6 Trends in eDiscovery for 2023: A Forecast of Where The Industry is Heading

6 Trends in eDiscovery for 2023: A Forecast of Where The Industry is Heading

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and as things start to slow down for the holiday season, it’s a great time to reflect on the recent developments in eDiscovery and the trends that will shape this industry in the coming year.

If a global pandemic and the explosion of remote work weren’t impactful enough events for the past few years, we now seem to be falling into an economic recession that will keep markets shaking for a minute or two. Undoubtedly, this will be one of the key factors influencing the future of eDiscovery and how different legal teams are approaching the subject.

Not to mention the increasingly widespread workforces, the non-stop explosion of digital data, and the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence, which will also play a big role in the fate of eDiscovery.

We considered all of these different forces and the current state of the industry to forecast six key trends that will likely define the eDiscovery landscape in 2023. 

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

Trend #1: More eDiscovery Work Will Be Handled In-House

Massive layoffs, hiring freezes, budget reductions… You’ve all read the news.

In the current economic climate, in-house legal teams are desperately looking for ways to reduce external legal spend without compromising efficiency. 

In fact, a recent study by Gartner revealed that, for 76% of in-house legal teams, controlling outside legal spend is their number one priority. This is not surprising, considering that law firm expenses make up for more than 90% of legal teams’ outside costs while outside counsel rates are going over the roof.

And what’s a sure-shot way to reduce external legal spend? 

You got it: Bring more work in-house. 

According to Gartner, 40% of in-house legal teams are planning to increase their spend on legal automation by at least 10% by 2023 — and eDiscovery tech is definitely on their bucket list. 

Forward-thinking teams like Twilio or Compass are already reaping the benefits of handling eDiscovery in-house, as they’ve reduced their dependence on outside counsel by 83% and 90%, respectively, with savings of over six figures per year. 

We can only expect to see more of those success stories in 2023.

Trend #2: Cloud eDiscovery Platforms Will Increasingly Replace On-Prem Services

This is not a new trend. It’s been going on for a while, and it started to accelerate quite significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 due to the convenience and accessibility of cloud tools.

But the shift is now happening so fast that in a study conducted earlier this year, Gartner estimated that more than half of the on-premise IT solutions will be replaced by cloud services by 2025.

In the case of eDiscovery software, moving away from on-prem services has clear advantages:

  • Cost reduction: With different subscription plans and pay-as-you-go options, cloud services are more catered to each user’s needs, making it possible to get more bang for your buck. 
  • Regular upgrades: Unlike traditional on-prem tools, cloud software is constantly improved and upgraded without having to increase your spend or buy a different tool.
  • Scalability: Some eDiscovery solutions like Logikcull allow for an unlimited number of users and are available from anywhere at any time. This, together with its ease of use, makes it simple to scale it up or down as needed.
  • Speed: When technology is made in the cloud and constantly improved, it tends to operate much faster and more seamlessly than traditional on-prem software.
  • Security: On-prem services store data on local devices, which makes them more vulnerable to hacker attacks when a device falls into the wrong hands. Cloud eDiscovery platforms, on the contrary, encrypt data and protect it with the highest levels of security, making it possible to conduct the entire discovery process from a single, ultra-secure place.

For all these reasons, it’s no wonder that eDiscovery will continue to move to the cloud in 2023.

Trend #3: Dark Data Will Reach Its Twilight

Did you know that common discovery data sources (and tools) such as MS 365 and Adobe can present up to 70% of the data found in their systems as “non-indexed”? 

It gets worse: According to Forbes, 90% of most companies’ data is not accessible to them as they lack the tools to make use of that data. 

That is a tragedy for eDiscovery. 

When so much data is out of reach for organizations, the risk of missing crucial evidence and getting sanctions is huge. In fact, we just learned how a Fortune 500 energy company almost missed 148 responsive documents and 3 hot documents in a recent investigation due to the “dark data” yielded by their searches in Microsoft systems.

However, emerging technologies like Deep Text Recognition (a feature Logikcull recently launched) now allow legal teams to index and search 100% of their data from any source, including text in embedded images, making the process as reliable and defensible as it can possibly be.

Trend #4: Data Volumes Will Continue Growing

Well, growing is an understatement… Digital data is exploding day after day. By 2025, it’s estimated that data creation will grow to more than 180 zettabytes globally! (Don’t even ask me how many gigabytes that is...)

So the question is: Are companies getting ready to deal with these gigantic data volumes from an eDiscovery perspective? 

Well, recent studies demonstrate that organizations are far from ready to deal with this explosion of data from any perspective. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Splunk, 57% of participating companies said that the volume of data they generate is growing faster than their ability to keep up with it.

This is one of the main challenges for eDiscovery today, and will remain a key challenge in the foreseeable future.

At Logikcull, we’ve been preaching for years that the solution to this problem comes from finding cloud-based solutions that don’t include increasingly absurd data storage rates (did you know the cost per GB stored in Amazon Web Services is ~$0.022?), and that allow you to cull through all that noisy data in an ultra-simple and secure way. 

We’ll definitely keep pushing the industry in that direction for years to come.

Trend #5: ECA Will Gain Popularity to Reduce Litigation Costs

In a recent conversation with Amy Sellars, senior counsel of eDiscovery and operations at CBRE, she stated that: “Enabling effective Early Case Assessment is key to getting a head start on any matter, and it allows you to give a more direct path to your in-house or outside counsel into your data.” 

She also argued that thanks to modern eDiscovery technology, you can start reviewing your data instantly by leveraging direct connectors to data sources. 

And in fact, the sooner you figure out the potential costs and scope of discovery, the easier it will be to establish a sound case strategy and ensure you avoid incurring any unnecessary spend. 

Not to mention, early case assessment also allows for a more defensible process. As soon as you start your ECA, you can place a legal hold on all potentially responsive documents, ensuring that you meet your preservation obligations and minimize the risk of sanctions.

More and more companies are starting to realize this and to use affordable cloud eDiscovery solutions to get a clear picture of their data in a matter of minutes — and they’ll increasingly do so as cost pressures increase in 2023.

Trend #6: End-to-End Discovery Tools Will Reign at In-House Legal Teams

Why would you settle for an eDiscovery solution that can only handle a fraction of the work? 

That’s the question that many organizations are starting to ask themselves. 

Today, there are dozens of discovery tools available. Some are focused on legal holds, others deal exclusively with data collection and preservation, and many claim to be end-to-end eDiscovery tools but that “end-to-end” should have one or two asterisks with clarification notes. (Ask MS Purview eDiscovery users if you don’t believe me.) 

There are also tools that can truly handle eDiscovery end-to-end (legal holds included) and that are built with in-house legal teams in mind. (Shameless plug: Logikcull is the main player here.)

As they’re faced with heightened scrutiny over legal spend, many teams are switching to these types of all-encompassing tools to handle eDiscovery, rather than paying for multiple solutions to deal with different parts of the process. 

Paired with bringing discovery work in-house, this will likely be one of the cost-optimization methods of choice for many corporate legal teams. 

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Would you add any other trends to the list? Do you see the industry heading in a completely different direction? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Feel free to shoot us an email with your feedback or questions at marketing@logikcull.com, and we’ll get back to you asap.

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