eDiscovery experts are clearly swamped by unthinkably massive amounts of data pouring from a huge range of sources in varied formats and types, as well as the pressure of shorter deadlines and tighter budgets.
Amid the digital data explosion that continues into the new year, traditional IT methods will continue to be outpaced by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based models.
Unsurprisingly, legal technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and others are proving to be essential tools for all types of eDiscovery projects. Legal professionals are adjusting to the changes and figuring out how to save money, time, and effort not only during and after the review process but also through careful information governance, early case evaluation, and other effective approaches.
As we transition into another year full of opportunities, it is time to reflect on some of the most prominent trends that will likely shape up and impact us deeply.
#1 SaaS and cloud-based technologies to replace on-premise methods
Starting in 2023 and continuing into the future, the legal sector will rely more and more on SaaS and cloud technologies. Cloud infrastructures offer two key advantages: the ease of scalability, which allows the huge quantity of eDiscovery data to be stored in one location without concern for on-premise capacity restrictions, and flexible pay-as-you-go arrangements, which reduce vast initial expenses, offer reasonable monthly prices, and save companies money down the road. SaaS and cloud technologies not only provide scalability and cost savings but also provide regular upgrades, speed, and security.
This pattern is not new. Due to the comfort and accessibility of cloud tools, it has been going on for some time, but it has started to increase considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
#2 Structured data to outperform unstructured data
The vast bulk of data is unstructured, and it is everywhere. Unstructured data comprise all types of information, like Word documents, digital photographs, Zoom calls, emails, and text messages. Unstructured data lack a recognizable framework or specified data structure, which makes it challenging for computer programs to maintain and store effectively.
Structured data, on the other hand, is found in relational databases and complicated applications and may be a component of a larger system of interconnected and interacting pieces. On the contrary, unstructured data is more akin to a disorganized garage filled to the brim with various odd items that were never given a sensible place to be stored.
#3 eDiscovery complexity is accelerating
Since the days of combing through boxes of paper files, document evaluation has evolved dramatically. A legal expert may now review everything from a single laptop to multiple server loads, without the need for paper, due to technological advancements.
However, with the introduction of various file types produced by chat platforms, collaboration tools, and other apps, eDiscovery systems have undergone yet another transformation and have become far more complex.
#4 Workflow automation to increase value by speeding up eDiscovery
In eDiscovery, workflow automation is exceptionally useful. Legal professionals can rapidly and automatically sift out extraneous data by automating workflows, which eliminates the need for numerous time-consuming manual processes.
Legal teams should be careful in selecting the workflow template most suited for each project, producing a thorough overview of who is accountable for each step of the process and a timeframe for when each step should be finished. Teams can use templates that have been successful in the past while working on new projects rather than having to start from scratch.
#5 AI to Redefine eDiscovery processes with increased adoption
AI is at present having a significant impact on the eDiscovery industry, and its role is only going to become more important in the years to come. AI can be used to automate the review process, identify relevant documents, and even predict the outcomes of legal cases. As the use of AI becomes more widespread, it will become increasingly significant for law firms and legal professionals to be familiar with its capabilities and how to best utilize it in their work.
Through AI, the ability to operate more successfully and efficiently than ever before is made possible by predictive coding, data analytics, and deeper algorithms in general. AI models, similar to those developed by LDM Global, can be very effective in accelerating the route to finding facts faster.
The use of data mining algorithms in modern AI allows it to not only significantly reduce the volume of documents sent for review but also to extract critical keywords and search terms as well as to discover additional custodians who need to be contacted or put on legal hold.
#6 Use of Predictive Coding to increase
Predictive coding is another technology benefiting from the increasing use of AI. This technology implements algorithms to predict which documents are most likely relevant to a particular case.
This can save time and money during a document review, as only the most relevant documents need to be examined in detail.
#7 Increased Use of ECA automation in optimal in-house eDiscovery
An early but crucial element in the discovery process is early case assessment (ECA). ECA assists legal teams in litigation preparation in several ways. As a result, lawyers and clients can decide on the best course of action, whether that is to resolve the matter quickly or proceed to trial, by more correctly predicting the cost of a case. Additionally, it can assist teams in developing reasonable legal budgets for the whole discovery procedure and any subsequent litigation.
A more defended procedure is also made possible by early case assessment. All potentially responsive documents can be put on legal hold as soon as your ECA is underway, helping you to meet your preservation obligations and reduce the risk of being fined.
Adaptation of end-to-end eDiscovery approach
Adopting an “e2eDiscovery” or end-to-end eDiscovery approach that offers pre-packaged tools to assist a project from start to finish. This strategy, which attorneys are increasingly using, guarantees consistency throughout the entire procedure.
Legal practitioners need to stay on top of the latest technologies and trends to navigate the eDiscovery process successfully. By leveraging AI and data analytics, along with the latest rules and trends, legal teams can ensure that they are properly managing their eDiscovery process. They will see themselves adopting an “e2eDiscovery” or end-to-end eDiscovery approach that offers pre-packaged tools to assist a project from start to finish.