This Blog Post Means Business

Gavel Above COVID-19 Documents

This Blog Post Means Business
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

Last week, eDiscovery Today launched the first ever State of the Industry Report (sponsored by EDRM).  The report discusses key trends including remote work during the pandemic, usefulness of virtual conferences, pandemic effect on litigation workloads, use of predictive coding technology, discovery of data from mobile devices and collaboration apps, eDiscovery business trends in 2021, biggest overall eDiscovery trends in 2021 and the eDiscovery challenges not being discussed enough.  It includes survey results regarding key trends of 183 legal industry professionals (with breakouts by law firm, service/software provider and consultancy respondents) and observations from 20 industry thought leaders regarding these trends.

As noted above, one of the trends discussed was eDiscovery business trends and survey respondents were asked this question:

What do you think will be the biggest business-related trend in eDiscovery in 2021?

Almost a third of respondents (31.7%) identified consolidation of eDiscovery providers through investment or attrition as the biggest business-related trend in 2021. Along with 18.0% that identified expanded investment in eDiscovery providers, essentially half of respondents (49.7%) indicated that they expect factors that will impact eDiscovery providers. Another 45.9% of respondents expected continued restructuring of companies to address eDiscovery work post-pandemic (26.8%) or reduced budgets for eDiscovery spend (19.1%). Only 4.4% of respondents identified expanded ownership of law firms by non-lawyer entities.  Perhaps many of them were from this state?

Regardless, these survey results do appear to point out two clear trends:

The eDiscovery Provider Landscape is Continuing to Evolve

As noted here in Rob Robinson’s excellent Complex Discovery blog, while merger, acquisition and investment activity for eDiscovery providers paused when the pandemic hit with only 4 total transactions in Q2 (3 of those in June), we saw at least 22 total transactions in Q3 and Q4, including Ipro’s acquisition of NetGovern.  Clearly, even the pandemic can’t keep the business of eDiscovery down for long and capital investors are continuing to look at the eDiscovery industry as an attractive investment, even in these challenging times we’re currently facing.

There’s More Pressure to Do More with Less Than Ever

Every quarter, Complex Discovery conducts an eDiscovery Business Confidence survey to provide insight into the business confidence level of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. Since the pandemic began, Complex Discovery has conducted three quarterly surveys – in April, July and October of last year. The average percentage of respondents over those surveys that selected Budgetary Constraints as the factor with the most impact was 52.2%, which is 28.4% higher than the lifetime average before the pandemic of 23.8%.  Clearly, budgets are impacting eDiscovery business more than ever before.

At the same time, as discussed in the State of the Industry report noted above, nearly half of all respondents (44.8%) are already seeing a greater litigation workload since the pandemic began, with another 35.5% expecting a greater litigation workload to come. That means four out of five respondents (80.3%) has seen or expects to see more work resulting from the pandemic and the associated economic crisis.

Combined, the factors of tighter budgetary constraints and more litigation are undoubtedly putting the squeeze on organizations to do more with less in eDiscovery.

So, What Does That Mean for You?

Tying back to last week’s post (I love it when a plan comes together!), these factors illustrate why now is the time to embrace innovation and leverage eDiscovery technology and best practices to do more with less.  Old workflows and manual processes are no longer viable in today’s challenging pandemic-influenced world.

As noted last week, Ipro is a sponsor and participant of the SOLID Winter 2021 event on January 28 and 29, which is an event where speakers give TED-STYLE talks around the intersection of innovation, advanced technology and the business of law.  They share what they are doing, how they are doing it, and the business impact it has. You can register for it here on the Ipro events page.

And, if you would like a full copy of the 2021 State of the Industry Report from eDiscovery Today, it’s FREE!  Simply go to the eDiscovery Today website and enter your email address in the right sidebar to become an email follower and receive the report as well as emails with links to new posts.

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between Ipro and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the Ipro Newsroom next week with more educational content!