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2022 Ediscovery Trends: The Era of Virtual Collaboration Is Here

by Isabela Reid

People walking through a square, seen from above, with architectural lines illustrating their connection

Where in the world are your colleagues? In a typical office setup, collaborating with colleagues has tended to be a relatively straightforward process; however, the typical collaborative workflows most legal teams have grown accustomed to have been disrupted by the adoption of hybrid working models. As teams grow in size and become geographically dispersed, and as legal professionals spend more time on ediscovery platforms, these tools must accommodate and facilitate remote collaboration.

Ediscovery platforms should make legal work easier, not harder, so having the flexibility to customize your workspace is critical to easing the burden of legal work. Additionally, based on our internal data, the general trend is pointing toward more remote meetings (meetings held over Teams or other video-conferencing software), during which major business decisions are being made. This directly translates to an increase in discoverable audio and video data and a need to redact or censor private information. As a result, the ability to review various file types is becoming increasingly necessary.

Handling a Variety of File Types: It’s Not Just Emails Anymore

Today, courts are conducting trials via video conference, lawyers are deposing witnesses from thousands of miles away, and new forms of communication, from instant messages to meeting recordings, are working their way into litigation as evidence, not just tools. The rapid adoption of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other cloud-based platforms that likely would have taken years happened within the last 18 months. With this massive increase, cloud connectors are a must for uploading this data in a manageable way.

In 2021, 58% of all uploads from cloud connectors to Everlaw came from OneDrive. In addition, audio and video files are increasing in volume: in 2020, just over 38,000 hours of audio/video files were transcribed, compared to 2021, where 133,000 hours were transcribed — a 250% increase. In response to the rise in the number of A/V files, Everlaw launched audio/video redactions in 2021, eliminating the need to use third-party software to redact A/V files and keep all review work in one secure location.

Lawyers use Slack, too! As client data types are expanding to include more communication platforms and channels, lawyers, paralegals, litigation support personnel, and all legal professionals are also leveraging these communication platforms for increased efficiency, transparency, and collaboration.

As a result, virtual collaboration is happening in the legal industry as well, including within legal tools themselves:

Sharing important documents in-platform. It’s easier and more secure to keep legal work in one safe place, which explains the shift to sending messages via Everlaw, where users can share searches, binders, deposition transcripts, notes, and more. In 2021, there was a 44% year-over-year increase in the number of in-platform messages sent.

Collaborating with everyone on your team. Coordinating a review of documents can be tricky, especially when it’s done virtually. As a result, we saw a 51% increase in the number of assignment groups created in 2021, which provide a simple way to organize reviewers and assign documents for review. Another crucial part of collaborating is inviting any and all of your coworkers (including outside counsel and expert witnesses) — one project alone had 768 users.

Tackling remote depositions and trials. Using cloud-based post-review tools like Storybuilder is useful when managing depositions and court appearances remotely. There was a 225% increase in deposition transcripts uploaded to Everlaw and a 41% increase in the number of drafts created. In addition, nearly 300,000 documents were added to timelines. 2021 also heralded the launch of Storybuilder by Everlaw, a no-cost version of Storybuilder.

Lighting the Way: 2021 Ediscovery Trends & Everlaw's 2022 Predictions
Learn how legal professionals use modern ediscovery technology in our 2021 year-in-review report.

Make Your Virtual Workspace Your Own

It’s just as important to organize your virtual workspace as it is to organize your real-life desk or filing cabinet — especially when you’re viewing thousands of documents for multiple matters. This year, two impactful product releases gave users the ability to save views in the results table and filter in the results table.

These two essential features give users a high-level view of their documents, making it easier to understand their data and share their personalized view of the data with other team members. These highly requested features illustrate that as legal teams’ needs change, technology providers must listen and respond to those needs as quickly as possible.

Eliminate Manual but Critical Tasks with Workflow Automation

Leveraging automation speeds up the fundamental parts of discovery. Everlaw released two impactful features in the last year that accelerate common (but time-consuming) tasks: production QA, a way to automatically check documents that are to be produced for privilege or other factors, and suggested metadata redactions. In fact, in 2021, 20% of all metadata redactions were suggested. This suggests (no pun intended) that legal professionals are beginning to rely more on automation technology for routine legal work.

Head in the Cloud: Attorneys Move to Cloud Platforms in Massive Numbers

We witnessed quite a few breakups this year — between customers and their previous ediscovery providers, that is. Legal organizations are deliberately moving data from ongoing matters to cloud solutions like Everlaw, where it’s easier to have surefire control over data. Since 2020, data migrations from other platforms to Everlaw have increased by 186%.

Our dedicated Data Operations team migrated almost 30 TB of customer data from other ediscovery platforms to Everlaw (at no additional cost), with the average size of each matter being nearly 40 GB. Many of these migrations originated from older legacy, on-premise platforms like Relativity, IPRO, and eDiscovery Point.

Are you interested in learning more about 2022 ediscovery trends and predictions for 2022? Download a free copy of “Lighting the Way: 2021 Ediscovery Trends & Everlaw’s 2022 Predictions” to learn more!