Clearwell predicts five major changes to e-discovery in 2011

Clearwell Systems has predicted that five major advances in e-discovery will occur in 2011, which could see substantial changes to the way electronic discovery is used.

The first prediction it made was that big changes in data collection best practices would arrive, which will see manual, forensic imaging replaced by automated data collection techniques, which are considered “forensically sound”.

Manual collection will still be a part of e-discovery practices, but it is considered too time-consuming and costly, and thus will be limited to a smaller number of cases that require more detailed attention. Automation will help many organisations save money, man-power, and time.

The second prediction Clearwell made was that proprotionality will become a bigger focus within the legal e-discovery world, ensuring that e-discovery costs do not exceed standard legal fees, which has sometimes been a problem in the past.

An intriguing third predication sees cloud computing, social media, and e-discovery colliding. The rapid growth of clouds and social networking has made e-discovery a more complex task, as the data is on a more open network. Clearwell believes that 2011 will see legal ramifications arising from this shift in data focus.

The fourth prediction is that there will be widespread consolidation of power within the e-discovery industry. Clearwell cited recent purchases of e-discovery firms by major technology companies over the last year and expects this continue, with many software firms expected to make acquisitions of e-discovery companies throughout 2011.

Clearwell’s final prediction is that the e-discovery market will mature in 2011, led by disputes and changes to e-Disclosure laws. It cited cases relating to the ESI and the UK Department of Justice that it said are examples of how the community is “rapidly maturing”.

“Over the past few years, e-discovery has become ensconced as a core business process, with enterprises and government agencies taking the proactive approach of bringing e-discovery in-house and deploying best practices to gain greater control over the attendant costs and risks,” said Dean Gonsowski at Clearwell. 

“Even as internal processes become more sophisticated in today’s enterprises, the industry will face an array of new challenges — such as evolving legal standards and the proliferation of new data forms — requiring in-house legal departments, government agencies and law firms to adapt once again.”