In Jennifer Booton’s recent article, Don't Send another E-mail until you Read this, she explores the growing cost of eDiscovery for corporate America while attributing a windfall to law firms. While the information may be appropriate and informative for a “mainstream” publication like MarketWatch, Booton’s focus on law firm profits is dated and ignores how technology is impacting the traditional law firm model.
In the early years of eDiscovery, profits in big law may have been significant because practitioners integrated the process into its hourly rate structure. However, the same technology that made e-mail (or other means of electronic communication) a revolutionary, cost-cutting communication tool is now forcing law firms to evolve in search of efficiency. In the broader legal technology industry, we are still feeling the impact of this symbiosis as firms adjust to meet client needs and expectations and consultants/technology vendors develop to satisfy a growing trend toward outsourcing and managed services.
While I don’t question Booton’s numbers or general premise, I do feel that it is inappropriate to attribute an eDiscovery “bonanza” to law firms in 2015.