Aaron is program director, Content Discovery and Search, IBM Information Management Software. His thoughts on legal-sector KDD were very much in line with mine. He graciously gave me permission to share his response, which I'll post verbatim —
I'd definitely agree that there's tremendous potential for text analytics in the legal space. The technology today may be just starting to make inroads (e.g. with basic extraction and clustering showing up in tools for eDiscovery review and early case assessment) but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Text analytics promises to change the fundamental economics of eDiscovery (and to a similar extent, compliance-driven investigations) by transforming it from an exhaustive, human-centric process to a high-productivity collaboration between legal expert and analytics-driven discovery tools that go well beyond what you can do with traditional search and navigation to quickly highlight anomalies, expose unexpected patterns, etc.
Of course there are significant hurdles to overcome — notably establishing a track record in court for evidence discovered, retained, and/or prioritized by analytics-based technologies — but the great thing about the legal market is that the economics and pain points are such that this will happen, especially as more and more corporations start treating legal discovery as part of a proactive, in-house process managed by IT.
Also interesting is the fact that legal analytics is one of the first mainstream applications of text analytics in the 'traditional' [Enterprise Content Management] space, again in our view, the tip of the iceberg in enabling a broader content-centric business intelligence capability driven by the combination of enterprise content management with text analytics.
So as you might guess, this is an area that's very interesting to me and very aligned with our text analytics focus at IBM.
My dialogue with Aaron continued, and I hope to post additional excerpts.My last blog article relayed key points about e-discovery and potential knowledge-discovery (KDD) applications in the legal sector that were reinforced by my participation in the recent LegalTech conference. A LegalTech exhibitor mentioned his company's discussions with IBM, so I dropped IBM text-technologies researcher Aaron Brown a note. He graciously gave me permission to share his response, which I'll post verbatim...