innovator“Although there continues to be two basic types of innovations—those that sustain the status quo and those that disrupt it— hybrids often emerge as a prelude to pure disruption in the category of a sustaining innovation.”

– Clayton Christensen

For almost a year now, we have been noticing that the rate of adoption of predictive coding is accelerating across the eDiscovery world: in law firms, corporate legal departments and in service providers.  This trend is creating a disruption in the way eDiscovery services are delivered. We don’t have many facts yet, but I want to give you a peek into what’s on my mind – share the questions that I’ll be asking industry experts as I explore this subject to help eDiscovery professionals prepare to fill a new role.

Adoption of Predictive Coding

During a recent conversation, the President of a global eDiscovery services firm divulged clients’ demand for the use of predictive coding has jumped from 12 cases total last year to 27 in the first five months this year.

FACT: The rate of adoption of TAR/CAR/predictive coding is accelerating.

QUESTION: What is that rate of acceleration and to what extent is this adoption impacting the macroeconomics of eDiscovery and the delivery of services?

FACT: This disruptive technology is having an impact on the careers of eDiscovery leaders—both attorneys and non-attorneys.

QUESTION: What is that impact?

The Predictive Coding Subject Matter Expert (SME)


“When I look for talent that understands TAR, I look for someone that not only understands the advantages of TAR, but its limitations.”(Partner of AmLaw 100 firm)

FACT: Though predictive coding technology will certainly get better and better and better, we need to understand the limitations of TAR in its current state.

QUESTION: What level of technological maturity does today’s professional possess? Is she prepared to have a 360 degree conversation about TAR?

FACT: There is a new new war for talent developing. Law firms, corporate legal departments and service providers are all looking for predictive coding SMEs.

QUESTION: Does that individual need to be a legalist, technologist or project manager?

Looking Forward

As the demand increases, there will be a need for additional legalists, technologists and project managers with experiential knowledge of predictive coding, who have evolved into TAR experts. We need to better understand the details of that emerging role.

Organizations are no longer asking about predictive coding they are asking for it. And so here’s my Yogi Berra sound bite: The more they ask for it, the more they ask for it. 



David Cowen

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