Whether you call it technology-assisted review, predictive coding, or any one of its zillion names, we have been predicting that contract lawyers would take a hit.
Hat tip to Casey Horne for sending me a whimsical blog post by a contract attorney who has already been felled by technology. Blogger Rich Merritt entitles his post, "You've Been Replaced . . . By An Algorithm."
As he notes, contract attorneys thought the discovery rules were a kind of "full employment act" for attorneys. These days, he feels like a putz. He makes the interesting argument that contract attorneys are only the first line of the fallen, that the damage will run uphill, with fewer attorneys needed to supervise the contract attorneys.
He sees fewer attorneys involved overall in the e-discovery process- not sure I agree that the damage will be quite as catastrophic as he envisions. But is this a good time to be a contract attorney who does document review? Decidedly not. And it will get worse, not better.