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Encompass Blog

February 8, 2018

A First-Timer and Veteran Report Back on Legaltech 2018

By Allan Crawford, Chris O’Kane

Legaltech, the largest legal technology event of the year, took place in New York City last week.  Several Encompass team members joined thousands of electronic discovery and legal technology professionals from around the country for this important week of seminars, idea exchanges, demonstrations, and networking forums. 

What’s next?  What’s the next “big thing” for electronic discovery?  Allan began attending Legaltech in 1998 and this was Chris’s first time.  As such, we thought it would be interesting to compare our notes and thoughts on “what’s next.”

We found a common and glaring theme with the sessions we attended and the folks we met with-- communication channels are constantly emerging and evolving, as is the technology around that process.  How we communicate across our businesses is extremely fluid and changing faster than we can keep up.  Four take-aways, along this vein:

  1. Business units want new ways to communicate with customers.
  2. The need to collaborate in a common location, and in a “social” setting, has increased.
  3. Communications become faster and more immediate.
  4. These technologies (i.e., Snapchat, WeChat and Slack) are not only changing the platform we communicate on, but they also change the substance and manner with which we communicate with each other. 

For example, during the session titled, “Social Mobile Cloud--Welcome to the Next Generation of E-Discovery,” it was reported that in 2017 there were 66 cases where emojis were mentioned in a court ruling.  Courts and juries are now having to interpret what emojis imply.  The panel was strongly recommended that we implement and enforce strict protocols around our communication platforms.

Artificial intelligence (AI) was the buzz word of 2017 and looks to remain so in 2018.  In previous years, there was predictive coding and technology assisted review (TAR), early case assessment (ECA), and information governance (IG).  We gathered that AI will continue to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, within and outside of e-discovery.

While our experiences and expectations were certainly different, we both whole-heartedly agree that 2018 Legaltech proved that emerging technologies for communication and the application of AI are truly what’s next.


Allan Crawford is the client data management administrator for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and is in the Columbia office.  He has been in the litigation technology industry since 1995 and began his career with Nelson Mullins in 2002.

Chris O'Kane is a client data management specialist in Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP's Nashville office. He has been working in electronic discovery and litigation solutions for seven years.

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