Tue, 11 September 2012
Megan McMahon and Barry Murphy (email@example.com)
—Posted by Barry Murphy and co-written by Megan McMahon
It was a packed house at The Cowen Group’s semi-annual in-person New New Leaders Breakfast at ILTA, with 50 eDiscovery and litigation support professionals gathered from across the country in attendance. David Cowen kicked off the week with many inquisitive looks from his audience when he walked up to a white board and scrawled the letters WHAWHN. The acronym stands for “what happens after what happens next” and David believes asking this question is essential for anyone who strives to be a leader in this space. Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, is famously quoted as saying, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” For those in the legal technology industry, it is time to think about where the puck is going, and David believes the puck is moving toward managed services.
Unlike the Q3 Leadership Breakfasts in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York which focused on the impact of Technology Assisted Review– the discussion at ILTA centered around how managed services stand to change the models and structures of many litigation support departments in the Am Law 200. The debate was lively and featured arguments over whether future job creation will be centered within law firms or managed services providers. Some law firm attendees believe that they will need and continue to maintain significant litigation support talent in-house. However, others recognized that there is a need for law firms to be flexible; which may mean having a certain amount of in-house expertise, along with relationships with managed service providers that can be leveraged to meet client expectations.
The general belief is that smart law firms will keep high-margin, low-volume work in-house and rely on managed services for high-volume, lower-margin work. For the first time ever, law firms are competing with 3rd party service providers for market share and a limited pool of talent. Because managed service providers can arbitrage the high cost of these in-demand workers across multiple clients and matters, law firms may find they do not have the resources to compete. We expect the job breakout to look something like the following:
Where do you think the jobs will be? Feel free to comment directly here on the site. Or, if you would like to join an upcoming TCG Leadership Breakfast event (September 13 in Atlanta and September 21 in Minneapolis), you can contact TCG Events.