As it did last year, FTI Technology has commissioned a study by Ari Kaplan called Advice from Counsel Trends that Will Change E-Discovery (and What to Do About Them Now). This is based on interviews with 30 inside counsel with the aim of identifying the most Important forthcoming trends and seeking their guidance as to what is required to face the changes. It makes sense, does it not, if you sell software and services, to find out what your client-base expects – they are, after all, in the front line, and are simultaneously the canaries in the mine and the influencers, able both to predict forthcoming changes and to identify what is needed to meet them.
Ari Kaplan’s reports tends to be among the more influential published during a year – I found myself quoting from his 2012 survey all the way through last year. It would be odd if, having commissioned the survey, FTI do not take notice of its findings, and there is indeed a close connection between the feedback received from inside counsel and the recent developments in FTI’s software and service offerings. The messages, however, apply more widely than to a single provider.
The predictions made annually by those of us who comment on EDiscovery trends are usually broadly consistent with each other. This again is unsurprising since our sources (apart from each other), come from a finite pool of the lawyers and inside counsel who are working today on the projects which become tomorrow’s case reports, survey results and anecdotes. The themes which Ari Kaplan identifies in his executive summary are the same as those you will find in my own writing – increasing judicial guidance (what is labelled sometimes as “judicial activism”), the rise of predictive coding, a better balance between unreachable perfection and proportionality, data growing in both volume and in the types of sources from cloud to BYOD to social media, the distribution of functions to specialist service providers, and a rise (Kaplan calls it “dramatic”) in the number of in-house lawyers who can quantify their spending on eDiscovery – you cannot reduce what you cannot quantify, to adapt a well-known management mantra.
All this is consistent with what I have come across in my reading, from conference platforms and in the bars around the world which constitute my primary sources. You can download Ari Kaplan’s report from the FTI Technologies site here, and I recommend that you do.
If this is what FTI Technology has been hearing from its users, what has it been doing to match these requirements? You can read about that in a separate post on my Updates blog here.