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22 e-Discovery Predictions for 2019

Mary Rechtoris

Without fail, we hear it every year: New year, new me. I find myself making a face every time.

However, despite the cliché, the sentiment is rooted in positivity. In setting resolutions, people are showing their desire to take the necessary steps for greater success—whether they’re learning a new language or becoming a Relativity Master.

Similarly, e-discovery professionals are acting now to be successful with industry changes coming down the pipeline this year.

So, we asked the experts: what will the e-discovery landscape look like in 2019?

Read on to see how the e-discovery community sees this year shaping up. Also, check out our webinar, 2019 State of the e-Discovery Union, where we power through the community’s predictions for the industry in 2019 and share which Games of Thrones character we think will claim the Iron Throne.

Early Exposure to Tech

1. Ryan Burke, Adjunct Professor, Loyola University Chicago

“In today’s digital age, legal professionals must be competent in e-discovery. However, this is often not the case; there is still a disconnect between legal teams and e-discovery. To bridge this gap, education will become more prevalent in law schools and paralegal programs, making the next wave of legal professionals a crucial asset to organizations.”

2. Janice Hollman, Academic Programs Manager, Relativity

“As law firms and corporations meet the need to create high-caliber, cross-functional teams, the opportunity for job growth and promotion for tech-savvy legal professionals will only grow. In 2019, we’ll continue to see more paralegals and litigation support professionals getting certified—along with increased demand for tech-trained paralegals and lawyers.”

3. Daniel Linna, Visiting Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“When I think about lawyers in 2019, their focus shouldn’t just be on technology; it’s about people, process, data, and how to apply technology. More clients are saying: 'I need my lawyer to do more than tell me what the law is. I need my lawyer to understand my business.' What’s exciting to me is law students will take what is already a valuable JD degree and think about new ways to apply it and develop other competencies.”


4. Caroline Pollard, Manager of eDiscovery Services, Ballard Spahr

“Here’s hoping that everyone wakes up in 2019 and realizes that even the most beautifully designed piece of technology is useless unless it is designed to solve a problem.”

5. Cristin Traylor, Counsel, McGuire Woods

“Innovation will continue to be a dominant theme in e-discovery. With the consolidation of the service provider market, we will see the creation of more ingenious solutions as a way to stand out among the pack.”

6. John Rubens, Chief Operating Officer, Special Counsel

“The tight labor market makes it challenging to find talent. As a result, we see increased use of a remote global workforce, particularly in areas such as managed review. Thus, we must have highly secure, web-based solutions, in various locales, to enable us to take advantage of remote resources. We will be working on innovative solutions to help engage and manage a highly skilled and desirable workforce.”

7. Jannie Chang, Data Scientist, Heretik

“In 2019, e-discovery platforms will move beyond litigation. As legal technology becomes increasingly interdepartmental, lit support professionals will have the opportunity to position themselves to become data professionals.”

Moving to the Cloud

8. Chris Chalstrom, President & CEO, Shepherd Data Services; CEO, Sadie Blue Software

“The reason businesses are going SaaS is simple: they can move into a perfect home and not worry about leaks or cracks in the foundation. Instead, they can walk into their environment, fire up their custom programs, and have nice toasty solutions for their clients. And, they can spend more time making better solutions for clients, instead of obsessing about details clients never see.”

9. Anne Frye, Of Counsel, Steptoe

“I expect to see an explosion of e-discovery platform adoption among smaller businesses and law firms. With volumes of data growing exponentially, and several cloud-based offerings removing previous infrastructure hurdles, smaller businesses and law firms will quickly catch up to their larger counterparts in technology usage for data processing, review, and production.”

Navigating Regulatory Changes

10. Charlie Connor, CEO, Heretik

“2019 will be the year we see big tech get regulated by governments across the world. Just as we saw GDPR have an impact for the EU and beyond, we will see the same regulations come to the United States. In addition, new regulations across the world will be introduced on a local level on how advertising is conducted on the world’s largest social media platforms.”

