eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Trends: Our 2012 Predictions


Yesterday, we evaluated what others are saying and noted popular eDiscovery prediction trends for the coming year.  It’s interesting to identify common trends among the prognosticators and also the unique predictions as well.

But we promised our own predictions for today, so here they are.  One of the nice things about writing and editing a daily eDiscovery blog is that it forces you to stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry.  Based on the numerous stories we’ve read (many of which we’ve also written about), and in David Letterman “Top 10” fashion, here are our eDiscovery predictions for 2012:

  • Still More ESI in the Cloud: Frankly, this is like predicting “the Sun will be hot in 2012”.  Given the predictions in cloud growth by Forrester and Gartner, it seems inevitable that organizations will continue to migrate more data and applications to “the cloud”.  Even if some organizations continue to resist the cloud movement, those organizations still have to address the continued growth in usage of social media sites in business (which, last I checked, are based in the cloud).  It’s inevitable.
  • More eDiscovery Technology in the Cloud As Well: We will continue to see more cloud offerings for eDiscovery technology, ranging from information governance to preservation and collection to review and production.  With the need for corporations to share potentially responsive ESI with one or more outside counsel firms, experts and even opposing counsel, cloud based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are a logical choice for sharing that information effortlessly without having to buy software, hardware and provide infrastructure to do so.  Every year at LegalTech, there seems to be a few more eDiscovery cloud providers and this year should be no different.
  • Self-Service in the Cloud: So, organizations are seeing the benefits of the cloud not only for storing ESI, but also managing it during Discovery.  It’s the cost effective alternative.  But, organizations are demanding the control of a desktop application within their eDiscovery applications.  The ability to load your own data, add your own users and maintain their rights, create your own data fields are just a few of the capabilities that organizations expect to be able to do themselves.  And, more providers are responding to those needs.  That trend will continue this year.
  • Technology Assisted Review: This was the most popular prediction among the pundits we reviewed.  The amount of data in the world continues to explode, as there were 988 exabytes in the whole world as of 2010 and Cisco predicts that IP traffic over data networks will reach 4.8 zettabytes (each zettabyte is 1,000 exabytes) by 2015.  More than five times the data in five years.  Even in the smaller cases, there’s simply too much data to not use technology to get through it all.  Whether it’s predictive coding, conceptual clustering or some other technology, it’s required to enable attorneys manage the review more effectively and efficiently.
  • Greater Adoption of eDiscovery Technology for Smaller Cases: As each gigabyte of data is between 50,000 and 100,000 pages, a “small” case of 4 GB (or two max size PST files in Outlook® 2003) can still be 300,000 pages or more.  As “small” cases are no longer that small, attorneys are forced to embrace eDiscovery technology for the smaller cases as well.  And, eDiscovery providers are taking note.
  • Continued Focus on International eDiscovery:  So, cases are larger and there’s more data in the cloud, which leads to more cases where Discovery of ESI internationally becomes an issue.  The Sedona Conference® just issued in December the Public Comment Version of The Sedona Conference® International Principles on Discovery, Disclosure & Data Protection: Best Practices, Recommendations & Principles for Addressing the Preservation & Discovery of Protected Data in U.S. Litigation, illustrating how important an issue this is becoming for eDiscovery.
  • Prevailing Parties Awarded eDiscovery Costs: Shifting to the courtroom, we have started to see more cases where the prevailing party is awarded their eDiscovery costs as part of their award.  As organizations have pushed for more proportionality in the Discovery process, courts have taken it upon themselves to impose that proportionality through taxing the “losers” for reimbursement of costs, causing prevailing defendants to say: “Sue me and lose?  Pay my costs!”.
  • Continued Efforts and Progress on Rules Changes: Speaking of proportionality, there will be continued efforts and progress on changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as organizations push for clarity on preservation and other obligations to attempt to bring spiraling eDiscovery costs under control.  It will take time, but progress will be made toward that goal this year.
  • Greater Price/Cost Control Pressure on eDiscovery Services: In the meantime, while waiting for legislative relief, organizations will expect the cost for eDiscovery services to be more affordable and predictable.  In order to accommodate larger amounts of data, eDiscovery providers will need to offer simplified and attractive pricing alternatives.
  • Big Player Consolidation Continues, But Plenty of Smaller Players Available: In 2011, we saw HP acquire Autonomy and Symantec acquire Clearwell, continuing a trend of acquisitions of the “big players” in the industry.  This trend will continue, but there is still plenty of room for the “little guy” as smaller providers have been pooling resources to compete, creating an interesting dichotomy in the industry of few big and many small providers in eDiscovery.

So, what do you think?  Care to offer your own predictions?  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.