eDiscovery Daily Blog
Six eDiscovery Trends for 2024
By Rick Clark and Jacob Hesse
2023 was an eventful year in the world of legal technology, with new technology emerging to address both traditional and new challenges legal teams face when collecting, processing, and reviewing data for litigation, investigations, or public access requests.
What will 2024 hold, especially in the world of eDiscovery? We’ve captured the top trends for the year based on the conversations we’ve had in recent months with customers and industry experts. Here are six themes we predict will be most prevalent in the year ahead.
Early Case Assessment (ECA) Will Take Hold
ECA is certainly not new, but its use will accelerate significantly in the year ahead. Automation and advanced analytics, including machine learning, smart filtering, and integration with predictive coding technology will continue to grow. This integration will enable more precise identification of key documents and information, giving practitioners a clearer understanding of the case early on and influencing the speed to litigation, settlement, or other strategic decisions.
Efficiency and cost control are two of ECA’s leading values, with enhanced data volume management and fewer documents to review with human eyes. Advances in early case assessment technology are making it more accessible, with valuable insights into case details such as key issues, custodians, and document types.
Role of AI Will Rise
Generative artificial intelligence promises to transform the legal community by enabling more data interrogation during discovery. This may change the roles of legal professionals by automating certain tasks, such as drafting and summarizing documents.
As AI becomes more prevalent, issues such as the misuse of AI (such as with “deep fake” images and video”) will be prominent. Generative AI will also be a challenge when verifying research and determining whether information created by AI is credible, or a “hallucination.”
Artificial intelligence may be a technological boost in support of access to justice and assisting legal aid providers looking for increased efficiency at low cost.
Data Privacy Restrictions Will Increase
With the growing awareness and importance of data privacy, governments and corporations will encounter more stringent regulations globally. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an early example of this. Projects in eDiscovery will need to be ever more careful about the collection and handling of personal data. This may be especially true for data that crosses national borders.
Laws within nations are evolving as well. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and others are emerging that will require the eDiscovery industry to adapt. Legal teams and eDiscovery experts will need to be aware of the region that data is collected from and ongoing changes in the legal landscape to maintain compliance.
Privacy concerns and the explosion of data volumes over time are influencing organizations to focus on data minimization. Companies are implementing strict data retention policies to reduce the risk of data breaches and ensure compliance with laws and consumer expectations.
SaaS and Cloud-based eDiscovery Solutions Will Become Mainstream
The argument for cloud-based solutions for eDiscovery has never been stronger. Cloud-based eDiscovery solutions offer lower upfront costs compared to solutions that are on-premise and often operate on a subscription model, which can be more economical than investing in extensive hardware and software. Since the cloud provider manages the IT infrastructure, there is a reduced burden on a customer’s IT department in terms of maintenance, security, and updates.
Cloud-based eDiscovery solutions also often offer customizable options that can be tailored to specific needs. Those with DIY options along with professional services can offer great flexibility and scalability. Professional services teams can accelerate a client’s access to important facts and data, without the client having to maintain full-time litigation technology support staff. Those customers who prefer to manage their own eDiscovery can still do so but can hand the work over to professional services team members if the size of the project becomes unwieldy.
SaaS solutions provide efficient data management and security capabilities that comply with legal and regulatory standards. Cloud providers usually offer advanced security technologies, processes, and certifications that might be too costly for individual organizations to adopt on their own.
Consensus on Handling Short Messages
By the end of 2024, we may see more consensus developing on how to collect and review short messages like Slack or Teams chats, text messages, and other mobile data. These modern data types are becoming increasingly important in legal disputes. Conversations no longer stay within one platform: they can meander from email to text messages to Teams, for example. The ability to thread messages between platforms will be an advantage for those seeking to derive an accurate and complete story from data.
Blockchain Use Will Expand in eDiscovery
Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize eDiscovery in terms of data integrity and automating compliance. However, there are challenges to navigate given its decentralized nature. Blockchains can span multiple legal jurisdictions, so applying local laws about eDiscovery may be challenging since the technology operates globally. Courts and legal professionals will need to develop a better understanding of the technology and how it can be incorporated into eDiscovery processes.
Business use of blockchain technology continues to rise. This makes it inevitable that eDiscovery will need to be applied to it more often. eDiscovery professionals will need expertise in tracing and analyzing blockchain transactions, including cryptocurrency transactions.
Blockchain technology can add security to data, but it will also raise privacy concerns. Once information is placed in a blockchain, it is difficult to change or delete. This will be challenging in the face of privacy laws like GDPR, which gives people the right to be “forgotten.”
Smart contracts and automated compliance are possible with technology like blockchain, where the terms of the contract can be written directly into computer code and help automate eDiscovery. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements can be built into code so that data retention and deletion policies are automatically enforced. Blockchain’s primary feature is the ability to maintain a secure record of transactions. For eDiscovery, this means better evidence integrity and easier defense of the authenticity of digital records.
Do you have an emerging eDiscovery challenge that you portend will only continue to grow? Contact us today to see how we can support your eDiscovery needs in 2024 with our cloud-based review platform, CloudNine Review, CloudNine Analyst, only eDiscovery solution that renders hard-to- manage modern data types in near native format, with timelines, or through one of our other technologies or services.
About the Authors
Rick Clark is VP, Strategic Partnerships at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in forensics and eDiscovery. Focused on innovation and education, he co-founded ESI Analyst, now CloudNine Analyst, as well as Wave Software and the Master’s Conference.
Jacob Hesse is VP, Professional Services at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in eDiscovery in both law firm and service provider environments. He most enjoys building collaboration and synergies within and between teams to achieve goals together.
CloudNine empowers legal, information technology, and business professionals with eDiscovery automation software and professional services that simplify litigation, investigations, and audits for law firms and corporations.