11. Dean Gonsowski, Chief Revenue Officer, Active Navigation

“2019 will be the year that ‘data minimization’ finally becomes in vogue. The combination of privacy (GDPR, CCPA, etc.) and cyber (23 NYCRR 500) regulations means the calculus for retaining data has evolved, since the risk of loss is now more certain than ever. ‘Realized value’ of information will become the new standard.”

12. Jeffrey Shapiro, eDiscovery Support Manager, Clifford Chance

“(UK) The Disclosure Pilot for the Business and Property Courts in England and Wales commences on 1st January 2019. As a result, we may find more litigants using early case assessment technology to assist with their Initial Disclosure obligations (par. 5) and cost estimates (par. 22). We could also see the court give direction on the use of technology-assisted review counter to a party's wishes where an order for search-based Extended Disclosure is made (par. 9.6(3)).”

13. Dara Tarkowski, Founding Partner, Actuate Law

“With the federal government continuing to move at a snail’s pace, I predict states (clearly being led by California and New York) continuing to drive and enact consumer privacy laws and strict penalties for non-compliance. General Data Protection Regulation will be the roadmap, but the individual states will drive change in the area of data privacy.”

14. James Whittington, Client Technology Solutions Manager, GravityStack

“The introduction of a mandatory two-year disclosure pilot scheme in the UK Business and Property Courts from January 2019 will produce significant change that will require parties to conduct e-discovery at a much earlier stage. Parties must complete a ‘Disclosure Review Document’ that includes agreement on the use of analytics and technology-assisted review. The disclosure reform aims to reduce the cost, scope, and complexity of e-discovery.”

Changing Data Sources & Workflows

15. Kirk Chocholek, Senior Project Manager, QDiscovery

“‘Active Learning’ will be used as a supplemental tool to support traditional linear reviews. Case managers will run it in the background and use it to prioritize documents for batching or to QC the results of a linear review. This will be the first step in the adoption of active learning. As people become more familiar with it and its value is proven, it will eventually become the default.”

16. Yaniv Schiff, Director of Forensics, QDiscovery

“Cloud-based collaboration and communication tools such as Slack, HipChat, Confluence, Salesforce, and others will become more prevalent in litigation as a discoverable source of information. We will see more innovation around collection and review of these data sources.”

17. Brian Schmitz, Technology Liaison, Faegre Baker Daniels

“2019 will be an important year for data source integration and normalization. As non-email data sources continue to explode and gain more traction in the marketplace, they’ll generate enormous amounts of data. It is ever more important to find a way to collect that data, insert it into a universal repository, and normalize it so disparate system data can talk to each other. This normalization will also help everyone to more easily interpret the scope of the matter.”

18. David Siarny, eDiscovery Manager, Vedder Price, Kaufman & Kammholz

“The more we know, and the sooner we know it, the better outcomes we have. This speaks to the continued need for more sophisticated and more prevalent use of threading, assisted review, visualizations, and other advanced tools that can reduce volumes and sharpen focus on the meatiest parts of the data set, as well as similar tools that can work with nonstandard data like chats, text messages, microblogs, and audio/video files.”

19. Emma Young, Director of eDiscovery Consulting, Consilio

“The more ‘comfortable’ and ‘traditional’ means of chronological review of keyword responsive documents will become the exception rather than the rule.”


20. Craig Macaulay, Executive Director, KordaMentha

“With a SaaS platform, organizations can be more proactive in monitoring potential security threats. Teams tend to be reactive from a security standpoint when they are managing their own infrastructure. You can’t do that anymore; you must be ahead of the curve.”

21. Percy Olsen, Associate, Sheppard Mullin

“The threat to confidential personal and corporate information will only grow. Attorneys and clients alike will need to do more to equip themselves with the tools to stay one step ahead of cybersecurity attackers, whether it be through training programs or by engaging privacy consultants.”

22. Michael Swarz, Product Marketing Manager, Veritone Legal

“More organizations are taking a proactive approach to e-discovery to meet regulatory compliance rules in their vertical before litigation hits the ground and to head it off from occurring to begin with. SaaS platforms align with this proactive strategy by eliminating upgrade and infrastructure headaches and equipping legal teams with hyper-scale computing and a worldwide network of data centers to utilize so they can further focus on their case.”

Dig Into 20+ 2019 e-Discovery Predictions

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.