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Posted on: February 02, 2016

in Blog

Big Data Analytics in the Courtroom?

This blog recaps the LegalTech keynote presentation and the opinions of trial judges on the importance of the use of analytics technology in the courtroom.

New York LegalTech 2016 opened with a panel of federal judges talking about uses of technology in the courtroom. While most of the litigation technology chatter we see in the CLE seminars, blogs, and journals has to do with eDiscovery, this one focused on the end game – the trial. Judges Elizabeth Laporte, James Francis, Andrew Peck, and Pamela Sargent held forth.

These judges are regular contributors at Georgetown AEDI, Sedona, and other events where we see the leading edges of eDiscovery. It is new for most of us to hear them talk about courtroom presentations with components of big data and analytics.

Are you ready to rejuvenate your review and yourself? Stop by D4's suite at the 2016 LegalTech New York conference!

The ranges of trial technology go from low-tech (lawyers, witnesses and jurors pass the papers around), mid-tech (use of the good ole ELMO), and then high-tech (where everything displayed on monitors in front of the judge, jury, witness, counsel and courtroom officers). With what Judge Peck calls “the vanishing trial” because cases settle, there isn’t much pressure to innovate. But there are plenty of opportunities to do so.

“We are pricing ourselves out of the justice system” with the cost of discovery.

Most judges were born “when typewriters were the tool” said Judge Laporte. The “vanishing trial” (because of the high percentage of settlements) mitigates against innovation of technology in the courtroom. “Lawyers are slow adopters”, added Judge Garcia, but the judges all agreed that lawyers need to come up to speed. It is their ethical obligation of competence. Judge Sargent pointed out that service providers can help and teach and train counsel on technology and it’s application. But according to Judge Peck, the real pressure for practitioners to come up to technological speed is going to come from general counsel. General Counsels pay the bills, and the bills are smaller when the technology is properly applied. “We are pricing ourselves out of the justice system” with the cost of discovery.

What happens in cases in which there are large volumes of data to analyze and that analysis has to be presented as evidence? If there are too many points of data for a trier of fact to evaluate individually, how is the data authenticated with the point of view or “hypothesis” being presented by a trial attorney? Counsel at both tables need to know how to gather the data, defensibly organize and analyze it, and present it in plain English through a competent expert.

Even as we are afraid of how much data about us is being collected and used, we are wearing our Fitbits and streaming the information into our own data stores.

This keynote hit many of the major themes of LTNY2016: cybersecurity, privacy, and litigators’ technical competence. D4 has picked up the challenge from Judge Sargent. We are teaching and training at LTNY2016 at our roundtables to Rejuvenate Your Review.

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