Using IT to Transform the Legal System

Michael Vizard
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We all know that IT can quickly transform almost any business process, but more often than not, it happens in ways that are unexpected. But as the whole field of electronic discovery continues to get more sophisticated, the impact on our legal system could very well be profound.

As the electronic discovery process becomes both more sophisticated and less costly thanks in part to the rise of cost-effective ways of managing Big Data, the number of lawsuits that will be pursued is likely to increase sharply in the years ahead. This is because one of the deterrents to bringing a lawsuit these days is the cost of the discovery process. In fact, it's the cost of discovery that also results in a lot of companies simply deciding to settle a case when the cost of mounting a defense can exceed the damages being sought.

But as it becomes easier to search massive amounts of data, Andrew Sieja, CEO of kCura, the provider of the Relativity electronic discovery system that leverages server clusters to quickly discover related pieces of information, says that the number of cases that will be brought will increase, while at the same the incentives to settle those cases before trial might diminish. The end result is more lawsuits than ever going to trial, which may result in there actually be fewer frivolous lawsuits being filed as a percentage of a much larger caseload.

Sieja says more cost-effective ways of searching data also means that it will take fewer lawyers to sift through mounds of data, and that the conclusions reached about the relevancy of that data to the case is likely to be less subjective.

The degree to which this transformation of the legal system will take place is still open for debate. But clearly the combination of more cost-effective data management platforms and better analytic tools is going to have a major impact on both lawsuit costs and the amount of time it takes to bring them to trial. Whether that results in a better justice system is of course unknown. But the one thing that is for certain is that a lot more people are going to be having their day in court.

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