eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Trends: 2012 Predictions – By The Numbers

With a nod to Nick Bakay, “It’s all so simple when you break things down scientifically.”

The late December/early January time frame is always when various people in eDiscovery make their annual predictions as to what trends to expect in the coming year.  I know what you’re thinking – “oh no, not another set of eDiscovery predictions!”  However, at eDiscovery Daily, we do things a little bit differently.  We like to take a look at other predictions and see if we can spot some common trends among those before offering some of our own (consider it the ultimate “cheat sheet”).  So, as I did last year, I went “googling” for 2012 eDiscovery predictions, and organized the predictions into common themes.  I found eDiscovery predictions here, here, here, here, here, here and Applied Discovery.  Oh, and also here, here and here.  Ten sets of predictions in all!  Whew!

A couple of quick comments: 1) Not all of these are from the original sources, but the links above attribute the original sources when they are re-prints.  If I have failed to accurately attribute the original source for a set of predictions, please feel free to comment.  2) This is probably not an exhaustive list of predictions (I have other duties in my “day job”, so I couldn’t search forever), so I apologize if I’ve left anybody’s published predictions out.  Again, feel free to comment if you’re aware of other predictions.

Here are some of the common themes:

  • Technology Assisted Review: Nine out of ten “prognosticators” (up from 2 out of 7 last year) predicted a greater emphasis/adoption of technological approaches.  While some equate technology assisted review with predictive coding, other technology approaches such as conceptual clustering are also increasing in popularity.  Clearly, as the amount of data associated with the typical litigation rises dramatically, technology is playing a greater role to enable attorneys manage the review more effectively and efficiently.
  • eDiscovery Best Practices Combining People and Technology: Seven out of ten “augurs” also had predictions related to various themes associated with eDiscovery best practices, especially processes that combine people and technology.  Some have categorized it as a “maturation” of the eDiscovery process, with corporations becoming smarter about eDiscovery and integrating it into core business practices.  We’ve had numerous posts regarding to eDiscovery best practices in the past year, click here for a selection of them.
  • Social Media Discovery: Six “pundits” forecasted a continued growth in sources and issues related to social media discovery.  Bet you didn’t see that one coming!  For a look back at cases from 2011 dealing with social media issues, click here.
  • Information Governance: Five “soothsayers” presaged various themes related to the promotion of information governance practices and programs, ranging from a simple “no more data hoarding” to an “emergence of Information Management platforms”.  For our posts related to Information Governance and management issues, click here.
  • Cloud Computing: Five “mediums” (but are they happy mediums?) predict that ESI and eDiscovery will continue to move to the cloud.  Frankly, given the predictions in cloud growth by Forrester and Gartner, I’m surprised that there were only five predictions.  Perhaps predicting growth of the cloud has become “old hat”.
  • Focus on eDiscovery Rules / Court Guidance: Four “prophets” (yes, I still have my thesaurus!) expect courts to provide greater guidance on eDiscovery best practices in the coming year via a combination of case law and pilot programs/model orders to establish expectations up front.
  • Complex Data Collection: Four “psychics” also predicted that data collection will continue to become more complex as data sources abound, the custodian-based collection model comes under stress and self-collection gives way to more automated techniques.

The “others receiving votes” category (three predicting each of these) included cost shifting and increased awards of eDiscovery costs to the prevailing party in litigation, flexible eDiscovery pricing and predictable or reduced costs, continued focus on international discovery and continued debate on potential new eDiscovery rules.  Two each predicted continued consolidation of eDiscovery providers, de-emphasis on use of backup tapes, de-emphasis on use of eMail, multi-matter eDiscovery management (to leverage knowledge gained in previous cases), risk assessment /statistical analysis and more single platform solutions.  And, one predicted more action on eDiscovery certifications.

Some interesting predictions.  Tune in tomorrow for ours!

So, what do you think?  Care to offer your own “hunches” from your crystal ball?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.