Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-04-16 06:58:21Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. On the heels of my writing about the perfect storm brewing in eDiscovery comes good news for all in the market.  Recent survey results from the Cowen Group indicate a rise in jobs, plans to purchase software, and plans to purchase outsourced services.  The good news is that the data points to wins all around in the market.  Organizations benefit by taking proactive steps to reduce the cost of eDiscovery.  Software and service providers benefit from increased revenue.  And eDiscovery professionals benefit from increased work options and better employment.

The reason for the increase in jobs stems from higher eDiscovery workloads for both new and existing cases across corporations, law firms, and vendors.  The increased workloads lead to more demand for experienced project managers and attorneys.  I look for an explosion of work at both corporations and vendor.  Corporations are getting serious about optimizing eDiscovery and that means bringing people in-house to manage the process.  I’ve seen a rise in job titles like Manager of eDiscovery at major corporations.  Vendors will also be looking for experienced help – good project managers help vendors differentiate their services and help maintain high customer satisfaction levels.

The survey also indicates that both corporations and law firms will continue a mix of in-house and outsourced eDiscovery activities.  At first glance, this might seem like a head-scratcher, but it’s actually very logical.  The survey points out that “proper handling of electronic information during litigation remains a critical challenge for law firms and corporations.” In fact, not many organizations have expertise in-house to truly manage information with the proper chain-of-custody methodologies (and as we pointed out before, most don’t know really know what forensic collection is and what types of tools or processes are necessary to execute it).  However, all organizations need some form of collection, preservation, processing, analysis and review capability of their own, even if just for simple early cases assessment (ECA).  Still, there are times when third-party expertise will be necessary or when organizations won’t have the resources to manage all eDiscovery activities; in those cases, having trusted third party providers to turn to will be critical.  Again, this is good news for everyone – it means more jobs to be had across the board (corporations, law firms, vendors), more software purchases, and more services purchases.  For organizations, it could ultimately mean less money spent overall on eDiscovery.

Who are the potential losers?  After all, if less money is to spent overall on eDiscovery, someone has to lose out.  The likely losers here are:

  • Law firms that rely on billable review hours because much of the cost avoidance in eDiscovery will come from reducing information volumes for review (via applications like ECA).
  • Mom & Pop EDD providers that rely on high-priced eDiscovery processing revenues because they will lose margin and volume – a deadly combination.
  • Corporations that don’t get proactive – they will spend more than opponents, make poorly informed decisions, face more sanctions, and possibly have more negative outcomes.

If all this doesn’t reek of good news for the eDiscovery market, I don’t know what does.

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