Year in Review: How Predictive Coding Impacted Ediscovery

The adoption of predictive coding, the continued proliferation of data on personal devices and cybersecurity concerns were among the biggest trends impacting the ediscovery industry in 2014, according to a year-end survey from ediscovery products and services provider Kroll Ontrack. The trends underscore how Big Data is driving the evolution of the practice of law.

This year was marked with growing acceptance for using predictive coding in ediscovery matters. Forty percent of the 550 law firm and corporate ediscovery professionals surveyed reported using predictive coding technology on at least one matter in 2014, showing an increased willingness to rely on this technology to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The overall acceptance of predictive coding was higher among law firms, with 47 percent reporting use compared to 35 percent of corporations.

The use cases for predictive coding also expanded in 2014. While 73 percent noted using it for discovery productions, 47 percent cited also using it for early case assessment and 31 percent used it for pre-litigation investigations.

“Predictive coding is finally catching on,” said Joe White, senior discovery services consultant, Kroll Ontrack. “While we have discussed for years its ability to dramatically decrease costs over standard linear review, there is a growing consensus that recognizes it as more than just a discovery productions tool. It is an effective means to cull through mountains of data to quickly identify relevant documents – meaning the potential scope of application is limitless.”

The growth and proliferation of social media and personal devices spawned new collection sources for ediscovery matters in 2014. In fact, over 50 percent of law firms and corporations reported that they were involved in a matter with social media data. Similarly, 58 percent of survey respondents reported that they had at least one ediscovery matter involving personal devices (BYOD), and 26 percent said BYOD devices played a role in three or more ediscovery matters in 2014.

Internet of Things (IoT) data is likely to be a growing source of new litigation data within the next decade, with 29 percent of respondents preparing for its impact on ediscovery. Thirty-eight percent reported they have made no preparations for IoT and 33 percent have never heard of the IoT.

“The Internet gave us the opportunity to connect with people in ways that we never thought possible. However, the IoT will take us beyond person-to-person connections to become part of a global ecosystem of online devices and humans,” said Michele Lange, director, Kroll Ontrack. “With this growing global Internet ecosystem, ediscovery and security issues abound.”

With all the data breaches, security was a weighty topic in 2014. Sixty-two percent of respondents indicated that security concerns impacted their organizational ediscovery practices in some way. Specifically, 31 percent held internal discussions to reaffirm security protocols, 23 percent made changes to security infrastructure and eight percent hired a security consultant. The remainder of respondents, 38 percent, stated security had no impact on ediscovery practices in 2014.

2015: A focus on information governance and analytics

Corporations and law firms understand that Big Data is only going to get bigger, and a focus on information governance and analytics can help legal teams respond accordingly. When asked what ediscovery topic will take centre stage in 2015, 26 percent cited information governance practices with an equal percentage (26%) noting improved use of analytics to deal with growing demands to preserve and process data.

“Ediscovery is really much more sophisticated than it has ever been,” added Lange. “Whether it is technology used to advance review protocols, govern data, respond to mass security threats or prepare for emerging file formats and devices, ediscovery professionals are adapting and evolving.”

For a full copy of the 2014 Year in Review survey visit: