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11 e-Discovery Predictions for 2020

Mary Rechtoris

This January, we welcomed a new decade. A new decade feels like the ultimate fresh start—new year, new me.  

But before you give up on your resolutions, it may be helpful to reflect on the past decade. In the discovery space, there have been no shortage of monumental moments that have shaped the last 10 years, from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to new SaaS solutions.   

During our 2020 State of the e-Discovery Union webinar, we looked back at last year’s predictions to see what came to fruition and what areas may have some catching up to do. Case in point: Kanye West is not yet the president of the United States, so suffice it to say that not all predictions were on the mark. Interested in learning more about our 2019 predictions? Check out last year’s State of the e-Discovery Union webinar. 

For this year’s webinar, we asked the community to predict what is coming down the e-discovery pipeline in 2020. 

  Craig Ball, Founder, President, Craig D. Ball, P.C. 

“2020 will be the year that requesting parties learn to assert the bloated size of TIFF+ productions as an unreasonable cost and burden upon parties loading and hosting electronic evidence in the cloud, and likewise the year a few savvy judges rule that it's unfair and disproportionate to permit producing parties to foist static productions on those who properly seek native forms of production.” 

 Meribeth Banaschik, Partner, Forensics & Integrity Services, EY

“2020 will be a year of continual, incremental focus on privacy as more countries roll out their privacy statutes. Companies will struggle with whether to have a consistent global approach and potentially over-comply or, alternatively, individually comply with each jurisdiction’s requirements, accepting the extra cost and coordination to do so. Rewriting of policies and procedures to comply with privacy statutes will quickly shift away from being the main focus, with data inventory and data flow mapping gaining more attention.” 

“With increasing geopolitical risk, potential recession and/or deep cost cutting by companies, the e-discovery skill set will become more valuable and help clients solve more problems with large data sets. This will come from a multitude of providers and will include legal operations, contract analytics, text extraction, data mapping, etc. M&A in this space will continue with a few surprises along the way. Clients will demand lower prices.” 

“Litigation, arbitration and investigations concerning algorithms in products and services will increase and therefore lawyers will continue to dedicate time to learning about technology. We will see more lawyers who understand the difference between terms like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, machine learning, and deep learning (or other types of AI) and will be able to communicate with judges, opposing counsel, or technology professionals using proper terminology.” 

 Charlie Connor, Co-Founder, CEO, Heretik

“I truly believe 2020 is the year we will really start to see other industries and teams, outside of litigation, leverage the decade of learnings from the e-discovery/e-disclosure teams and apply them to the upcoming regulatory response LIBOR. This impending regulatory change requires the disciplines of e-discovery to understand exposure; the litigation that will most certainly follow will certainly favor teams that followed the best practices set by the industry.” 

 Dazza Greenwood, Executive Producer, MIT Media Lab 

“The underlying functionality and capabilities of modern e-discovery systems will increasingly become accessible to and connected with other applications and services. This will enable e-discovery to finally realize its potential application to other domains. We have already seen some crossover in regulatory compliance, FOIA, and patent spaces. 2020 will see accelerated adoption of standard APIs needed for interoperability between different software systems and that will unlock an exciting set of previously inaccessible connections needed to solve an ever-broader set of legal and business use cases.” 

 Alison Grounds, Managing Director, Troutman Sanders eMerge

“The percentage of time that e-discovery teams spend applying their skills to solve privacy problems—privacy compliance, data remediation/data governance, and breach response—will increase by 25 percent. Teams that use their legal expertise and knowledge of the facts to gain the most benefits from the technology will not have enough hours in the day to keep up with the demand.” 

“Relativity will ingest all of the song lyrics from the top hits from all genres in the past decade and launch a CAL project that proves we are all more similar than different.” 

 David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director, Relativity

“In 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted  around 3,600 times. In 2019, the president upped his game to  around 7,700 tweets. In 2020, I predict he’ll surpass his 2019 record. In addition, I predict he will continue Keeping Up with the Kardashians—surpassing them again this year—because Kim Kardashian West had only  about 2,500 tweets in 2019. Of course, if #Kanye2020 comes to fruition, all bets could be off. Sorry, Constantine, I had to bring the Kardashians back to our program for yet another year.” 

 Justice Tanya Kennedy, New York State Supreme Court, New York County

"The ever-increasing demand for legal services in privacy, cybersecurity, and environmental law in this nation and across the globe, which will require the bar (particularly new and future lawyers) to anticipate trends in these areas and to implement creative and innovative strategies through technology to meet the challenges and needs of the day."

 Wendy King, Sr. Managing Director, FTI

"Driven by the need to handle large data volumes and better manage costs, legal professionals are viewing proficiency in legal technology as a must-have skillset. Given this, I believe 2020 will bring accelerated adoption of technology by legal practitioners as well as law schools as they seek to fulfill workforce demands through increased legal technology training."

 Nikki MacCallum, Strategic Talent Manager, Lighthouse

“There will be more remote work in 2020. Supporting data includes enhanced technical capabilities allowing for employees to be able to access work and ticketing systems remotely; the Mobile Workforce Bill Introduced in 2019-2020 Congress; a wider talent pool for niche technical skills; and more flexibility for companies around comp plan.”

 Michael Quartararo, President, ACEDS

“With the number of certified project management professionals (PMP) eclipsing 1 million worldwide in late 2019, I predict that the conversation about project management processes in legal will begin to accelerate and become more real as firms continue to scramble for legal work, corporations keep their downward pressure on outside legal spend, and service providers seek to provide greater efficiency.” 

 Phil Weldon, e-Discovery and Practice Tech Support Manager, Fried Frank

“Technology gains in ease of use and productivity will drive millennial attorneys to do more power user lifting in e-discovery.”

2020 State of the e-Discovery Union Webinar

Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the brand team at Relativity, where she's always collaborating and looking for new ways to develop and socialize stories.

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