Predictive coding’s potential to revolutionise the way large litigation is handled will be a key focus of Chilli IQ’s conference being held in Sydney in June. The Honourable Judge Andrew Peck, US Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York, is enthusiastic about the potential of predictive coding to speed legal process, but says lawyer unfamiliarity with technology and time-based fee models can act as disincentives, and warns that a fresh business model may be required before predictive coding can be deployed to its fullest effect. Judge Peck is a keynote and panel speaker at Chilli IQ’s 8th Information Governance and e-Discovery Summit being held in Sydney on 17-18 June.

“In litigation it used to be a lawyer or a paralegal that had to read all that information. But given the volume now they can’t do it, it’s too time consuming, it’s too expensive. The simplest form of checking digital information is through a keyword search but that is inefficient, and so in the largest-document cases we are moving toward predictive coding or computer assisted review. Data is increasing monumentally and it’s just too expensive to do it the old fashioned way. It has to happen … and in the US there are a growing number of judicial decisions that have accepted predictive coding.”

However he notes that “Most lawyers charge by the hour; the longer something takes the more money there is in their pocket. One reason predictive coding may not be catching on as soon as it should is that it’s cutting time and that’s cutting profit to the law firm.”

Some corporate clients however – Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for example – require their lawyers to bill on a case or project basis (ie an agreed upon fixed fee) rather than on the billable hour, rewarding efficiency. Judge Peck also says electronic discovery has applications beyond the corporate world, for example allowing analysis of social media. “A lot of what used to be done by a private investigator can now be done using social media. It’s a personal injury case and the plaintiff says that since the 2012 accident he has not left the house. There’s a picture of the plaintiff ski-ing with the family in 2013 on the internet – game over.”

Chilli IQ’s 8th Information Governance and e-Discovery Summit will be held on 17-18 June 2014 at the Swissotel in Sydney. Further details available at: http://ediscoverysummit.com.au/