Takeaways from the Everlaw Summit: Illuminate 2021

Extract from Everlaw’s article “Takeaways from the Everlaw Summit: Illuminate 2021”

Last week, we hosted over 20 ediscovery and legal experts during the Everlaw Summit: Illuminate 2021. The two-day virtual event was a fantastic opportunity to take a pulse of the legal industry and see what’s in store for the future of ediscovery and legal technology as a whole.

These virtual sessions shed light on some of the obstacles legal professionals have encountered over the past year and how some have overcome the unforeseen challenges by leveraging ediscovery. In particular, there were some consistent yet resonating themes that colored these virtual roundtable discussions, including:

  • Cloud-based technology will be vital in enabling productivity and becoming disruption-proof
  • There’s more data, but less paper
  • The way we collaborate has changed
  • With the move to the cloud, security will be key

After two days of wide-ranging conversations, attendees walked away with new learnings and actionable insights. Let’s dive into a couple of the bigger takeaways from our sessions.

COVID-19 Has Impacted the Court System

The global pandemic has had a massive impact on the legal community and ushered new realities for the court system. For example, many cases are being tried via video-conference tools, such as Zoom, and a number of legal professionals are questioning whether this new normal should be here to stay. This inevitably has led to several legal workflows being done online — many are conducting depositions, court hearings, and trials remotely.

During our keynote session with Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison, we learned that prosecutors have not been trying as many cases, especially jury trials, due to the complications brought on by COVID-19. Many of these cases have been put on hold; however, many are starting up again due to the easing of restrictions brought on by the availability of vaccinations. Some courts have already begun trying these cases in person, while others are still utilizing video-conference tools.

The real question now is: will courts go back to operating the way they did before the pandemic, or will they incorporate elements from this new reality? As noted by Keith, it’s difficult to identify and spot the nuances in human behavior and tone when cross-examining a defendant via Zoom, but virtually conducting a court of appeals argument is a viable option. The truth of the matter is no one really knows what’s in store, so it’s something everyone in the legal industry will have to monitor closely.

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