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12 Peer Predictions: 2018 State of the e-Discovery Union

April Runft

What are your fellow e-discovery practitioners watching for in the coming year and how will they prepare?

Our recent webinar, “2018 State of the e-Discovery Union,” offered a rapid-fire rundown of 2018 projections from the e-discovery community.

Shapeshifting Data Sources

Messaging is the new email. 2018 will see a rapid increase in mobile discovery and social media discovery. Those who are able to integrate mobile data into their regular discovery process will be most successful—as they will see mobile in the context of the entire data set.”

Helen Geib, General Counsel and Practice Support Consultant, QDiscovery

“2018 will be the year when other sources of ESI will start surpassing email data’s importance in discovery. Mobile data, social media, and various consumer use tracking tools (such as the Echo or GPS/fitness trackers) provide an up-to-the-minute, unfiltered view into people’s daily activities in a way that email no longer does.”

Antonia Karlan, Principal – Compliance, Forensics and Investigations, Control Risks

“More and more applications and services are moving to the cloud, limiting what is recoverable from local devices. Being mindful and including these cloud repositories in discovery will be important, as they may be the unique source of pertinent information.”

Gary Hunt, Senior Digital Forensic Examiner, QDiscovery

Technology infrastructure will be an important consideration for 2018 and beyond. Cloud can level the playing field for all e-discovery service providers and law firms by allowing them to keep their infrastructure costs down while offering world-class performance and security that clients rightly deserve.”

Chris Haley, Director of Legal Technology, Troutman Sanders

Data Privacy

“As American culture continues to struggle with the tension between the right to privacy and the right to broadcast personal information, courts and practitioners will continue to struggle with the application of privacy as a discoverability factor that is unique to social media.”

Amy Sellars, Associate General Counsel, Discovery Strategy Group, Walmart Legal

“2018 will be a big year for data privacy and data protection with the US Supreme Court considering United States v. Microsoft and Carpenter v. United States and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect in May. If I had any sense, I would wait until oral arguments on February 27 before making this prediction, but the government will prevail in Microsoft.”

David Horrigan, e-Discovery Counsel and Legal Content Director, Relativity


“As more and more regulators—both domestic and ex-US—increase pressure on companies to take a holistic approach to cybersecurity and privacy, corporate directors and officers will be held to a higher standard of accountability for missteps involving data security and data usage decisions.”

Judy Selby, Principal, Judy Selby Consulting

“Cheap and too-easy web applications will have serious costs when sensitive data is exposed. Paying for application security may be low return, but law firms ignore it at their peril. Paralegals need to learn security too.”

Kim Smith, Assistant Professor, Legal Studies, Santa Ana College

Legal Tech Education

“2018 will see an ugly sanctions case turn into an even uglier malpractice dispute for an AmLaw 100 or 200 firm, focusing on the duty of technological competence. Many large and well-respected law firms have old-guard attorneys who think that the way they did things for decades is fine and are resistant to the recommendations of their e-discovery personnel (attorney or analyst) regarding best practices, or even industry minimum standards. But as these attorneys run into more tech-savvy opposing counsel, as well as judges well-versed in ESI standards, the old way of doing things will no longer be enough.”  

Courtney Murphy, e-Discovery Project Manager, Clark Hill PLC

“We’ll see increase in the need for specialized expertise in traditional e-discovery processes like forensics, processing/hosting, and review, and the ’new drivers of legal data’—cross-border, AI, cyber, and governance. In other words, work (i.e. jobs) for experts who work with data in a legal context, is not going away; it is growing in courts and regulatory bodies, corporations, law firms, and vendors.”

William Belt, Director, Enterprise Development;
Jeff Salling, Director, Business Development


“The GDPR extra-territoriality provision will catch many US multinational companies flatfooted, resulting in compliance complexities after the GDPR effective date of May 25, 2018.”

Phil Favro, Director of Legal Education & Resources, Coalition of Technology Resources for Lawyers (CTRL)

“If another jurisdiction approves the use of technology-assisted review (TAR) in 2018, it will be Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, or Singapore.”

Andrew Peck, U.S. Magistrate Judge (S.D.N.Y)

Watch the 2018 Predictions Webinar

April Runft is a member of the marketing communications team at Relativity, specializing in content development.