Are Law Firms at an eDiscovery “Watershed”? – eDiscovery Trends

By: Doug Austin

Perhaps so, based on the results of one survey.

As reported by Sean Doherty of Law Technology News (Survey: Law Firms Are at E-Discovery 'Watershed'), according to a survey released on July 22, sponsored by RVM Enterprises Inc. and conducted by Ari Kaplan Advisors, law firms are at a “watershed” moment when it comes to creating efficient eDiscovery models for supporting their corporate clients.

As the Introduction to the report stated, “RVM retained Ari Kaplan Advisors to engage 30 senior attorneys at many of the nation’s largest law firms in detailed conversations during the first quarter of 2014 about past, present, and future trends in the legal community.  The findings, based on these interviews, characterize the catalysts transforming the profession in an era of expansive eDiscovery and highlight how organizations are universally pivoting to remain current in their approach to client service.”

Regarding the survey participants, “73% are partners and 27% are senior eDiscovery lawyers. All are members of an eDiscovery group within their firms to varying degrees. 100% recommend eDiscovery tools and vendors to corporate counsel, and also develop and implement eDiscovery processes.”  So, these are people who are certainly eDiscovery advocates.  Here are a few highlights of the findings from the report:

  • 93% of respondents said that client expectations have changed with respect to practice support technology and related costs;
  • 73% of respondents said that their firm has an eDiscovery counsel position (though not all specifically designate their lawyers with that title);
  • 79% of respondents reported that the role of eDiscovery counsel is both an internal resource and an external marketing tool;
  • 57% of respondents stated that they have had a client request that they work with eDiscovery counsel;
  • 93% of respondents reported that a combination of individuals is engaged in the practice support technology and vendor selection process;
  • 97% of respondents outsource some portion of their eDiscovery, with the most common aspect being processing, and
  • 83% of respondents have received a client request to write off eDiscovery costs.

There is quite a bit more to the report, including other stats and specific observations from individual participants, including the challenge to bill for eDiscovery services – “Clients think that eDiscovery services should be part of the operating costs of the firm” was one observation.

Here is a link to a press release from RVM Enterprises announcing the report – the 14 page report, prepared by Ari Kaplan Advisors, is available in PDF format via a link on the press release.  Best of all, the report is FREE.

So, what do you think?  How do those stats compare to experiences in your firm?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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About the Bloggers

Brad Jenkins

Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years of experience leading customer focused companies in the litigation support arena. Brad has authored many articles on litigation support issues, and has spoken before national audiences on document management practices and solutions.

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Doug Austin

Doug Austin, Professional Services Manager for CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years experience providing legal technology consulting and technical project management services to numerous commercial and government clients. Doug has also authored several articles on eDiscovery best practices.

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Jane Gennarelli

Jane Gennarelli is a principal of Magellan’s Law Corporation and has been assisting litigators in effectively handling discovery materials for over 30 years. She authored the company’s Best Practices in a Box™ content product and assists firms in applying technology to document handling tasks. She is a known expert and often does webinars and presentations for litigation support professionals around the country. Jane can be reached by email at

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