Use cases for e-discovery technology and analytics capabilities are increasingly spanning beyond their traditional applications in litigation and investigations. For example, in 2022, as organisations continue to evaluate their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) position, e-discovery technology will play a key role in helping to assess, audit and improve on that position. It will do this by bringing together relevant unstructured information, such as policies and supply chain insights, alongside structured information from HR and facilities systems, to quickly understand the whole picture and address disparities between ESG policy and practice.
In looking ahead over the new year, experts from across our EMEA Technology practice areas have shared several additional predictions for the e-discovery space. These include:
- “Despite the e-discovery industry’s ongoing focus on technology advancement and the perpetual roundabout of new solution development, I do not believe the biggest changes ahead will be technology based. The reality is that the primary driver behind legal matters and document discovery continues to be people, and the majority of the turmoil of the pandemic and remote work has fallen on people. Retention has become more difficult, leaders are grappling with how to maintain a strong culture of connection and new practitioners are struggling to develop their skills while removed from collaborative environments surrounded by managers and peers. Even before the disruption of the last two years, maintaining a strong talent pool in e-discovery required significant energy and attention—particularly in providing mentoring and training to empower practitioners to make the right decisions in a matter. This is a critical factor in ensuring successful e-discovery outcomes, and has become even more difficult for teams to learn by osmosis from experts. In 2022, I expect we’ll see momentum towards more people-focused initiatives in e-discovery that nurture well-rounded, healthy and diverse teams. This will likely include innovative training approaches that improve the employee experience for individuals and consequently, the work product overall.” - Glenn Barden, Managing Director
- "As the incidence of data breaches continues to rise, we expect to see e-discovery experts focusing on the advancement of AI and analytics tools with an eye to improving risk analysis and developing efficiencies in data analysis. Managed document review leaders will be working in parallel to customise review workflows and platform templates to expedite review and provide swift insights into breached data." – Evie MacKay, Managing Director
- "In the e-discovery field, the new year is likely going to bring a rise in the number of custodians in scope in legal and regulatory matters, largely as a result of prolonged flexible work patterns driving wider uptake of buddying, job sharing and employees utilising greater numbers of technology platforms for delivery. This will also bring new challenges such as more team mailboxes and protecting privacy in the e-discovery collection and processing phase. Relatedly, the increased use of collaboration tools is causing a shift in the significance of emerging data sources as central to e-discovery matters, whereas in the past they were considered to be on the fringe. This will drive the need for tailored processing, analysis and presentation of data and a potential recreation of the traditional e-discovery paradigm." – Tom Jackson, Senior Director
- “I think for the year ahead most lawyers are going to remain skeptical about analytics and ML for some time to come. Adoption of analytics will continue to be slow and steady as legal teams see more examples of how technology can streamline e-discovery and investigations. Clients will need reassurance from vendors that they are in safe hands with the use of analytics. If a provider is not experienced and knowledgeable it is going to struggle to convince a client to use new tools and methodologies. However, the traditional approach of linearly reviewing document by document is not going to be feasible in most modern and future matters. There is no question we will see a growing need to find facts faster and target large document sets to prioritise review.” – Laura Kippin, Senior Director
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.