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By Debora Motyka Jones, Esq.

Published on Tue, November 15, 2016

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I recently moderated a panel at the 2016 EDI Leadership Summit with several corporate industry experts about the evolution of ediscovery. Looking back at the last year, panelists commented on a few major shifts and provided insights. For those of you who missed it, I have summarized three key takeaways below.

  1. People are starting to “get it.” The education gap between true ediscovery practitioners and those who happened upon ediscovery as part of merits counsel work was startling before, and, although there is still a slight gap, people are starting to spot issues and ask questions. Although there are still many days where outside counsel or a claims professional makes “interesting” ediscovery decisions, people are trending towards asking the experts. There are several factors that are helping to drive the closing of the education gap. As electronic data continues to grow, ediscovery comes up increasingly more often. Gone are the days where it can be avoided. To address this, some states, such as California, are highlighting ediscovery knowledge as a necessity to the practice of law so that is pushing awareness. Additionally, many corporations now have in-house ediscovery experts that can be leveraged by in-house counsel as well as outside counsel. Despite the closing of the education gap, there is still a lot of efficiency to be gained. People are asking questions but they still are not always thinking broadly enough. People have a tendency to go about their day and forget to look at the bigger picture and/or goal of the matters. People are still trying to boil the ocean, although that is starting to change. With better education, we should see people continue to shift to a more practical approach. More can be done to improve our process and continue to close the education gap in 2017 and beyond. Continuing to normalize ediscovery, train people to think about ediscovery, and ask questions to understand goals will all go a long way in this effort.
  1. There is a better understanding of analytics and when to use them. For the last decade, people have touted analytics as the “easy button” without a true understanding of when/where to use them. Greater awareness has finally driven analytics to become more of a norm than ever before. Expect to see more adoption and training around analytics as we move into 2017.
  1. The adoption of the cloud is increasing, specifically around Office 365. The compliance center in Office 365 is something that has been talked about for the last several years but corporations clearly had reservations. Over the past year, however, the discussion has changed from a worry over cloud security to a discussion about what features corporations can expect when going to the cloud. In 2017, with the integration of the predictive coding technology into the Office 365 Legal and Compliance Center, corporations can expect to have a lot more data reduction power available within their environments before needing to send the data to a third party.

The panel concluded with the panelists sharing their predictions for 2017, but I am interested in hearing what you predict will be the biggest change in the ediscovery landscape in 2017. Take this short survey and share your thoughts.

If you would like to discuss this topic further or have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at djones@lhediscovery.com.

About the Author
Debora Motyka Jones, Esq.

Senior Advisor, Market Engagement and Operations

Debora has been with Lighthouse since 2009 and has made a significant impact on the company’s growth and business strategy during her tenure. With a background in litigation from practicing at law firms in both Washington D.C and Washington State, her expertise and deep understanding of complex ediscovery matters enabled her to create a resonating brand and architect the innovative products and services that keep Lighthouse at the forefront of the ediscovery market. She led the execution and implementation of the company’s rebranding in 2012 and developed the marketing department from the ground up. In addition, she has been instrumental in spearheading the company’s strategic technology partnerships, driving the formation of Lighthouse’s product strategy, and the evolution of Lighthouse’s SmartSeries. She also instituted and continues to maintain a client advisory board to ensure strong alignment with market demands. Finally, in 2015, Debora lead the company’s expansion to the eastern seaboard by managing the development the New York office and team, as well as expanding upon the company’s current set of services and clientele.

Prior to joining Lighthouse, Debora was a Complex Commercial Litigation Associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in Washington, D.C. where she worked on matters such as the WorldCom and Enron bankruptcies. Her practice also included multi-million-dollar commercial and securities litigation, and internal investigations. While at Weil, Debora was recognized three times for her dedication to pro bono service. Debora also practiced as a litigation Associate at McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC. Her practice included commercial, employment, and securities litigation, as well as legal malpractice defense.

Debora received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Washington where she graduated magna cum laude. She received her law degree from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. She is admitted to practice law in New York State, the District of Columbia (inactive membership), and Washington State. Debora is Level II Pragmatic Marketing Certified. Debora is actively involved in the legal community as the former Director of Women in eDiscovery, as a mentor with Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle, as an Advisory Board Member for the Organization of Legal Professionals, as the former Chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)'s New to In-House Committee, and as a former board member of the Washington Women Lawyers (WWL). Debora was also recognized for her contribution to the ACC and was named 2012 WWL Board Member of the Year. Debora is a frequent speaker on eDiscovery strategy, a former instructor for the Organization of Legal Professionals, and a regular Lighthouse blog contributor.