One of the biggest changes the legal industry has dealt with over the past decade is the ever-growing amount of information stored online and on devices. Increasingly, the big data trend is becoming a reality for many law firms and courthouses. Big data refers to the collection and analysis of the multiple terabytes of information being produced as users create new electronic files, send emails, post on social media sites or perform Google searches. This means that law firms have to process more information than ever before.
“It is causing in-house law departments and risk officers to pay very close attention to the new issues [big data] is raising,” Peter Gronvall, the managing director of Huron Consulting Group, told BizTech Magazine. “Outside counsel is being called upon to advise on how best to handle [big data] concerns. This includes how to tap into [big data] as evidence when it falls within the scope of a legal issue and in terms of addressing data security, privacy, compliance and ethics considerations.”
Law firms are looking for ways to deal with the legal collection and processing that occurs before and during cases or on an ongoing basis. As clients collect huge amounts of data – sometimes up to 300 terabytes – lawyers need new ways to store, index and search through it. Legal eDiscovery is one solution that allows firms to perform analysis and review quickly and easily.
“The issues raised by [big data] will require important outside counsel help from a variety of practice specialties, including corporate compliance and ethics, data and records management, electronic discovery, and data privacy and security,” Gronvall said.
Government Technology explained that the electronic discovery process is being improved by new automated data collection methods that can scan and review documents, with information automatically pulled out into spreadsheets instead of being entered manually. For law firms dealing with not only the explosion of electronic information but also thousands or millions of physical documents, that is a powerful tool.