Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2014-01-12 19:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

For the last decade, pundits like me have looked at trends in eDiscovery and tried to forecast where the market will head.  In years past, there has been a focus on things like Early Case Assessment, eDiscovery in the Cloud, and Predictive Coding / Technology-Assisted Review.  Each year, there is a feeling of progress and evolution, as if the practice of eDiscovery is somehow maturing.  We grasp onto this feeling if only to harness some kind of positive energy in an otherwise frustrating market.

Taking off the rose-colored glasses, though, I begin to lose hold of the positive energy.  The “successes” in eDiscovery are overwhelmingly outnumbered by failures, incomplete efforts, and outright ignorance.  In the market survey eDJ conducted throughout the fall and winter, it was clear that very few organizations have built solid infrastructures in which to fully address eDiscovery.  Instead, we found that most organizations suffer from misaligned incentives for the stakeholders involved.  Legal departments lack budgets for eDiscovery tools; IT departments do not care enough about the duty to preserve and collect; and there remains a general inertia about addressing eDiscovery.   As George Socha said in a recent Google Hangout we were both on, “we are having the same conversation about eDiscovery today as we were having in 1993.”  I interpreted his point to be that, not only have we not come as far as many would like to be in the decade since eDiscovery hit the mainstream news, we also have not come that far since the dawn of voluminous ESI.  That, my friends, is a scary reality.

Thus, in 2014, it is time to really look in the mirror at eDiscovery practices and ask ourselves why we are doing what we’re doing.  If we are still tracking Legal Hold Notification in a spreadsheet (as many are), are we doing so because that is the best way to do it or because it protects our job within the company?  If we are letting file shares grow out of control, are we doing so because the tools to clean them up don’t exist or because we are not adept at getting budget and making a business case for clean up?  Most organizations are going to need outside help from consultants to really get a good grasp on what is there in the mirror.  My hope is that organizations will wake up and see that efforts to date are not adequate and implementing projects that will help mitigate risks and avoid future costs.  But, my sense is that 2014 will be a slow evolution where eDiscovery and information governance efforts move forward, but at a snail’s pace.

Barry Murphy can be reached at barry@eDJGroupInc.com for offline comments or questions. His active research topics include information governance, Predictive Coding, and the impact of social media on eDiscovery.  Barry’s latest research report is Predictive Coding: What You Need To Know Now​.


Find Barry at the following events:

  • LTNY, Feb 4-6, 2014, New York, NY

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