At IST Discover-E, we have years of experience helping our clients with their eDiscovery needs along with full scale legal support management systems. We are expert in creating and customizing eDiscovery processes that best fit our client’s needs and expectations. Our model is uniquely transparent, easy to understand and effective in aiding our clients get the decision they want for their clients.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.” In January of 2018, we did both. We wrote and released our predictions for What to Expect in eDiscovery in 2018 while also putting action to those predictions by adding key elements to IST Discover-E’s full-service offerings. In 2018, IST’s eDiscovery team doubled the number of Project Managers, promoted Managing Vice Presidents to support our sales team and added a Vice President of Sales to meet with clients every week. These changes allow IST to be closer to our clients and have even more insight into how to better meet their needs, improve their workflows and lower their costs.
I’ve listed out our predictions from last year alongside what actions we’ve taken to make them a reality on the following pages. Since even Nostradamus got it wrong sometimes, we would love to hear from you to find out your thoughts on the direction we have taken.
Prediction #1 - Firms and corporations will proactively create an eDiscovery stakeholder group which consists of IT, legal counsel, legal operations, risk and security leaders to oversee projects and consolidate solutions where overlapping capabilities may exist.
In an effort to offer a single, consolidated solution allowing further cost and security controls across IT, legal counsel, legal operations, risk and security groups, we started our IST Discover-E Forensic Collections Division, with certified forensic analysts who can travel the country, or collect remotely using the best technology available. Simultaneously, we started our IST Reporting Division, providing nationwide court reporting services to our clients.
These new divisions allow us to extend our relationship with our clients as they no longer need to vet and incur added risk when sourcing partners to perform eDiscovery project management, forensic data collection and/or court/deposition reporting. Our internal team is flexible and dedicated to providing excellent service. In everything we do, we continue to deliver at the highest level, with the best technology and the best people.
Prediction #2 - The use of more cohesive eDiscovery and legal project management technology is expected to increase over the next two years. Firms will shop more aggressively for support technology and partnerships to obtain better pricing and tools. Firms will begin to unitize, track and report internal activities under more precise categories and have a more exacting grasp on overhead and partnerships.
As a fundamental aspect of legal project management technology, advanced data analytics (whether built-in or provided on an as-needed basis) drive costs to law firms and corporations up. The catch is that, if a project requires standard analytical capabilities like email threading and near duplication they must also pay for highly advanced analysis tools (as part of a package) that will likely never be used. As our clients are expected to shop more aggressively for support technology and partnerships to obtain better pricing and tools, we set our development team to task on creating a proprietary tool built into Relativity that will initially provide the ability to run email threading and near duplication called IST Analytics.
We support our clients’ efforts to control costs and will offer IST Analytics at no additional cost upon completion in 2019, which will help reduce the overall expenses of a case. With our own development team, the sky is the limit on additional features.
Prediction #3 - Traditional competition for Big Law work will be upended by firms who can offer more certain fees. Firms that have integrated better technology to understand their actual unit costs rather than all-encompassing, fluctuating billable hours.
Whether it is passed through directly to the client or absorbed as a capital expense and billed back as a management/admin fee, variability in costs for eDiscovery services make it extremely difficult for firms to predict the total cost of a case at the start. We understand that and, to support legal teams’ efforts to provide more certain fees, we began developing a billing and cost calculator section directly within our client portal in Relativity. The IST Portal has already wowed our clients with transparent, real-time case management information, but we continue to receive feedback to make additions and improvements. We expect development to complete in 2019, so our clients can review their invoices and predict the cost of future processing or hosting.
Prediction #4 - Legal technology providers will continue to make the connection between IT and legal teams easier and easier.
Typically, data collections are performed by in-house IT teams. This is done to save time and money, but it doesn’t always pay off as there is a chance that the IT staff assigned to the collection does not adhere to forensic data collection principles. If called into question, a failure on IT’s part could lead to spoliation and fines before a matter has even begun. With the addition of IST Discover-E’s Forensic Collections team in 2018, the risk of a failure on the part of internal or client IT is removed and the task remains squarely in the legal team’s arena.
Additionally, we began work to connect IST Discover-E’s Forensic Collections to our Relativity environment via the IST Portal. Integrating Forensic Collections into our portal will give our clients more insight, reporting and decision-making power prior to processing, which will save them time and money.
Edgar Cayce wrote, “Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.” Our dream has always been to provide an excellent service at a low, controllable price. In a nutshell – it’s all about customer service and exceeding expectations. For the last many years, We’ve obsessed over that dream, which has in-turn, given us the framework to view the myriad functions within eDiscovery as a navigable landscape. We sincerely hope that you agree with our plans for moving IST Discover-E forward to realize our dream, but if you disagree with any of our actions or have advice on new ones, we’d love to hear from you so we can make 2019 as advantageous as 2018!