The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

Five years is a long time in eDiscovery

June 30th, 2016

Earlier this year I had a LinkedIn message pop up to congratulate me on my five year anniversary. Five years !!??

It took me somewhat by surprise as the time has flown! In saying that, it does seem a long time ago since I was on the law firm side of the fence, before breaking away and establishing my own independent eDiscovery advisory firm.

The anniversary reminder is a good opportunity to reflect as five years is a long time in this industry.

There have been many changes that I have witnessed in the New Zealand eDiscovery market.

Five years ago it was not uncommon to see law firm’s work with large volumes of paper documents, and then carry out an ‘eyes on every document’ review. Considerable time and money was then invested in the listing of documents, instead of exploring more effective methods to address their discovery obligations.

I think five years ago it was still possible for firms could get by – but today this is becoming increasingly challenging.

What has changed?

Some of the most notable changes I have seen are –

  • Increased volumes of information in all matters
  • More front loading of discovery work
  • Some software that was installed in-house has become obsolete
  • A general shift to the cloud
  • More legal technology software and service providers in the market
  • Shift away from a reliance on manual paper based practices
  • More law firms accepting that they need guidance

When it comes to discovery, changes to the discovery rules back in 2012 played a part in establishing a framework, but more importantly focusing attention on ways to conduct discovery proportionately and cost effectively.

In New Zealand many law firms still struggle with the necessary expertise and software in-house to continue to keep up with the challenges of eDiscovery.

A change in my role

I know from my perspective what I am now doing continues to evolve. 

Early on it was often difficult to convince firms why they should consider external expertise when they had always managed discovery in-house. Specialist expertise for  discovery was something that predominantly happened in the US with a more litigious culture and far greater document volumes.  

This is all true, but the volumes are increasing exponentially here as well !!

Most lawyers in New Zealand would now acknowledge they face far greater document volumes than ever before.

The objective with eDiscovery is how to get rid of the information you do not want, so you can devote your energies to looking at the most important information. My role is coming up with smarter ways to do this.

There is now a greater appreciation (there could always be more) by law firms of the value that specialist expertise can provide to help guide them through some of the challenges of the eDiscovery process. It is always refreshing to get engaged to advise on ways to achieve this, but to do it in a way that can also be efficient and cost effective.

I am sure in another five years how we approach eDiscovery will have changed even further. Although will I still be able to rely on LinkedIn to send anniversary reminders now they are part of the Microsoft stable – a lot more change there as well as technology generally in the next five years !



No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.