9 Top eDiscovery Trends for 2012

By Christine Taylor

So many people come out with end of the year "Trends" articles that I sometimes skip it. However, there is so much rapid morphing in the eDiscovery industry that if I didn't share my 2012 trends I'd be a slacker. We can't have that.

The following points are some of the trends you need to know about the complex field of eDiscovery coming into 2012.

1. Social Media

Ah, social media ... potentially ruinous ESI run amok. When people think about social media they mostly mean Facebook and Twitter with an occasional nod to LinkedIn. With millions of people Face-booking, Tweeting and Linking away, information related to disputes and investigations is bound to end up online. In addition to the Big Three, specialized social media sites are proliferating and aggregators multiply large volumes of shared data.

The courts are not blind; they are aware that attempting to meaningfully search and collect data in social media is a huge challenge. They are generally sympathetic to proportionality arguments but not to the point that they allow litigants to simply skip social media searches. But traditional collection practices don’t cut it. Forget trying to image Twitter servers or getting Facebook to run collections on their data storage. Even Facebook’s self-collection tool is extremely limited and can only be run from a user’s own login account. Nor do third-party screen captures meet defensibility standards.

There are some social media tools that work in limited areas. Some collect using Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn’s metadata schemes (all of which are incompatible with each other) but their scope is limited. Other software products are set to regulate user-created data for compliance; useful but not data collection. This field is wide open to technical innovation and eDiscovery software developers know it.

Our take: Product development will be hot and heavy as eDiscovery vendors seek to develop products that will collect and preserve relevant data from social media sites. In the meantime, we strongly suggest that large matters require litigants to spend the money on social media collection experts. Their mix of proprietary technology and consulting expertise is the way to go for now while vendors develop more sophisticated in-house methods for social media searches.

Vendors we are following: X1 Discovery, FTI, Smarsh

Read about all 9 eDiscovery trend predictions for 2012

This article was originally published on January 04, 2012