  

I will content myself with looking one year ahead. 

The new case management rules 

All Fools Day 2013 brings the implementation of the Jackson Reforms. The downside to the “big bang” approach (that is, the implementation of all the recommendations in one go) means that the case management and eDisclosure aspects have been concealed beneath fierce arguments about other things covered by Sir Rupert Jackson, as well as by parallel initiatives which were nothing to do with him such as alternative business structures and cuts in legal aid. 

Accordingly, I expect many lawyers to be taken by surprise by the wider range of cases requiring pre-CMC discussions about the scope, method and cost of eDisclosure – but then there are many lawyers still talking about “relevance” and “Summonses for Directions” which disappeared from case management in 1999. 

We can expect to find lawyers sent reeling from CMCs by angry judges because of their failure to come equipped with the information required by the rules. We will also see perfectly good cases settling because solicitors find themselves wrong-footed by opponents who run rings round them simply because they are on top of the subject. 

We will also, unfortunately, see the opposite – parties who attend CMCs ready, willing and able to discuss eDisclosure issues, only to find the judge ticking the familiar box for standard disclosure or asking plaintively if the parties cannot “just go away and sort these things out amongst yourselves”. Lawyers are going to have to become harder on some judges. 

Predictive coding and managed document review 

2013 will be the year of predictive coding and managed document review. Lawyers who have hitherto muttered about “black box technology” will actually go and look at some of it to see how it can reduce the volumes for review. This sudden accession of interest will reflect the growing realisation that much of the hitherto profitable work which has propped up their litigation practices is disappearing either into the hands of the clients themselves or to rival business models, specifically the providers of managed document review services. 2013 will be the year when Richard Susskind’s question “What are lawyers uniquely qualified to provide?” will emerge as the central issue confronting litigation departments. At the top end, clients will still be willing to pay for tactical and strategic advice and, perhaps, for advocacy. At the bottom end, solicitors are good at proceeding with the procedures and filling in the forms required by the court. As the money-spinning work of document review evaporates, so will the need for the junior and mid-ranking staff who have performed those functions. Costs budgets required by the court and fixed fees demanded by the client will encourage this sudden interest in the certainty and transparency which managed review brings. 

Judicial activism 

In the US, we will see the rise of “judicial activism” as judges increasingly take control of the management of eDiscovery and expect more from the lawyers appearing in front of them. We may see moves towards rule changes which specifically require active management of cases on the UK model, as well as costs-shifting to place the burden of over-broad discovery requests on the shoulders of those who make them. They will also look at the effect of our costs budgets – couple that with costs-shifting and you really could see changes in US eDiscovery. “The UK is two years behind the US” they like to say over there. I don’t think so.


Cross-Border eDiscovery from the US perspective…


2013 will also be the year when the US realises that trying to kick down the doors of other countries’ data protection and privacy laws is both offensive and counter-productive. US lawyers will begin to see the value of acquainting themselves, and thence their opponents and the court, with the implications of the conflict between the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the restrictions of other jurisdictions, and will work harder and earlier to mitigate the effect of that conflict. They will actually start producing evidence of the restrictions (perhaps in the form of a certificate as to the law from the local Information Commissioner) instead of just complaining that the damned foreigners are being obstructive, and will enter into discussions about limiting the scope of discovery requests to that which is actually needed. This novel approach (“Gee! Ya mean I don’t gotta collect it all?”) is one of the specific recommendations in the Sedona Conference International Principles, and may even catch on in domestic US litigation (by 2053, that is). 

…and in the EU 

Meanwhile, at the European Commission, the attempts to introduce a new Data Protection Regulation will result in a heavily watered-down Regulation which upsets everyone, achieves very little, places immense burdens on businesses, and provides lots of cushy jobs for expensive bureaucrats. This is not really a prediction, of course, just a statement of the obvious. 

From Tracey Stretton, Legal Consultant, Kroll Ontrack: 

In 2013, the new costs management regime comes into force in the UK and legal costs will come under court scrutiny and control. A new strategic approach to managing the costs of e-disclosure and document review will be crucial, especially as data volumes continue to grow exponentially. Expect to see more real applications of Technology Assisted Review in UK cases and some court commentary on it as litigating parties work on protocols detailing when and how to use it. TAR combined with outsourced document review will be next innovative step in achieving a high quality document review that keeps costs in check.


Mobile devices and social media will continue to drive innovation and unleash entrepreneurial energy in business. Companies cannot afford to be lackadaisical about these phenomena – a formal practice for their use and an awareness of the evidence trail created is essential. 

Changes announced to the European regulatory landscape in 2012, principally in the area of data protection and competition law, reinforce the need for proactive risk avoidance and robust compliance efforts by companies in the future. Central to these efforts will be a focus on monitoring and reviewing critical electronic information. 

2023 – Dispute resolution could be an App on the CEO’s virtual desktop, lawyers will have avatars and judges might be electronic too.