Old Holloway’s Almanack 2012

By | 1st December 2011

Predicting the future is a mug’s game! However, it is fun, so here are my 5 predictions for 2012, in no particular order:

  1. Whether you call it inshoring, outshoring, outsourcing, northshoring or just stick with legal process outsourcing or LPO, it is likely that the process will continue to be in the news in 2012. There is so much difference between the rates of pay of a lawyer in Manila, Bangalore and Cape Town on the one hand and London or New York on the other that Managing Partners are bound to sit up and take notice. Add Belfast, Middlesbrough or Tunbridge Wells to the mix and Managing Partners are likely to find the whole concept irresistible. However, what happens if things go wrong? Examples might include that the quoted cost is not all inclusive of the benefits which have to be paid on top of salary in other jurisdictions, or that the quality is not as expected. English language skills may not be up to the expected standards and fluency may be way off. While accepting the benefits of outsourcing, 2012 may well be the year of a high profile instance of something coming badly unstuck.
  2. A non lawyer (actually a PR consultant) said to me the other day that Third Party Litigation Funders (TPLF) had not yet had their day. I agree, but I think that TPLF is here to stay. Those I know something about are very busy and others are unable to raise the needed funds. Clearly there is no uniformity in the market. 2012 could be the year that we see a greater acceptance of TPLF in litigation, which does not of course rule out a spectacular collapse of a funder through backing the wrong case(s).
  3. Technology Assisted Document Review (TADR) (or predictive coding as the technologists call it) is a hot topic. We have worked on a number of cases recently where TADR has been used. Not all have been entirely successful but the balance is overwhelmingly in favour of using this technology to reduce the costs of litigation. I predict a steady increase in its use.
  4. Social media is much in the news. There is much one could say about the whole area but my prediction for 2012 in this area is that there will be the first decided case in this jurisdiction which mirrors the US District Courts’ rulings that access to social media sites and the relevant logins and passwords be given to the opposing party as part of the process of disclosure.
  5. A long shot this, but 2012 will see the whole issue of data privacy and the transfer of data between the EU and the US take centre stage. Revisions to the EU Data Protection Directive due in 2012 may be the catalyst. What price safe harbour then?