Big Data Means Big Challenges, Bigger Opportunities

The heyday of Big Law might be a thing of the past, but the Big Data era is just beginning.

And according to Jon Resnick, Managing Director at Huron Legal, it’s the biggest technological challenge facing the legal industry in the near future. In a Q&A with Above the Law, Resnick said that companies and organizations are producing data at an ever-increasing pace.

“At some point it will become impossible to manage the discovery process as it’s currently being done,” Resnick said. “However I believe we are still 7 to 10 years away from that.”

At Generation Generosity, we have our own predictions of what the next several years will bring to the legal field. The findings of Law2023 tell us that unprecedented technological disruptions are reshaping the industry and producing new winners and losers. The law firms that will come out on top will be those that embrace these changes and pursue innovations to make technology work for them rather than against them. But when it comes to Big Data, they have their work cut out for them.

“With respect to discovery, the massive speed at which information is now generated has created a log jam in the process that has forced companies to settle litigations they would normally take to trial,” Resnick said. “The ease with which technology has allowed the creation and storing of this information has been both a blessing and a curse – a blessing because we have available the information with which to make informed decisions, a curse because of the potential problems with retrieval and the adverse impact on the cost of discovery. This emphasizes the need for strong, enterprise-wide information governance and the legal industry needs to be driving that push.”

Some firms are leading the way by experimenting with the traditional law firm staffing model. In creating new positions for information technology specialists and business process managers, innovative firms can create their own proprietary systems to make sense of evermore massive data volumes. But the professionals who are capable of crafting the best solutions are in demand across numerous industries, so legal practices must be prepared to compete to woo the top talent.

For those organizations that are already forfeiting legal opportunities due to the high cost of discovery, the dilemma of Big Data isn’t going to solve itself. Attorneys seeking to practice Great Law for their clients must collaborate with their tech-savvy partners if they hope to outpace the growth of information.