According to Andrew Kerr from forensic, litigation consulting and technology company FTI Consulting, corporations are set to dominate the future e-discovery landscape.
“We have already predicted and seen the rise of the corporate client as an agitator for efficiencies within the legal process. With the rise of Office 365 and the broader acceptance of cloud-based data, e-discovery will shift its focus out of the law firm and into the corporation,” Mr Kerr said.
Mr Kerr has spent 15 years working in the electronic discovery space. In that time, one thing has stayed the same for the market – that is client expectations.
“Client expectations are one thing though that hasn’t really changed over the years.
“Lawyers back then wanted this stuff yesterday, and also thought it’s simply [a matter of] pressing a button,” Mr Kerr said.
From 2010 to 2013, Mr Kerr worked for Johnson Winter & Slattery with the title of ‘legal technology support manager’, but for the most part he has held digital consulting roles.
Today, as a director of FTI Consulting, he offered his take on the e-discovery changes that have transformed the work of those in litigation support.
“The most significant changes I’ve seen over the years would have to be the software, the providers, price erosion and of course data volumes,” Mr Kerr said.
While e-discovery service providers have come and gone since the early 2000s, he said clients today are spoiled for choice.
With such huge choice, he also advised law firms to consider that the cheapest provider may not necessarily be the best, adding that with requests from clients to process more data, the [quality control] steps involved in the e-discovery process have to also be adapted.
“The biggest tip I can provide is that you get what you pay for when it comes to e-discovery,” Mr Kerr said.
The cost of e-discovery services may have been much less affordable in comparison to modern-day offerings, however Mr Kerr suggested that the price point for those services 15 years ago was a reflection of the effort put into developing new-to-market products from scratch.
“Pricing was expensive but we were the pioneers and it took a lot of effort to get these systems up and running,” Mr Kerr said.
He also noted the benefit of having in-house developers at hand to assist with problems and bugs as they arose.
“Back [then] we used in-house developed tools for the processing and rendering,” Mr Kerr said.
“Having the developers readily available to assist with problems with previously not encountered file types was great,” he said.