The data opportunity for legal professionals

10 March 2022

It should come as no surprise that as the world continues to progress digitally, data volumes and data types continue to grow exponentially and litigation professionals are challenged with an ever-evolving set of sources for discoverable information. 

Emails, office documents, instant messages, SMS and WhatsApp content are all now "fair game" as evidential weapons in disputes and yet these only scratch the surface of the data types crossing the desks of eDiscovery professionals today. 

The good news is that by deploying the correct eDiscovery technology and managed review tools, litigation professionals can manage the wide spectrum of data types efficiently and effectively. 

New data types affecting eDiscovery

Not that many years ago, mobile phone data was the new data source on the block alongside instant messaging apps, both personal and enterprise. Call recordings and structured data sources such as FX transactions and buy/sell orders were also added to the ongoing, inexhaustive list. 

With many businesses now operating a hybrid of remote and office based working models, data types are likely to expand to take account of additional communication and collaborative tools being employed. To put some numbers around this, in 2020, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were produced by humans daily. By 2025 an estimated 463 exabytes of data will be generated each day. To put this into context, if one gigabyte is the size of the Earth then an exabyte is the size of the sun.  

Additionally, we need to consider where this data is coming from. In an increasingly global operating environment, data can originate in multiple jurisdictions, each with its own rules and regulations on how to access and process it. Managed review experts need to consider how this affects their role and the tools they choose to use.

How does disparate data impact eDiscovery and Managed Review?

When all discovery was conducted on hard copy documents there was only one way for an attorney to read and review the documents. This new age of data promises more, more complex and lessfamiliar data types, and this burgeoning list of data types can represent a roadblock to efficient review without a reliable eDiscovery solution. 

To make matters worse, the technology landscape for eDiscovery is just as exacting and perhaps even more demanding to navigate. The list of these tools is growing all the time, some representing entire eDiscovery solution ecosystems and plugins whilst others are independently run analysis tools. Determining which tool(s) to invest in to combat your eDiscovery challenges of today and tomorrow costs an organization time and money while also creating the risk of an expensive mistake. 

Beyond selecting the “right” tool(s), there is the additional complex investment of developing a resilient, quality assured, and experience backed process alongside the on-boarding of resources that can effectively deploy, manage, and support those tools. There is no point in buying a Formula 1 car and then asking an unskilled driver to drive it around the track. You need professionals who can maximize the efficiencies obtainable to achieve the necessary return on investment.  

These constantly evolving landscapes will continue to shift like sands in a desert but for organizations who act to solve this puzzle, the potential for savings through efficiencies are significant. As the scope and types of data continues a seemingly boundless upswing in the future, legal teams will need to meet these associated challenges with an equally dynamic and tech-enabled solution.

Written by Seth Hughes and Grainne Jackson

 

 

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