The past year was, in many ways, a time of change and disruption. Legal professionals have had to learn how to adapt to new circumstances, both professionally and personally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shift to working remotely has dramatically impacted the day-to-day life of legal professionals. As a result, it’s become increasingly evident in the legal industry that there is a need for technology that can address this shift. In 2020, according to a survey conducted by Clio, 83% of legal professionals viewed cloud technology as necessary to their law firms’ survival. The pandemic has only heightened the importance of adopting cloud-based solutions like videoconferencing, collaborating, and ediscovery. In the same survey, 76% of legal professionals responded that they believe conducting work virtually can help streamline legal services and workflows.
To make sense of this dramatic shift in the legal industry, we analyzed our internal data to identify specific trends in how the legal industry is coping with this “new normal.” It’s our belief that if legal professionals understand and are conscious of the changes in the industry, the better prepared they’ll be for what lies ahead.
For 2020, we observed three primary trends in the ediscovery landscape, and among Everlaw users’ behaviors, we noticed the following:
- Increased importance of effective collaboration and security.
- Influence of speed and automation on cost.
- Development of strong relationships with ediscovery partners.
In this post, we will specifically explore how critical effective collaboration and security have been for legal professionals over the past year.
Increased Importance of Effective Collaboration and Security
In a brick-and-mortar office, collaborating is typically not an issue – it’s easy to walk down the hall and tap your colleague on the shoulder. But the world’s shift to working remotely in March of 2020 disrupted the typical collaborative workflows most legal professionals had grown accustomed to. Understanding that some people have felt under-equipped for the “new normal,” Everlaw launched Litigate from Anywhere, a microsite bursting with resources to guide legal professionals through the new work-from-home landscape.
This is what we advise you to do based on what we have found:
Collaborate on Review by Leveraging Assignments – Assignments are a simple way to assign documents for review, which can come in handy, especially for geographically separated teams. We saw a 168% increase in assignment groups creation from 2019 to 2020. Assignment groups are often most useful for large, complex matters that have many reviewers and require greater resources. In 2020, we saw one single project with over 6,800 assignment groups.
Keep Documents, Data, and Correspondence Secure – Everlaw helps users secure their case documents, data, and correspondence by keeping communication directly in Everlaw. We saw a 75% increase from year to year in the number of in-platform messages sent.
Collaborate on Case Building and Deposition Prep with Storybuilder – 74% of legal professionals have participated in and/or support the movement towards virtual practice for depositions, hearings, motions, and trials. Drafts in Storybuilder provide a secure workspace to draft deposition questions, case strategy, and more, while also being able to integrate documents as evidence directly. Multiple people can edit a single draft at once, eliminating the need to send a document back and forth via email, which can interrupt workflows and increase the risk of security vulnerabilities. In 2020, Everlaw users created over 2,800 drafts.
Bring Outside Experts into Your Case Securely – Creating sub-projects that correspond to overarching databases allows legal teams to securely bring in outside experts or counsel to review documents. In 2020, 8% of all databases had corresponding sub-projects.
Due to the effects of working remotely, cybersecurity concerns are now at the forefront, with legal teams and their clients demanding best-in-class security for their sensitive data. The need for a secure, cloud-based software solution became – and continues to be – more important than ever before.
Help Protect You and Your Client’s Data by Eliminating Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities – With the shift to working from home, legal teams are taking security seriously. They’re using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to log in, which increases the security of your account by requiring a second method for authenticating your identity, preventing unauthorized access by individuals who may steal or guess your password. We saw a 40% increase in users who use MFA upon logging in. Additionally, almost 4% of projects have location whitelisting enabled, ensuring that users can only access a project based on the country or IP address from which they sign in.
Are you interested in learning about ediscovery trends for 2021? Download our report, “Stepping into 2021: Ediscovery Trends and Insights,” to find out more.