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5 Ways eDiscovery Will Change Things in 2017

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

This changes e-Everything.

As information security specialists sort out the aftermath of the 1 billion email hack at Yahoo, lawyers are circling the remains for future litigation issues. Will a billion customers rally for a class-action of privacy claims against Yahoo? Will Verizon retreat from its offer to pay $4.8 billion for the company's core business? Will the federal government demand more records from Yahoo in its fight against cyberterrorism?

And will the eDiscovery ever end?

Electronic discovery has evolved for more than a decade, and will continue to change for the next 10 years at least. That's not a prediction; it's a continuum. Here are five changes that are likely to come next year:

1. E-Discovery Cases Will Make the News. Big data means big e-discovery issues, such as cost, security, and transparency. In cases like Yahoo's, businesses, individuals, and governments must sift through data to find relevant information to carry out their purposes. With the proliferation of cyber-piracy, this will continue to make headlines in 2017.

2. E-Discovery Support Services Will Multiply. The eDiscovery services market, primarily software development, is forecast to grow at a 9.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) pushing combined software and services over $14.7 billion by 2019. Advise your clients accordingly.

3. E-Discovery Will Be a Specialty Legal Service. The American Bar Association is already considering a program to certify privacy law specialists next year. Yahoo!

4. E-Discovery Will Take Machine Learning. Artificial intelligence will supplant some legal thinking, like computers answering legal questions. Now think about discovering the algorithm in a malpractice case. Or just ask Siri.

5. E-Discovery Will Not Discover Everything. The federal rules changed last year to adjust to the demands of the electronic age. The discovery standard is no longer "any relevant subject matter involved in the action" and information "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." It is information "relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case."

That last one is a prediction, but it's solid. Just as it is legally impossible to find every literal bit of information, it is impossible to predict the future of eDiscovery. But it has changed everything.

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