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

Positive signs in the New Zealand eDiscovery journey

August 19th, 2015

Over the past couple of years I have started to notice some encouraging signs in New Zealand with the approaches to eDiscovery and embracing technology generally. At the same time, New Zealand still has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world in how law firms embrace technology, but the signs are at least encouraging.

It has now been over 3 years since new discovery rules were introduced in New Zealand. The rules established a framework to assist parties reach agreement on discovery issues in a proportionate and cost effective manner. The rules introduced an expectation of more front loading of discovery work, but this initial work enables lawyers to make more informed decisions and reduce costs later in the proceedings.

Volumes are increasing on all matters

Up until recently New Zealand law firms and their clients may not have had the volumes to justify too much of a shift away from traditional practices, but now this is changing. Just about every law firm and their clients are faced with increasing volumes of electronic information.

Some of the most obvious changes I have seen –

  • More suppliers in the New Zealand market
  • A shift to the cloud, away from legacy litigation support systems
  • A greater realisation that a software product alone is not the sole solution, as it requires the right advice and approach to manage the eDiscovery challenges
  • More law firms realising that they do need guidance

I am now assisting more clients by guiding them through the eDiscovery process. Fortunately the days of trying to justify to lawyers why they may need my services are starting to diminish (which is a relief and not before time). More law firms and their clients are increasingly requiring greater guidance to help them with the challenges of the eDiscovery process.

Raised Awareness

There is now greater awareness through events like LawFest that provides a platform for anyone involved in the intersection of technology and the law to develop their knowledge in this fast changing area.

An increasing number of lawyers now have a greater awareness of the issues and the role technology can play. As a result we are starting to see a shift away from the ‘comfortable’ traditional practices that has led to considerable and yet avoidable costs.

Lawyers do get the message that technology can help them. One of the constant challenges is ensuring the technology can be used simply to make their life easier. This can still be a challenge for some of the technology providers out there !

Progress, but still a way to go

eDiscovery practices have come a long way in the past few years in New Zealand, but we still have a long way to go in this journey.

The impact of technology and the proliferation of information is not standing still, so it is important that we continue to work towards solutions to combat the evolving challenges of the eDiscovery process.

Fortunately more law firms are realising that they either require a different skillset internally or greater guidance to manage some of today’s increased eDiscovery challenges.



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