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April 22, 2010

Giving E-Discovery the Finger

Gesture One of the most important innovations in electronic discovery emerged two weeks ago, with nary a note from the blogosphere.  But, the leap for EDD is real.  That innovation is the iPad. 

Hey, I see all the eye rolling, but before you think I'm just another geek who's slavishly joined Jobs' conga line, understand that I'm not talking about the iPad per se.  Sure, it's a gorgeous piece of digital hand candy and, like the Kindle, it will influence technology's trajectory in a powerful and insidious way.  But, I think the influence on e-discovery will spring less from the device as from widespread acclimation to its ingenuous gestural interface on a page-sized scale.

What's been missing most in e-discovery (besides lawyer competence) is the ability to emulate some of the best features of paper records, especially the ability to flip pages fast and riffle documents to gauge their consistency or relevance.  Reviewing and sorting e-documents at a workstation just doesn't feel right, and it makes lawyers long for bankers boxes.  But if you could flip through evidence on an iPad and use natural gestures to, say, propel non-responsive docs off-screen with a dismissive gesture or slide docs in other directions to sort them as responsive or privileged, document review would feel as natural and efficient as leafing through a stack of paper.

It won't be the iPad circa 2010 that changes the face of e-document review; but, it's the device we'll remember as the one that started it all--the device that unshackled review and let us forget it's not paper.


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Spot on! I have long opined that the use of IT has been held back by the lack of hardware development. Before the iPad I used to long wistfully for a touch-screen device embedded in the top of my desk that I could cover with a wooden slide, rather like a horizontal roll-top desk, and which I could operate as if it were the original paper. I should have stuck a "TM" on that!

I must admit that I blogged on the iPad release that it was a disappointment for Legal. But summarised that when the device got as convenient as a pad of paper or a paper magazine then the revolution would take place.

I think you're saying the same think for eDiscovery and like the Newton was a forerunner to the iPhone, the iPad will be the genesis.

And for Jonathan, take a look at Microsofts surface technology!

Well, make mine a DynaBook!

Seriously, I would love to have a tablet or pad computer that would allow me to (among other things) review and annotate documents as if I had them in my hands.

The iPad is a step in the right direction, but I want to seek what the HP tablet has to offer.

Thanks Jason. Now I know what I was playing with in the Sheraton bar during LegalTech in NYC!

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