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Predictions 2010: Blawgers Dust Off Their Crystal Balls

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," cautioned philosopher George Santayana a century ago. As the year and the decade come to a close, there is plenty of remembering going on, with legal bloggers and newspapers offering year-end lists and decade-end lists.

Crystal_ball Meanwhile, some legal bloggers are looking ahead to 2010 and offering their predictions of what lies ahead. One such prescient professional is Mary Mack, corporate technology counsel for Fios Inc., who has compiled her 2010 predictions for the e-discovery market. Her top prediction is one that is already proving true: There will be increased adoption of early case assessment.

Some others of Mack's predictions may be more debatable -- or at least more controversial -- including that certification will start to be a prerequisite for an entry-level job in e-discovery services. The prediction I find most interesting is that cloud computing will be embraced "without concern for jurisdiction and nexus issues," with the result that there will be "surprises in taxation, intellectual property, privacy, privilege or evidence." (In a separate post, Mack grades the accuracy of her 2009 predictions.)

Speaking of cloud computing, Larry Port offers five predictions for its future as a tool for legal-practice management. Writing in Law Practice Today, Port, founding partner and chief software architect of the Web-based practice-management tool Rocket Matter, says that 2010 will bring a broader array of software-as-a-service products targeted to the legal community and therefore more choices for legal consumers.

With more products will come more functionality, even when offline, Port predicts. Those developments will drive a "mass migration" away from the desktop and into the cloud. "Even though legal SaaS adoption rates have skyrocketed in 2008 and 2009, they will continue to do so in 2010," Port writes.

Another legal prognosticator is Michael Cassidy, who shares his New Year's Predictions for Health Care at his Med Law Blog. Given the 11th-hour wranglings on Capitol Hill, Cassidy is treading on risky terrain to make predictions about health care. He wades right in, predicting that 2010 will bring an expansion in health-insurance coverage, but noting that the execution of that will be more complex than might seem.

Cassidy also predicts that taxes will increase to pay for increased coverage, providers will be paid less, and that any tort reform measures that are approved will be driven more by politics than economics.

Last but not least, JD Supra asked a number of lawyers to look ahead to 2010 and tell us what they see. The lawyers who responded come from an array of practice areas and offer a variety of viewpoints. Most encouraging, perhaps, is this from Gerry Riskin, founder of Edge International: "2010 is a year to conquer adversity by increasing market share, growing margin and therefore a profit, even in the face of falling demand."

If I have missed other legal bloggers' predictions for the year or the decade ahead, let me know in a comment below.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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