In 2022, the ediscovery process, long the invisible infrastructure of justice, broke into the public sphere in ways not typically seen.
There were high-profile refusals to engage in document discovery, leading to default judgments that themselves led to nearly billion-dollar verdicts. Celebrity litigation saw testimony about ESI ending up on TikTok—presumably the first time “metadata expert” has trended among Gen Z. And for legal professionals, few guessed that they’d spend the holidays prepping special master discussion points before their Thanksgiving meals.
But 2022 was not just a headline-making year for ediscovery. It also marked an inflection point for the profession, as skyrocketing data sizes and constantly diversifying data types continued to out-pace the resources legal teams were able to throw at them.
These trends are chronicled in a new white paper just released from Everlaw, “2022 Year in Review: The State of Ediscovery Today and Everlaw’s Predictions for the Future.”
This white paper presents previously unseen data drawn from Everlaw’s own usage statistics alongside original industry surveys, illustrating the evolving challenges involved in ediscovery today—and the advanced tools legal professionals are using to address them.
A Growing “Ediscovery Efficiency Gap” Challenges Legal Professionals
That imbalance between what is required and the resources available has created an “Ediscovery Efficiency Gap” all practitioners must grapple with.
That Efficiency Gap marks the space between what is needed and what can be accomplished with existing resources. While daunting, this disparity is also causing changes in how the work of ediscovery is done.
The amount of data is changing the scope of the preservation, collection, and review. In the last year alone, the number of documents hosted in Everlaw grew by 48%. The average number of documents per Everlaw user jumped by over 10%. The size of projects migrated from other platforms to Everlaw also expanded, growing 43.3% year over year.
The format that data comes in is also evolving, with, for example, significant growth in audio and video files. In 2022, the number of those files transcribed nearly doubled, increasing 92% from the year before.
In 2022, the number of documents hosted in Everlaw grew 48%. The number of documents per user jumped over 10%.”
That doesn’t just mean more data. It means more work.
Legal Professionals Are Embracing Force Multipliers to Manage Larger, More Complex Data Sets
Manual and legacy approaches to discovery are simply no longer viable.
To overcome the Ediscovery Efficiency Gap, legal teams are increasingly looking to force multipliers, advanced tools like early case assessment and machine learning to reduce data sizes and illuminate key insights — without requiring additional resources.
Tactics such as early case assessment, or ECA, can help teams get a quick understanding of their data early on, allowing them to set baselines for the resources, budgets, and headcount needed during complex matters – and to dramatically reduce the number of documents requiring active review.
In 2022, Everlaw users achieved an astonishing average document reduction rate of 74% using ECA.”
In 2022, Everlaw users achieved an astonishing average document reduction rate of 74% using ECA, promoting just over one quarter of the documents uploaded into ECA workspaces into active review.
That means that legal teams were able to quickly exclude nearly three out of every four documents through ECA.
These strategies are becoming increasingly common, with Everlaw’s ECA projects growing by 200% year over year.
Additional tools, from Everlaw Clustering to data visualization and predictive coding are arming legal professionals with the resources they need to not just conquer modern data sizes, but to gain a strategic advantage during litigation.
Indeed these interlinked phenomena—the increasing obstacles created by modern data and the turn towards advanced technology to address them—are at the center of the major trends that played out in 2022.