Most recognize that cloud computing will be the new norm for lawyers, if it’s not already. But not just because of the usual cited reasons of accessibility, efficiency or security.
 
I chat periodically with David Carns, Chief Revenue Officer of Casepoint, to find out what his company is up to. But also to get his take on what’s going on in the legal tech world.  Casepoint is an e-discovery cloud-based provider. It offers data-based intelligence and full-spectrum eDiscovery, including cloud collections, and review and customizable productions. It also data processing, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence service. I have written several posts about the company and our chats.
 
David is always interesting and insightful. When I talked to him last week about what was going on in his world, I was a bit surprised by his view about the changes to the legal profession that Covid will bring about.
 
David’s view is forget remote working. Forget changing office design and spaces. Forget work time/place flexibility. The real change says David: acceptance and use by lawyers of cloud computing and what it can do.
As firms begin returning to the office, they will remain hooked on the benefits of SaaS and cloud computing. The benefits are too great.
 
David told me that SaaS and cloud computing demand went through the roof when the pandemic set in, as we all know. But David correctly notes that as firms begin returning to the office, they will remain hooked on the benefits of SaaS and cloud computing. The benefits are too great. And SaaS and cloud computing use will only expand, maybe exponentially, and be the most lasting impact of the virus on law. David is right for three reasons, among others.
 
First accessibility. At the beginning of the pandemic, people were not in the mood, nor could they maintain on-prem systems when there was no one on-prem to run and manage them. People (lawyers are people; well, more or less) had to have their work, files, and tools accessible from anywhere. Lawyers like that flexibility and aren’t going to give it up.
 
Secondly, efficiency. Software like that offered by Casepoint drives efficiencies in ediscovery. Better results in less time. It can enable better budgeting and promote the use of alternative fees. But it enables efficiencies in other ways that may impact law in general. A single piece of software allows numerous people from different locations and in various business specialties log into a centralized system. This in turn leads to for a more integrated organization. As such, the software becomes integrated into everything they do.
 
Not only does this make processes more efficient, but it also results in reduced costs. Firms no longer need to pay for on-prem services and IT staff to run them. This cost saving comes at a time where cost reduction has become the new watchword for firms, as I have previously discussed. The need to reduce law firm costs ain’t going away.
 
Sure, no big revelation here.
But there’s a third and perhaps most important reason SaaS will rule the legal world.
 
 
But there’s a third and perhaps most important reason SaaS will rule the legal world. Says David, “Lawyers came to the cloud for flexibility but will stay for AI.” Casepoint, for example, runs 1000s of servers and has added constantly running software. The software can make predictions about documents and their relevance. More importantly, it can analyze how people using the software previoulsy characterized similar document sets. This predictive ability will enable the system to tell a document reviewer: based on what others have done with other similar sets of documents, here’s a category of documents for which there is an 80% relevancy chance. This couldn’t be done with an on-prem system. Casepoint offers this by default.
It’s no longer limited to litigation.
 
 
This predictive kind of analytical ability opens doors to other possibilities as well. “People assume SaaS was going to be efficient. But they underestimate how effective it can be in other ways’, according to David. Casepoint is already being used to drive efficiency, and get better results in internal investigations, data breach responses, compliance generated responses, and even FOIA responses. Anyplace where there is a need to sift through a lot of data, determine what is relevant, and then provide that data to someone else.
 
And as what can be done with this analytical ability becomes better known, David thinks clients (which David believes to be informed buyers) will refuse to use firms that aren’t using SaaS to maximum advantage. Client demand, says David, will drive even greater and more and more innovative uses. And as lawyers become more and more enamored with SaaS and cloud computing for accessibility and efficiencies purposes, they will also be more likely to embrace the other advantages the cloud offers.

 

It’s no longer limited to litigation.

But here’s the thing and the main reason why David is right about the impact of SaaS and cloud computing. Companies like Casepoint are sitting on a wealth of data. This data can drive AI and predictive analytics in new and exciting ways and finally make it mainstream. What Casepoint is doing, along with companies like Clearbrief and products like WeSearch about which I have previously written, enable in-house and law firms to see the possibilities. Tools to help get work done, assess exposures and even prevent the events that drive disputes. It’s not just sifting through data and providing what is relevant. It’s the ability to use and communicate what the data shows in ways we are are beginning to realize.

 

The contest between on-prem (and intuitive, wild ass guess predictions) and cloud computing (data driven predictions and analysis) is over. Driven by discovery providers, the cloud has won
 
E-discovery often does not get due credit for driving change in the legal industry. Lawyers often have little choice but to embrace and use ediscovery tools that make work more efficient. This is because ediscovery responses are deadline driven and the lawyer often has little choice but to be as efficient as possible. The result: edocovery providers can make and sell tools that make lawyers work more efficiently and better. They are not held hostage to the reluctance of lawyers to adopt technology that reduces billable hours. So we get advances that push the envelope that lawyers and clients are already familiar and comfortable with that can be applied to other non ediscovery areas.
 
The contest between on-prem (and intuitive, wild ass guess predictions) and cloud computing (data driven predictions and analysis) is over. Driven by discovery providers, the cloud has won. And that may be the lasting change in law.