Take yourself back to the year 2010 – Apple had just released their newest invention: the iPad. Justin Bieber, at the ripe old age of 16, was the world celebrity. Fake mustaches were really in. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, had barely opened, standing at just over 2,716.5 feet.
In 2010, e-discovery was quickly evolving & people have been starting to take notice. EDRM established its e-Discovery Maturity product, meant to show how your practice was stacking up when it comes to e-discovery.
Much has changed since 2010. There are now four versions of the iPad that are as successful as a 2010 computer, Justin Bieber is married, and we’ve amassed thousands of happy clients. Most importantly, e-discovery is now further complicated than anyone might have ever imagined, and there are new use cases for it popping up every single day.
As we embark on the new decade of e-discovery solutions, I set out to explore what exactly has changed in our industry. I switched to the ‘net for insight from the people who do this work every day and picked the brains of the industry pros right here at ViewDox. What we discovered were three crucial developments in the past ten years of e-discovery: rapid growth, technology sophistication, and expanding use cases.
The industry and the volume of information have grown.
Ten years ago, the industry was beginning to increase. Litigation service, paralegals, and the like were all getting comfortable with our software and made up the primary sorts of “e-discovery jobs.” Today, however, there are more and more people who are considered e-discovery pros and software users, plus tons of fresh, we created new jobs to handle some of the biggest struggles with e-discovery.
Industry growth transpired for a reason: the workload grew exponentially. Over the past ten years, data volumes and caseloads have grown from enormous margins year above year.
Pavan Kotha, a manager at Deloitte, noted this growth. “Ten years ago, documents per workspace were [in the] 40,000 — 50,000 [range], & 200,000 documents was considered a huge volume of data. Now the average documents per workspace are 5 million.”
Fernando Flores at ViewDox in Los Angeles, noted that data volumes climbed exponentially in the 2010s, citing continued growth with mobile data in document review as a critical aspect.
Debbie Beeler, a senior paralegal at T-Mobile, echoed this sentiment. On LinkedIn, she shared one aspect of e-discovery she’d have never wanted in 2010: The need and the ability to collect data from a phone.
Alongside pure growth came the necessity to discover different kinds of data like emojis and different messaging platforms. For instance, earlier this year, we released short communication discovery and communication analysis, to help reviewers get a superior view of conversations spanning multiple channels, like Skype and Slack.
As the professional becomes more sophisticated, so do the people using it.
In 2010, nobody might have imagined that our telephones could have cameras as sophisticated as d-SLRs or that we’d have the ability to work a full-time job from the palm of our hand. But here we are in 2020 with more technology at our fingertips than ever before.
For example, artificial intelligence, once a concept that people only dreamed about, is now an essential part of our day-to-day lives, especially when it comes to e-discovery.
“Technology-assisted document review, especially continuous active learning, has become a norm, and most of the time, parties are now opposing linear review to save time & reduce costs,” Pavan said.
Interestingly, more sophisticated technology has empowered a lot more people to become power users. For instance, at ViewDox, we’re seeing more and more litigators learning about document technology software and doing exciting things with cases. Being a real tech-savvy attorney was once nice to have & now it’s table bets and ethical responsibility.
The most significant change in e-discovery in the past ten years is the attorney knowledge and involvement in the application of the technology. It’s the connector that was missing ten years ago, as the old model of cascading requests from attorney to technician had a natural disconnect. It’s great to see the technology facilitating the legal work directly. The direct utilization by the attorneys creates more powerful, impactful, and accurate results.
E-Discovery is no longer just about litigation.
E-Discovery has transformed from a secure method to encourage litigators to a mini-universe of thought leaders, technologists, and legal innovators. There are tons of new use cases for e-discovery over the past ten years.
Ten years ago, e-discovery was strictly a legal concern. However, it has now grown to the point where the remaining part of the business is paying attention. E-Discovery has expanded in extent and now encompasses ancillary industries like investigations and compliance. Companies outside legal have adopted E-discovery workflows and practices. Probably the most significant proof point that e-discovery is now a vital business matter is the variety of advisory firms that have included an e-discovery practice area to their firm’s services.
The technology used to be a bonus, and firms would absorb costs on their own. Now that e-discovery has grown so vast, firms have begun innovating with how they bill their clients, allowing them to improve their e-discovery practices.
“Many of the legal firms have now shifted from the price center model to the profit center version. We now see law firms recruiting more e-discovery technology specialists or setting up their very own e-discovery technology teams,” Pavan said.
A massive community of e-discovery experts has also supported this growth.
Helen Geib, corporate counsel at Xact Data Discovery, is shocked that e-discovery experts now have a day dedicated to them. On LinkedIn, she wrote, “#EDiscoveryDay. A nationwide attempt to educate, celebrate, & advocate that crosses all the typical lines within our industry. I didn’t see it coming ten years ago. I aspire to see more collaboration fueling advancement and education in the subsequent ten years.”
What a change ten years can create. To another ten more years of exciting growth in our industry. Who knows what’s coming in 2030? We can only fantasize about what’s to come!