As we approach the fag end of the year, the E-Discovery landscape is also, once again, at a decisive moment. By all means, data volumes persist to explode, compelled in part by fresh and novel types of data and legal technology solutions. The pandemic eternally changed the way we live, work, and communicate.
While looking ahead to 2023, you can witness that E-Discovery will be shaped by several key players undoubtedly. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud-based models are surging up at lightning speed. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other legal technologies are, inevitably, proving their worth as critical tools for all types of E-Discovery projects.
In this article, we will take a look at some E-Discovery challenges along with some happening trends. Along the way, we’ll also proffer some advice about how your organization can get ahead of – the ever-changing E-Discovery landscape.
Discovery & its Challenges:
As a matter of fact, E-Discovery professionals face several dreadful challenges.
Lately, law firms and corporate legal departments are being flooded by colossal amounts of data from varied sources. The sheer volume of data that is now potentially ascertainable can seem like an insurmountable hindrance.
Second, that data is of heterogeneous formats and types. Due to the pandemic, you would have thought that remote working will continue to stay. The shift in the workforce brings forth vital consequences for the world of E-Discovery.
Thirdly, many legal professionals are encountering the gravity of shorter deadlines and tighter budgets. Corporate legal departments, in particular, are expected to stick to pre-established budgets, subsequently.
Let’s glance at the trends that will likely shape E-Discovery in the coming year
E-Discovery Trends in 2023
1. SaaS and Cloud-based Technologies
SaaS and cloud solutions are on track to veil on-premise IT approaches across all the key markets worldwide. As it has many other technological advances, the legal world has lagged a bit in shifting to the cloud. Eventually, more law firms are holding cloud approaches, and those that do are burgeoning greatly from them.
2. Structured Data Vs. Unstructured Data
Currently, the majority of data is unstructured. It is also prevalent everywhere. For instance, unstructured data includes everything from Word documents to digital photos and from Zoom calls to emails and text messages. The common thread prevailing here is that ‘unstructured data lacks an identifiable structure or a preconceived data model’. This, in turn, makes it hard for computer programs to efficiently store and manage, in particular.
Structured data can save the precious time, money, and energy of organizations. It is predominantly because the structured data is easy to store, find, and analyze. Furthermore, organizations switch to cloud systems that are often based on structured data models. So, it is mandatory for law firms and corporate legal departments to be equipped accordingly.
3. E-Discovery Architectures
Document review has changed in all respects since the days of harpooning through boxes of paper files. Technological advances now entitle a legal professional to scrutinize everything from a single laptop, with no paper required.
However, E-Discovery architectures have evolved yet again. It is becoming far more complicated with the introduction of diverse file types generated by chat platforms and other apps.
4. Investment in Legal Technology
As per recent research, 40% of corporate legal departments envisage surging their spending on legal IT systems or software by at least 10% by 2023. Moreover, when AI and other legal technology become a standard part of legal practice and E-Discovery projects, we wish to see the intensification of investments.
5. Workflow Automation
As predicted, by 2023, a third of corporate legal departments would necessarily have a legal technology expert. It is phenomenal to support in-house counsel with regard to workflow automation initiatives.
Workflow automation is particularly beneficial in E-Discovery. With workflow automation, teams can swiftly and automatically weed out irrelevant data. Therefore, legal teams should be vigilant enough to select the apt workflow template. It should create a clear map of who is responsible for each piece of the process along with a timeline for each component’s completion.
6. Remote & Hybrid Work Models
The shift to remote work made a huge impact on E-Discovery in two ways. First and foremost, it changed where and how E-Discovery professionals perform their jobs. Moreover, it also expanded the amount and types of digital data created by the remote workforce. As a matter of fact, Cloud-based discovery is flexible and scalable. Hence, it can easily accommodate this growth in a way that on-premise installations cannot.
7. AI’s Contribution to E-Discovery
AI is becoming an integral and also an expected part of electronic document discovery. Predictive coding and data analytics, along with the overall deeper algorithms pave the E-Discovery professionals to work more effectively.
AI is restyling the way legal professionals regulate discovery even before the review stage. Modern AI lays hands-on data mining techniques. It can drastically reduce the number of documents sent for review. In addition, it can also extract new keywords and search terms and even identify additional custodians.
8. Automated ECA
Early Case Assessment (ECA) is an essential step in the E-Discovery process. ECA helps legal teams in litigation preparation in two ways. First, it can predict the cost of a case more accurately. so that lawyers and clients can choose the best course of action. Second, it can help teams effectuate realistic legal budgets for the full discovery process and any ensuing litigation, subsequently.
9. Better Information Governance
Information governance (IG) lays the strong foundation for an organization’s understanding and control of its information. Legal technology can provide organizations with a persistent and systematic approach to IG. This approach ultimately results in more efficient and effective E-Discovery solutions.
10.e2E-Discovery (end-to-end E-Discovery) Approach
The stress on a holistic view of IG sequences with our final trend: adoption of an “e2E-Discovery” or end-to-end E-Discovery approach. This approach, which is being used more and more by legal professionals, guarantees continuity throughout the entire process.
For law firms, e2E-Discovery solutions are ravishing because they demand working with vendors who are strategic partners. Thus, matching the reliability and commitment that the firm would expect from its own people.
In short, e2E-Discovery solutions can cut costs efficiently and give legal professionals a trusted partner. E-discovery is a form of digital investigation that attempts to trace out evidence in email, business communications, and other data that could be used in litigation. The traditional discovery process is standard during litigation, but in terms of e-discovery service is specific to digital evidence.