RelativityFest 2018: Top Three eDiscovery and Legal Industry Takeaways

Another autumn tradition is in the books. It’s not apple picking with the family. It’s not Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even enjoying a pumpkin spice latte by a crackling fire or kicking through a big pile of fallen leaves.

No, the autumn tradition we’re talking about is the annual Relativity Fest – the user conference for the eDiscovery software Relativity. Relativity Fest is one of the biggest gatherings of eDiscovery experts in North America – second only, perhaps, to LegalTech New York

As usual, this year’s event was packed with great content, interesting conversations, and insights from experts. Attendees heard from the judiciary, from eDiscovery practitioners, law firm attorneys, general counsel, and technologists around the world.

Here are a few notable takeaways from this year’s event:

1.    eDiscovery in the cloud is here to stay

Before “the cloud,” businesses would have to make large, up-front investments in hardware (computing, networking, data storage systems) and software (the applications that run on that hardware) just to get basic parts of a business, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), email, etc., off the ground. This was also true of legal operations centers – whether in law firms, corporations, or government entities. 

“The cloud” enables businesses to pay a monthly fee, usually based on usage, for both the hardware and software, delivered by a specialized provider purpose-built for the task. This helps many companies, particularly small or highly-specialized ones, by significantly reducing the overhead costs that often act as barriers to market entry and expansion.

Today, the cloud has made it possible to affordably “pay as you go” for the immediate use of someone else’s data center and software instead of incurring a large up-front infrastructure cost to be amortized over time and then separately procuring software to run on that hardware.

In the eDiscovery space, this method of service delivery is here to stay – and law firms and corporations can now safely take advantage of eDiscovery services without up-front infrastructure costs.

2.    Relativity is now available in the cloud 

Relativity – one of the best-of-breed legal technology options Epiq has long offered to its clients to simplify eDiscovery processes – is now available in the cloud, as RelativityOne. 

Although eDiscovery in the cloud is nothing new, the offering is new for Relativity users, and the platform is taking off among Epiq clients. So, what exactly is RelativityOne, and how is it different? Click here for everything you need to know about how, when, and why to use RelativityOne.

Multiple panels – including one hosted by Epiq chief innovation officer Cliff Dutton – focused on excellent service delivery and operational support for Relativity One users.

3.    Diversity is crucial to the legal profession 

From the judiciary and board rooms to law firms and corporate employees, diversity was a hot topic at this year’s Relativity Fest. Significant airspace was dedicated to the issue, with panel discussions and presentations ranging from “Fostering Inclusiveness in eDiscovery,” and “Access to Justice: Challenges for the Legal System and the Nation,” to the always-well-attended judicial panel, during which diversity in the judiciary was a key topic of discussion.

This focus on diversity at a major legal technology event is well-earned and desperately needed in an industry that lags behind many others when it comes to inclusion. According to the Washington Post, the legal profession is the least diverse in the United States, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data listing 88 percent of lawyers in the nation are white – higher than engineers, architects, accountants, physicians, and surgeons.

The picture isn’t much rosier on the gender spectrum, either. According to the New York Law Journal, just over half of all law students are women, yet only one-third of lawyers are women. And even fewer are at the top – with women’s share of equity partnerships remaining at only 20 percent and remaining immobile in recent years, according to the “2017 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report,” released by Law360.

Although there may not be easy solutions, the fact that one of the largest legal technology events of the year spent so much time openly and honestly discussing these issues is a positive sign for change in the industry.

Did you attend Relativity Fest this year? Let us know your thoughts on the event by Tweeting us @EpiqGlobal.

Missed the event this year? Register for next year’s Relativity Fest by clicking here.

Filed under: ediscovery, legal tech

The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.