Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ten Positive Signs of Life for the E-Discovery Document

In the last year, a major law firm has been slapped with a lawsuit for sloppy document review work by their legal process outsourcing company. A state court has approved the use of predictive coding for electronic discovery. In addition, a U.S. District Court has affirmed a magistrate judge's order to employ predictive coding for the large amount of documents to be analyzed during discovery.
In sum, one might perceive the news report as rather gloomy for the e-discovery document review industry. Nevertheless, business is booming and there are a lot of reasons to celebrate.
Following (not in any order) are ten positive signs of life
1. QuisLex, a player in the legal process outsourcing industry, announced the opening of a brand new 25,000 square foot execution center in Hyderabad, India. This new office is an addition to their existing locations in U.S. and India. QuisLex declares that the expansion is in response to increasing client demand.
2. According to TechNavio, the legal process outsourcing market in India will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.7% in the period 2010-2014. It is determined that a driving force behind the market growth is favorable government policies.
3. Tower Legal Solutions, a legal staffing and managed review company based in New York City, recently announced the addition of its 10,000 square foot cutting edge document review center in Charlotte, South Carolina. In addition to accommodating 300 document reviewers, the new facility will house Tower Legal's internal staff.
4. A leading e-discovery solutions company, DW Legal, expanded its Chicago document review facilities last month to add 15,000 square feet of space. The increased space enables DW Legal to employ additional attorneys and support staff for document review projects.
5. Excelerate Discovery, one of the top providers of electronic discovery services, announced the introduction of Japanese Language Document Review Services as part of its portfolio of services.
6. Gallivan, Gallivan and O'Melia (GGO, LLC), who has been a leader for 10 years in providing e-discovery solutions, recently announced the expansion of its UK facilities. Growing demands for e-discovery services and hosted document review fueled the growth as GGO's projects and volume of data doubled within one year of opening its London operation in 2011.
7. Last month, UnitedLex announced that it projects to close its financial year with $45 million in revenue - a growth of 80% over last year.
8. IBISWorld forecasts that the law firms industry, which is now worth $281 billion, will grow by 2.8% per year to 2016.
9. SochaGelbmann Surveys reports the e-discovery industry grew at a CAGR of 34.4% from 2002 to 2010.
10. Across the globe, legal process outsourcing is expected to grow to a $1.3 billion market by 2015. The LPO industry in India is expected to employ 18,000 professionals and post an annual revenue of $960 million by the end of 2015.
Additional positive signs of life may be found in Israel, where new companies such as Legal Writing Services and Exact Legal Review are offering an outsourcing alternative to India. Israel possesses a large pool of English speaking, U.S. educated and U.S. licensed attorneys who can provide U.S. quality legal work at offshore prices.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Business Man for All Seasons

Henry had a problem. As CEO of a family run conglomerate that was one of the most powerful on the planet, he was not answerable to external shareholders and with the resources at his disposal (that included an effective private paramilitary force) he had the had the power to achieve just about anything he wanted by one means or another. He had a highly autocratic management style, but like many CEO's of similar style, had a fiercely loyal cadre of followers. Certainly not a man to be crossed.
But there was one thing he desperately craved that he couldn't have. Educated in one of the UK's finest Public Schools his closest friend and confidante from those days, Thomas, had been the son of an Archbishop well known for his outspoken views on such issues as poverty and social justice and Tom had a similar vein of tenacity. Despising one another on sight, and despite coming from very different worlds the two boys struck up a friendship and mutual respect that had endured over the years, as Henry eventually took over the conglomerate and Tom followed his father's calling through dedicating his life to working with the underprivileged and eventually rising to become one of the most respected leaders in Western Europe, renowned for his clear and uncompromising views on social justice.
Henry and Tom would often meet and debate at length their different perspectives - and while they shared a bond of friendship and respect for one another, their views fiercely clashed. Through direct and indirect control, Henry's business interests spanned healthcare, property, food production, armaments, financial services, liquor, gaming and other sectors, and he had a simple and Darwinian view that it was his right to do whatever he pleased to maximize profits regardless of the consequences. On the other hand Tom constantly argued from the perspective that there were absolute standards of right and wrong, and that Henry must be accountable for his actions.
Over the years, despite their friendship, this rift began to widen as Henry, increasingly emboldened by his ability to use fair means and foul to achieve his objectives, began to do more and more that Tom believed was across the line, and Tom began to build a reputation for being a person willing to speak out against Henry's approaches. This infuriated Henry, who privately had the worry that Tom had a point, and desperately wanted to gain his approval. Things became very tense.
Matters came to a head when a long and convoluted series of business deals Henry had been working on for years finally fell into place. Over the years he had used his influence and money - and the occasional assassination, military coup or civil war - to give his operations favorable positions in a number of countries and using this, his business interests and those he controlled covertly plus a series of complex financial transactions he now had effective supply and pricing control across enough key sectors of the economy that he was effectively an undeclared dictator.
Tom had learned of these plans through concerned contacts in Henry's organization and, knowing his friend as he did, was appalled at the likely consequences as Henry now had the power to cause mayhem and great suffering to many in society. He began a vocal campaign to rouse politicians and the public to be aware of Henry's plans and their evil intent.
The news broke as Henry was meeting with his inner circle of his most trusted senior executives at his retreat in the English countryside. Throwing the papers across the boardroom table in rage he shouted to his team "How long do I have to put up with this interference! How can I shut him up for good?"
One of his team quietly slipped out of the room. Taking a small encrypted mobile phone from his pocket he punched a speed dial number and it was answered immediately."Implement Silver Arrow" was all he said, and returned to the conference.
At 8pm that night as Thomas was leading his weekly church service for the homeless in a former cinema in the city's notorious red light district, two masked gunmen entered from a side door, each emptied a full magazine of 9mm rounds from their machine pistols into the startled Thomas, and disappeared while the congregation stood aghast at Thomas's lifeless body draped across the lecturn, blood slowly dripping from his outstretched hand.
On course this story is not a modern one but one based on fact, and often referred to in literature, of the relationship between King Henry II of England and Thomas a Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury. "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest" (meddlesome and troublesome are also words that have been used) was his cry of frustration, picked up by his knights, and Thomas was silenced for good.
The scenario is played out in the corporate world on a daily basis. Human nature is such that there will always be those whose ambition and self-focus needs to have boundaries, or they will quickly cross the line to the detriment of others. Whether described as corporate greed, personal ambition or any other label there is constant pressure to play loose and fast and there is the counterbalancing reaction by those who resist this - typically not for their own benefit. Have you ever thought, for example, why bank regulators exist? The answer is simple - because banks exist. I'm not taking a pot shot at banks - every industry has elements of the same.
The only thing that has changed is that Henry II had his knights to do the dirty work for him without having scruples. Today, that's what the HR department is for.