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eDiscovery: A Costly Practice and a Lucrative Career

by on March 5, 2012

Both litigants and judges have continuously bemoaned the escalating expense and complexity of eDiscovery processes in recent years – and for good reason. Although clear solutions have been slow to develop, there is a fair amount of consensus that having the right people in the room can go a long way toward reducing costs and increasing efficiency. For this reason, qualified eDiscovery professional may become one of the most in-demand – and generously compensated – job titles of the next decade.

Current state. According to estimates from Law.com, eDiscovery represents a $2 billion American industry and now consumes the most expense and attention of pretrial practices. With emails now representing the bulk of corporate communication – with instant messaging and social media sure to command some attention of their own – the average volume of document review processes has exploded in recent years. Aside from industry-wide trends, there have also been a number of shocking outliers. Earlier this month, for example, a federal district court ruled that KPMG Consulting would be required to preserve 2,500 hard drives, at an estimated cost of $1.5 million, resulting to a labor dispute.

Future forecast. Media management professionals are already well aware of how big data will be redefining their storage strategies in the coming years, but being able to locate and recall that information will be just as important. With 2011’s swell of corporate data breaches fresh on the minds of both consumers and regulators, lost files could merit stiffer sanctions than ever before.

Additionally, an emerging emphasis on proportionality and cost-sharing will make it all the more important for legal teams to prove the relevance of eDiscovery requests and produce information in a timely manner to ensure their party’s odds of trial success.

Making the grade. To balance the seemingly overwhelming demands and objectives contained in eDiscovery proceedings, a legal specialization is quickly forming in the field. When companies seek outside counsel, they will be searching for collaborators with the right combination of credentials and experience.

According to the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), 76 percent of business executive would pay a certified information professional a salary premium to secure their services. Additionally, nearly two thirds would prefer that their IT staff be certified in the multifaceted discipline.

With the demands of big data certain to shape the decisions of business leaders for years to come, attaining proficiency and certified eDiscovery expertise now could pay significant dividends in the future.

From → eDiscovery

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