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By Sarah Ledgerwood

Published on Wed, January 2, 2019

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This past year, I traversed the country to absorb and evangelize the current state of ediscovery and the rapidly evolving world of legal technology. From Legaltech to ILTA and RelativityFest to Georgetown AEDI, many lessons were learned - not only on where we are, but also where we’ve been. Common themes emerged that can help propel us forward and fully embrace a bold new world of ediscovery in 2019. Are you ready?

Let’s skip the typical resolution-breaking stage and start with my list of achievable ediscovery resolutions that will launch us into a year filled with industry-best, streamlined workflows and intuitive technology solutions that will ultimately reduce data sets and save time and money. It’s simple - take my five-step ediscovery New Year’s resolution challenge based on lessons learned in 2018:

  1. Embrace Innovation – Don’t cringe, it’s that word…innovation! Basically so overused across legal tech this past year that it can be considered the “In My Feelings” of ediscovery challenges in 2018. We saw the innovation theme dominate the ediscovery world - but more from a philosophical perspective than a pragmatic, how-do-we-actually-do-this in the notoriously slow to innovate legal world perspective. So in 2019, my top recommended ediscovery resolution is to find a way to make innovation practical. One simple and easy way to get started right now? Adopt the cloud and its undeniable future as the champion of data storage. Cloud hosting is secure, cuts costs, and speeds up the ediscovery workflow. The only question you should be asking yourself is, if you haven’t taken ediscovery to the cloud already, what are you waiting for?
  1. ResolutionsThink Outside the eDiscovery Box – While the day-to-day challenges of progressing through a legally defensible strategy of collection to processing to review to production are still critical, we’re seeing ediscovery move from that standard, static workflow to one where the left side of the EDRM, with a focus on information governance strategies, is becoming equally important. Have you thought through a comprehensive data management approach and the potential for all of the ESI we manage? Getting your information governance house in order by proactively reducing the amount of ESI you store and improving your data’s organization, could be the most cost-effective ediscovery resolution you’ll ever make.
  1. Develop a Global Mindset – When it comes to solving global ediscovery issues, many in our industry are facing tough dilemmas as data volumes and devices multiply while legal and compliance requirements in one region often collide with another country’s strict privacy edicts. As we see these new challenges more frequently arise for international litigation, particularly with cross-border data protection issues, it’s critical to focus on creating an integrated, technology-driven approach to international ediscovery. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the potential scope of this one - to make immediate progress on your resolution goals, consider hiring specialized advisors who have the experience to navigate global issues and help you reach your optimal ediscovery global mindset.
  1. Attack Data Privacy and Protection – Following naturally from your newly developed global mindset, if I had to name the number one hot button issue in ediscovery and legal tech this year, I’d be hard pressed to choose anything except data privacy and protection. Who could forget this year’s countdown to the start date of the GDPR? And with data privacy and protection now top of mind for everyone, many are realizing they were slow to understand the ramifications outside of Europe. With implementation for California’s new privacy law only a year away, which will likely set the US standard for privacy, (and even a federal privacy law on the horizon), many are predicting other US states will soon follow. So if you haven’t already, there’s no time like the present to get started on creating (or improving) your roadmap for data privacy and protection compliance.
  1. Tackle the Explosion of Data – Let me take a minute to remember the early days of ediscovery. Those days when discovering email was the biggest challenge you had. Remember? I certainly do! As we enter 2019, it’s mind boggling to contemplate how many data types have emerged since those early days. And as the complexities surrounding the explosion of data continues to grow, the obligation to discover this new data is only increasing. It seems obvious to point out that by controlling this data, you can control your ediscovery costs, but I think prioritizing this simple resolution may be the direct ticket to ediscovery health and happiness.

I hope my five-step ediscovery resolution challenge has inspired you to kick off your new year with excitement for new challenges and roads less traveled. If you have questions or would like to discuss any of these ideas further, please reach out to me at SLedgerwood@lighthouseglobal.com.

About the Author
Sarah Ledgerwood

eDiscovery Evangelist and Marketing Content Strategist

Sarah is an eDiscovery Evangelist and Marketing Content Strategist at Lighthouse. She has over 18 years of experience across the legal, technology, and marketing industries since graduating from law school. She specializes in creating digital marketing strategy and content for Lighthouse. She particularly enjoys the challenge of translating and communicating the benefits of legal technology to help clients innovate and optimize their information governance and ediscovery programs. Her expertise in ediscovery began in the early days when she supported clients in a project management capacity on a multitude of cases including regulatory investigations and complex litigation. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington, and J.D. from American University in Washington, D.C.