In his article for Law360, 5 Trends That Will Influence E-Discovery In 2021, BIA’s President and CEO Brian Schrader shares five industry predictions for 2021. eDiscovery has seen significant growth in recent years, and that growth is not likely to slow down any time soon. This year, we will see significant changes in the way we work and communicate with one another, some of which were brought on or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To accommodate these changes and the resulting challenges, the industry will need to continue to adapt and refine its tools and workflows.
Here are five trends that we predict will influence eDiscovery in 2021:
1. Continued expansion of ESI
The amount of ESI has grown significantly in recent years – and we expect that growth to continue. Many systems allow ESI to be analyzed, reviewed, and produced relatively easily, or at least with assistance from eDiscovery experts. It’s the unknown sources that present the biggest challenges, as most new technology systems and devices are created without compliance, regulatory, and eDiscovery needs in mind.
2. Chaos from collaboration platforms
With much of the workforce working remotely over the last year, the use of team collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams surged. Unfortunately, these platforms can present a challenge for eDiscovery. Chats are extremely difficult to search through, due to their stream-of-consciousness nature, the fact that they cover hundreds of topics, and because they don’t have helpful identifiers like a subject line.
3. Lasting changes in eDiscovery workflows
The use of analytics at the start of and throughout eDiscovery has fundamentally changed the way we approach data identification, analysis, and review. As better methods and technologies continue to spread across the eDiscovery process, we will see lasting changes that lead to a more effective process that takes less time. Win-win.
4. A different approach to the EDRM
Historically, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) provided a guideline for handling eDiscovery most effectively – moving steadily from one phase to the next in a specific order. But now, with analytics technology becoming less expensive, the EDRM is not quite the one-way pathway that it once was. Rather, we expect to see people moving throughout the eDiscovery phases more sporadically, jumping forward or backward, and performing multiple steps simultaneously.
5. Possible changes in privacy law
The U.S. is long overdue for an overhaul to its data privacy laws and rights. Indeed, we continue to hope and wait for the federal government to provide a clear, overarching, and controlling national regulatory standard and framework for data privacy. While we wait this out, we’ll likely continue to see states pass their own privacy rules. This hodgepodge approach is chaotic and difficult to navigate, and it most certainly complicates eDiscovery.
As you plan for eDiscovery in 2021 and going forward, we invite you to read Brian’s full article for a comprehensive look at the trends affecting our industry this year. BIA remains at the forefront of these changes and challenges and will continue to adapt and improve as our industry continues to grow. For nearly two decades, we have helped law firms and corporations solve their most complex eDiscovery matters. Our expert advisors can help you navigate your legal matters and work with you to ensure an efficient, defensible and effective outcome. Give us a call or send us a note today.
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