The NY Times article, Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software, has aroused a lot of comment, e.g. here (Strategic Legal Technology).
Of course, much of the comment is about the “replacement” angle (although not the Strategic Legal Technology blog), including glee and anxiety, but perhaps more interesting is the analytic capacity that such software brings that individual lawyers could never bring. Examples that I particularly like in the article dealt with automated analysis of e-mails to identify when conversations were taken away from e-mail (arguably to avoid the trail) or when the tone changed from informal to formal (indicating a conscious-of-guilt case with words).
Given how hard it has been to bring “pattern and practice” law suits showing systemic, but not formally authorized, misconduct by government agencies and corporations, this kind of technology can only make it easier to achieve transparency.
Another advantage may be that the invasion of privacy may be less when performed by a computer — unless relevant potential wrongdoing is found, of course.
p.s. Richard Moorhead’s Blog has a more comprehensive summary of the article, and some useful links.