The article in the New York Times claims just that, software replacing lawyers. But, as many newspaper articles, it mixes a few things up.
Anyone who is reading this probably knows, the eDiscovery market is about 4B, and it is not shrinking. Of the usual costs of eDiscovery, lawyers get 75% and processing costs constitute only 25%. As this blog is frequent to point out, lawyers are creatures of habit more than others, and this habit is good law, so it is not going away any time soon, even in the presence of statistics that are pro-computer.
Then where are the authors of the article correct? In their praise of the new tools for analytical eDiscovery, even if not in their assessment of their impact. For internal use, these tools provide lawyers with definite advantages and help them find important leads. Whether the judge will accept document classification as privileged, if it is done by a computer review - this will require the change in attitude, the improvement in technology, and perhaps a review of applicable laws.
However, with the driving force coming from customers not willing to pay the high bills of what essentially is human search where automation would be welcome - all sides may eventually be forced to accept this. Why do we trust Google on search results? Because it is not humanly possible to read all relevant information by ourselves.
Art: Pierre Auguste Renoir - The Thinker Aka Seated Young Woman