Ten years ago, Richard Susskind released the first edition of his book Tomorrow’s Lawyers, which provides a look at the future of the legal profession, especially for new and aspiring lawyers, and anyone else who wants to modernize our legal and justice systems.
Susskind released a second edition in 2017 and he recently released the third edition of his book (available here), which asks this question:
“Will there ever be a day, though, when tomorrow’s lawyers will be today’s lawyers, and so no further editions will be required? To ask that question is to misunderstand the era in which we now live and labour. Over and above changes that are brought by the horrors of pandemic and war, technology is advancing at such a ferocious rate that, for the foreseeable future, we must expect to be operating in law in a period of endless flux.”
Technology is just one of the factors forcing legal modernization, the growth and potential of data and how humans adapt to all of it is transforming the legal industry.
Jobs for Tomorrow’s Lawyers
One of the most interesting sections of Susskind’s book is the chapter that discusses New Jobs for Lawyers, where he details “a promising range of new opportunities and new careers for people trained in the law” and highlights 15 new jobs for lawyers, as follows:
- legal design thinker
- legal knowledge engineer
- legal no-coder
- legal technologist
- legal hybrid
- legal process analyst
- legal project manager
- legal data scientist
- legal data visualizer
- R&D worker
- digital security guard
- ODR practitioner
- legal management consultant
- legal risk manager
Susskind then proceeds to discuss each of those jobs, stating: “Today’s lawyers will themselves have to take on some of these roles if they want to remain relevant and in demand.”
Susskind’s list of jobs got me thinking about jobs that relate to eDiscovery and how those jobs have evolved and continue to evolve. It didn’t take very long for me to identify 13 jobs or roles that relate to eDiscovery today and should continue to do so in the future.
The jobs for today’s and tomorrow’s discoverers are grouped into broad categories that illustrate how they fit into eDiscovery and related disciplines, such as cybersecurity and data privacy:
Data Oriented Jobs
Rapid Investigator: Includes internal investigators, private investigators and law enforcement agencies analyzing data to conduct investigations, but using the latest forensic techniques (e.g. targeted artifact collection and rapid analysis) to bring critical insights in 72 hours or less.
Enterprise Forensic Examiner: Conducts forensic collections and analysis to get to the digital truth regarding data sources and often testify at hearings and court proceedings. This new breed of Forensic Examiner will also have mastery on how enterprises operate, stitching together the data story as it travels across systems and other data sources.
Data Scientist: Interprets data, extracts meaning out of it and uses it to find patterns and develop solutions. In eDiscovery, data scientists today also have to be automation experts. They are often coordinating data intensive processes such as early data analysis (EDA) or technology assisted review (TAR) and scaling those insights across matters and organizational processes.
Hosting and Review Oriented Jobs
Platform Consultant: Helps case teams select the correct platform and tools for the current case at issue. One-size-fits-all is becoming increasingly ineffective, and having front-end guidance on the best tools for the job will be a critical component for success.
Evidence Review Attorney: There will always be a need for review attorneys, but how attorneys conduct review will continue to evolve as the sources of data evolve and the technology evolves to continue to meet those demands. The modern review attorney will have expertise on how data is stored and used in an organization and will be critical in extracting meaningful insights from varying forms of evidence, rather than relying on some person or tool reducing it to a “document” before they can apply their analysis. The Evidence Review Attorneys insights will be scaled across dataset by the Data Scientist & Automation Expert.
Review Strategist: Managing review will evolve beyond focusing team and ensuring an appropriate document review and overturn rate. The Review Strategist will focus teams on areas where the insights have the greatest ROI and/or yield the highest value in training the AI tools.
Production and Presentation Jobs
Production Manager: Many things can derail a successful production, so a number of QC steps must be performed to ensure that the production goes smoothly without any inadvertent disclosures. A production manager is key to ensuring smooth, successful productions that meet discovery obligations and get the key insights into evidence.
Courtroom Experience Designer: This modern version of Trial Support Specialist will move beyond managing graphics and trial presentation needs and shift to telling the data story in a compelling way using the resources available in each jurisdiction. Their skill will be applicable both in trials and significant motions.
eDiscovery Analyst: This job has evolved from litigation support analyst as eDiscovery has evolved to support many more use cases than just litigation and constitutes support at every phase of the EDRM life cycle.
eDiscovery Consultant/Special Master: Experts in eDiscovery provide consulting services to numerous clients. Many of them also serve as Special Master to courts to help facilitate the discovery process. With so many eDiscovery disputes, we’re seeing more cases requiring consultants and Special Masters than ever.
eDiscovery Project Manager: The person responsible for managing the entire eDiscovery life cycle and the team responsible for conducting discovery. eDiscovery project managers have a variety of backgrounds, including IT professionals, paralegals and lawyers, but they will have developed more formalized project management skills through training and education in addition to “learning on the job”.
Security and Privacy Jobs
Cyber Security Specialists: Responsible for discovering vulnerabilities and risks in networks, software systems and data centers with ongoing vulnerability scans, monitoring network data, and ensuring hardware and software applications are updated. With cyber incidents on the rise, these specialists are more important than ever as incident response has become one of the more common eDiscovery use cases.
Data Protection Officer: Ensures that company policies are in compliance with codes of practice such as GDPR and promotes a culture of data protection and compliance across the organization. Data protection has become a fixture in every eDiscovery workflow – not just those specific to data privacy requests.
While Susskind’s observations about the pace of technology and how lawyers will need to adapt to stay relevant are insightful, perhaps a more concise way to discuss the changing pace of technology and its role on eDiscovery and the legal profession would be an ancient quote from a Frenchman. In the 1800’s, French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote: “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – translated into English, that means “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
That’s not only true for law and technology, but it’s also certainly true for the world of electronic discovery. Tomorrow’s lawyers will need tomorrow’s discoverers to accomplish their goals – both will need to continue to evolve to succeed.
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