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Adapting to Changing e-Discovery Needs: r(e)-Discovery?

By Neetal Parekh on August 24, 2009 3:25 PM

What do you call an industry that has experienced a 5000% increase over the span of 9 years?  Some may say saturated.

But the e-discovery sector is not backing down, the players are looking to adapt, merge, and continue developing technology and practices in this popular junction of law and technology.

The American Bar Association (ABA) reports that the electronic data discovery industry has expanded from featuring about a dozen providers in 2000 to the 600 that now reside in its domain. 

And though the industry expects to see $4.05 billion in commercial business this year, at least one e-discovery provider estimates that 1 out of 4 e-discovery software vendors will disappear from the scene--whether through merger, acquisition, or exit. 

Where is the e-discovery industry going?

The self-streamlining process is changing the industry.  As e-discovery firms such as Autonomy, Iron Mountain and Symantec envelop smaller companies, they are using the competitive advantage of combined resources and expertise to offer customers a broader range of services with competitive pricing, all in one place.  This one-stop shop mentality that proved successful for retail store chains may experience a similar response from law firms and corporate legal departments for offering efficiency, convenience, and reliability. 

The in-house difference.

One trend that the ABA reports is the tendency for large companies to bulk up their in-house legal tech teams rather than relegating e-discovery to outside counsel.  The move fits with the downsized budgets that in-house legal departments are being doled out to address a similar load of work.  Using more of their budgets on investing in e-discovery technology and training tech departments on e-discovery practices can prove more cost-effective in the long-run, than paying high fees for the work to be completed by retained law firms.

So, is the market for e-Discovery saturated?  It is possible, but the one for r(e)-Discovery is wide open.

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