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Law Firms End of Year Survey: almost 75% of firms have eDiscovery tools in-house

Jeffrey Wolff
Jan 30, 2020 12:01:00 PM

Not so long ago, small and mid-size U.S. law firms did not bring eDiscovery platforms in-house. The need for large, upfront capital expenditures to buy the necessary software and hardware was pricing them out of the tech market. Smaller firms also lacked the time for the extensive training needed to perform eDiscovery services in-house, as well as the work force required to support the ongoing management.

Today’s affordable and easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) eDiscovery platforms have knocked down these barriers. In this and the next blog, I will present the outcome of a short survey* we conducted at the end of 2019, to see how firms address their client's eDiscovery needs and what specific eDiscovery functionalities are important to them. 

The bigger the firm, the more likely they have eDiscovery tools in-house

In today's litigation environment, eDiscovery is an integrated part of the legal process. Only one percent of the law firms that participated indicate they are never involved in eDiscovery.

567_CANVA_Law Firm Survey_involved in eDisco

The amount of times a firm is involved in eDiscovery, correlates with the size of the firm. From firms with more than a hundred lawyers, 62% are involved with eDiscovery for most or every matter. For firms with less than hundred lawyers, this number is 41%.

Apparently, more and more law firms have brought significant aspects of the eDiscovery process in house. In our survey, three quarters of the law firms have eDiscovery tools in house. Here again, there is a clear correlation between size of the firm and the number of firms that have tools in house.

568_CANVA_Law Firm Survey_eDisco tools

Dedicated eDiscovery staff

Two third (66%) of the firms that reported to have no in-house eDiscovery tools, indicate they are using Legal Service Providers.

Sixty percent of the responding firms say they have their own, dedicated eDiscovery staff.

569_CANVA_Law Firm Survey_eDisco staff

As expected, more than half of the firms (53%) who have eDiscovery tools in house also have a dedicated eDiscovery staff (53%). Still, a significant number of firms have the tools but not the team (20%).

The advantages for in-house eDiscovery for lawyers

In-house eDiscovery offers numerous advantages for law firms of any size: cost-savings, more control and the opportunity to provide better client services. Today’s law firm clients are knowledgeable and demanding, and they are becoming ever more passionate about securing better services at lower costs.

Law firm client’s analytical tools allow them to assess more than just pricing in evaluations of outside counsel. They can also determine the effectiveness and efficiency of your services and can make better-informed decisions about their outside legal spend.

Firms that recognize the benefits of using technology are more competitive because they can offer clients the savings and advantages they demand.

This info-graphic shows all stats. In the next blogs, I will discuss what specific eDiscovery functionalities are important to them.

* The outcome of this survey is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as (legal) advice on any subject matter. ZyLAB expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the outcomes of this survey.