Blog Post

What’s next for eDiscovery?

August 2, 2021

The eDiscovery market is constantly changing with caseloads increasing and AI improving. Terry Harrison, Godfather of eDiscovery, spoke to Exigent about what he sees as the next evolution of eDiscovery.

Organizations and law firms that do not use the full potential of eDiscovery are failing their clients and stakeholders.

That’s the word from the Godfather of eDiscovery, Terry Harrison, who was the keynote speaker in our recent webinar on the Future of eDiscovery. While eDiscovery technology is well established, there are still many firms that lack the understanding and ability to effectively use the myriad features within the technology, resulting in clients and cases being unnecessarily lost, particularly in jurisdictions which are only now moving into electronic methodology for this key litigation stage.

Less is more

Lawyers need to find the holy grail of reducing the volume of irrelevant documents for review while ensuring accurate presentation of the relevant documents and data. This needs to be done at speed and without charging clients a fortune, but still making enough money on each case for it to sustain a viable legal business. Many are still languishing in document overload or too many false positives, with insufficient capacity and budget to overcome this.

However, smart law firms are using elements such as clustering, email threading, visualization, and analytical features, as well as early case assessment, to ensure they have the right documentation and data set from the start. And this is just the beginning….

The eDiscovery market is constantly evolving; there are new challenges to overcome and new technologies to get to grips with. For example, an attorney now has a duty to look for social media and images pertaining to a case. But adding such burgeoning communications channels to what is already a mountain of documentation for most litigation cases, renders review even more complex.

With so much data from so many sources, review time is increasing significantly, along with costs, which is naturally frustrating for clients. According to a recent article in Forbes, when it comes to litigation, 25% of the total outside legal cost is spent on eDiscovery, and yet only 0.01% of the documents produced during the discovery process are used in court.

So, what’s the answer?

Technology + expertise

Technology is already helping us overcome some of these challenges. We are on version 2.0 of TAR (technology-assisted review) and in some areas, way beyond this. Continuous Active Learning – a particular branch of Artificial Intelligence – is already helping with automated translations, and picture and image searching.

But the future of eDiscovery is not just about technology. It’s understanding how it works and where to effectively apply it to derive maximum benefit and efficiency. And this is often where the legal sector stumbles and where organizations such as ASLPs can help, according to Harrison.

Having an ALSP to help make sense of these complex technologies, that has data scientists, mathematicians, and lawyers on staff, as well as experts that understand how and where these technologies are relevant to your case, has become the essence of competitive advantage.

Smart lawyers know this and are already winning clients based on their use of effective technology and intelligent resourcing. All the while having a positive impact on their bottom line. Using third party expertise means optimal use of technology by professionals focused entirely in this space so that the lawyers have more time to focus on their high value-high-complexity activities such as formulating case strategy ensuring a higher win rate, and only reviewing relevant discovered documents.

Not only that, but as independent and agnostic, some ALSPs are not tied to specific software, and have a broad knowledge across the sector, making them flexible in their approach according to client preferences. They also have a deep understanding of eDiscovery multijurisdictional best practices and can provide guidance on everything from review strategy to specific case processes and key findings.

Delivering into the future

The eDiscovery market shows no signs of slowing. The business world will increasingly produce more data, across more platforms and in more jurisdictions, and the number of channels we communicate on is growing with each passing year.

AI is racing not just to keep pace, but to continually make the process faster and more accurate. Those attorneys who harness the power of technology, and leverage the skills and experience of third-party expertise, will be rewarded with time to focus on what they do best; delivering excellent client counsel and the strategic advantage for successful case outcomes.

Want to find out how we culled 3 million documents to just 14,000 for Vedder Price? Read our case study here.