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Mishcon signs deal with software provider to launch separate e-discovery business

Mishcon de Reya has launched a new venture with e-discovery provider Unified and software developer kCura, agreeing a fixed-price three-year contract that it claims will save clients between 10% and 30% on large disclosure exercises.

Named Mishcon Discover, the law firm will be the first in the UK to provide e-discovery services in partnership with a technology provider.

The initiative is being developed by e-disclosure manager Richard Legge (pictured) alongside disputes managing associate Edward Carder. The business will be established under a new limited liability partnership and offer analytical services, including predictive coding, to help with disclosure requirements for electronic documents in litigation.

Unified and kCura will provide the software, Relativity, and Mishcon will provide consultancy services and work with clients to manage document reviews.

The firm carried out a tender process with potential suppliers for the fixed-price contract, which Mishcon expects to roll over when the term ends in 2019.

Speaking to Legal Business, Legge said: ‘Law firms are thinking about this but no one has had the guts to do it. It’s conservatism…you have to have a bullish outlook about the future.’

He added that a key advantage with its new offering is the availability of cheaper predictive coding, which is meant to help lawyers discard irrelevant documents quickly. ‘The licensing arrangement we have will allow us to provide Relativity to clients at a lower cost. At the moment it is a cost which for a general client would range between £50 and £150 per gigabyte. That’s why there’s a massive reluctance in the UK to get clients over that first hurdle and use that technology.’

Carder said the move was part of a wider push toward technology initiatives, as evidenced by Mishcon’s hire of Nick West from Axiom as chief strategy officer in January.

He added: ‘This is a financial risk. It’s taking a view on where we think the market will go. We want to see how technology will change our business – that’s why we hired West.’

Despite its relatively recent introduction into English litigation, the use of predictive coding in disclosure was given the green light by the English courts by Master Matthews in February.