More In-House Legal Departments Conducting E-Discovery Internally

Benchmarking report co-produced by Exterro, EDRM, and BDO Consulting shows in-house legal teams moving to control more of their legal processes


Nov. 2 – A new study produced by EDRM Duke Law, Exterro, and BDO Consulting finds that in-house legal departments continue to take control of their legal and e-discovery processes by shifting work in-house and by focusing on legal project management principles and technology. The report, available at https://www.edrm.net/resources/in-house-benchmarking-trends/, offers the following key findings:

  • Continued Shift In-House
    • 51% of in-house legal teams report that more than half of their legal activities are now conducted internally. The biggest challenge in-house legal teams are trying to solve by bringing more legal services in-house is controlling costs, followed by completing tasks efficiently.
    • The legal services that were reported as most commonly conducted in-house were legal hold and preservation/collection activities. While e-discovery activities conducted on the right side of the EDRM, such as processing review and production, were the most outsourced.
  • Streamlining Legal Activities Starts with Legal Project Management
    • 69% of survey respondents strongly agree that having a consistent, formal process for managing legal matters gives them the foundation to complete tasks more efficiently.
    • The use of legal project management software is expected to increase 13% over the next 1-2 years.
    • The use of spreadsheets and email to manage legal projects is expected to decrease 16% over the next 1-2 years.
  • In-House Legal Teams Are Preserving New Data Types
    • While email, office files, and databased files are still the top three most preserved ESI, legal teams are also looking at non-traditional data sources.
    • 50% of survey respondents reported preserving instant and text messages for litigation and investigations. 34% preserve social media communications and 8% preserve wearable devices.

“In this second annual In-House Legal Benchmarking Report, survey respondents made it clear that in order to be both effective and productive while staying defensible, they need to take more control of the legal process. They are doing this by focusing on how to manage their legal processes more efficiently with an emphasis on legal project management principles and technology. This is a trend we expect to see growing over the next couple years as more organizations refine and optimize their process even further,” said Bill Piwonka, Exterro CMO.

“The annual survey is now in its second year, allowing us to see the evolution of practices over time,” said George Socha, EDRM co-founder and managing director at BDO. “Organizations are continuing to move legal services in-house, and the proliferation of data types is a challenge they raised repeatedly. Mobile and social, IoT, video and other sources are ballooning data volumes, and driving the use of analytics and AI to manage data.” Socha added, “Though the move in-house continues, organizations are not fully satisfied with their progress on the legal project maturity model, a measure of capabilities in managing projects and data.  Providers of project management tools, matter management systems and bespoke services will certainly gain insight from the survey report.”

The In-House Legal Benchmarking Report is based on a survey conducted by Exterro, Duke Law EDRM, and BDO Consulting in September of 2017. Eighty-six survey respondents answered questions about the current allocation of legal resources and the legal and e-discovery processes in their organizations. An October 2017 webinar discussing the findings is available on the EDRM webinar channel.

“EDRM works to promote e-discovery whenever practical and economical,” said Jim Waldron, director of EDRM at Duke Law. “We consisider  Exterro and BDO to be excellent partners in this effort, and we were pleased to partner with them to produce this benchmarking survey highlighting a a trend that will, if it continues, significantly impact the e-discovery arena.”

About Exterro
Exterro®, Inc. is the preferred provider of e-discovery software specifically designed for in-house legal and IT teams at Global 2000 and Am Law 200 organizations. Built on a simple concept of process optimization, Exterro helps organizations improve and simplify e-discovery activities. With Exterro’s Orchestrated E-Discovery Suite, traditionally fractured and fragmented e-discovery efforts are mended by orchestrating and automating tasks in a coordinated workflow across the entire e-discovery process, reducing time, cost and risk associated with e-discovery. For more information, visit exterro.com.

About EDRM
The Electronic Discovery Reference Model creates practical resources to improve e-discovery and information governance. Since 2005, EDRM has delivered leadership, standards, best practices, tools, guides and test data sets to improve electronic discovery and information governance. Member individuals, law firms, corporations and government organizations actively contribute to the direction of EDRM. In 2016, EDRM became part of the Center for Judicial Studies at Duke Law School. EDRM expands the center’s efforts to provide educational and professional resources in electronic discovery and information governance in support of its mission to promote a better understanding of the judicial process and generate ideas for improving the administration of justice. Visit EDRM.net/join for membership details. To learn more about the Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies, visit judicialstudies.duke.edu.

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Media contacts:

Kristin Kolasinski
Exterro, Inc.
kristin.kolasinski@exterro.com

Megan Miller
EDRM
mmiller@edgelegalmarketing.com