eDiscovery Leaders Live: Michael Stack of Bricker & Eckler LLP
As the Practice Support Director at Bricker & Eckler LLP, a leading Midwest law firm with offices throughout Ohio and clients across the country, and a licensed member of the Ohio and Florida bars, Michael provides litigation and technology support to the firm’s practice groups in areas of eDiscovery across the EDRM lifecycle while applying best practices and using state-of-the-art legal technology tools. With almost a decade of experience in electronic discovery, Michael previously served as an eDiscovery project manager and contract attorney. Michael earned his JD from Florida Coastal School of Law, where he was the Technical Editor on the Florida Coastal Law Review and an award-winning oral advocate on the Moot Court Honor Board, and a BS in Business Administration from Auburn University. Michael became a Certified E-Discovery Specialist through ACEDS in 2020.
Michael started by discussing about his current role at the firm and the significance of practice support versus litigation support. From there, he talked about TAR as it is traditionally performed and compared that with capabilities offered by newer forms of AI. After looking at AI from AI models to computer vision, he discussed factors driving adoption, and then turned to comparing law firm and technology cultures. We talked about lawyers’ ethical duty of competence and how that plays out in the eDiscovery arena as well as changing law firm service models, and closed with how an evolving eDiscovery value propositions is altering the law firm – client dynamic.
- [2:30] Michael’s current role at Bricker & Eckler: expanding from litigation support to practice support.
- [3:57] Traditional TAR processes described.
- [5:58] Expanding adoption of newer forms of AI such as portable customizable AI models, the next generation of natural language processing, and sentiment analysis
- [7:10] Using video and image detection and contextualization.
- [7:43] The immense power of sophisticated data analytics.
- [8:12] One way machine review could be better.
- [9:16] The value of better user interfaces.
- [9:54] What is driving adoption of AI now and in the future.
- [12:06] Finding a new balance between expense and efficiency.
- [13:23] A duality between law firm culture and tech culture.
- [17:07] The ethical duty of competence as it relates to eDiscovery technology.
- [19:04] Defining lawyers’ technological competence.
- [21:26] Changes in law firm service models driven by changes in technology.
- [24:45] Law firm collection of data: a new interest in doing this work themselves?
- [27:17] How clients are reacting to a changing eDiscovery value proposition.
Key Quotes by Michael Stack
- “Some of the new elements, or newer elements, of unsupervised learning, of computer vision are changing that AI adoption model and how prevalent [the use of AI] becomes in smaller to medium sized firms that aren’t working on enormous 10 million document cases in eDiscovery.”
- “As the underlying technology gets better, the next logical step and another thing that’s really adding to this adoption is increasing the user interface and the UX such that you don’t need a software engineer to administer it. That ability to plug and play or plug and analyze, I guess, is helping drive that adoption of AI in eDiscovery even more. That’s particularly advantageous for smaller matters with tighter deadlines.”
- “I think the ability to kind of plug and play these new models [is increasing adoption]. There exists a model somewhere out there that’s looking for almost exactly what we need and we can make a few small tweaks on our end, a few clicks of a button, and apply this already existing AI model to help us reduce, to cull down, our dataset immensely.”
- “As a practitioner in eDiscovery you kind of have to shore up the technology first, make it fit into the practice, into the representation, and not the other way around. It takes a tremendous amount of expertise and experience to bridge the gap and make that happen.”
- “That zealous advocacy on behalf of your clients has to include to some extent this competence in the technology that’s related to eDiscovery and how you have to conduct the practice of law in the current digital age.”
- “At the heart of eDiscovery, at the heart of data, is a very simple proposition. What you’re doing is leveraging data to provide added value to clients.”