eDiscovery has matured into a petulant toddler. At least, that is the sentiment of a panel discussing the “State of the eDiscovery Software & Service Market” at LegalTech. Since its inception in December 2006 as an amendment to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), electronic discovery, has grown exponentially; however, the means to harness and extract pertinent discovery has not evolved inline. This is rapidly transforming.

Technology will nurture eDiscovery into maturity. According to the panel, law firms and corporate counsel will better utilize technology with all forms of eDiscovery. These types of eDiscovery data, including voice, video, and real-time streaming coupled with the sheer volume and the speed of accessibility is simply too overwhelming for human consumption. Technology is the answer, but how?

The answer lies in what trends we will see in 2013:
– A rapid increase in corporate migration of unstructured ESI to SharePoint and cloud repositories;
– Steady increase in SaaS;
– Predictive coding competition heats up;
– How to collect new forms of ESI like social media and mobile device content;
– More focus on Information Governance (IG) activities like defensible deletion, while IG initiatives will seize on opportunities to clean up expired and or redundant information;
– Legal departments will struggle with application of selective preservation; and
– Requests for social media will increase, but gathering information will still remain challenging.

What do law firms plan on initiating in the next year:
– 26% Big Data governance;
– 36% Cloud Computing;
– 39% Social Media Governance;
– 52% Shared Drive cleanup; and
– 38% Formulized Legal Hold.

Ultimately, the panel suggests that law firms will be replacing a large portion of internal litigation support services, i.e. processing, hosting, and support with managed services partners.

Final anecdote: Howrey, one of the largest law firms to collapse a few years ago, always has been cited for accounting issues as the basis of its demise. However, one person noted that a little known major contributing factor was that they were “eDiscovery inept.” Essentially, vendors had better eDiscovery solutions, and Howrey spent too much on human resources instead of technology for its discovery needs.

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