Extract from Amit Dungarani’s article “The Enterprise eDiscovery Maturity Model: A Legal Operations Guide to Mitigating Risk and Lowering Legal Spend”
Legal departments are under enormous pressure to adapt to the rapidly evolving business environment. In a recent survey of high-level legal professionals, 57% of respondents reported dealing with an increasing number of legal disputes in 2021, up 15 points from 2020. Half of the respondents say their organization increased its litigation spend in the last 12 months, and 61% report being involved in a “bet the company” lawsuit in the last 12 months. In the face of these increases in the volume, cost, and risk of legal matters, top priorities for in-house counsel are now data management, data security, data privacy, cost control, and proactive risk management strategies.
To cope with expanding workloads, legal departments are not only hiring new staff but also turning to external providers. The 2022 ACC CLO Survey indicates investment in legal operations is accelerating and CLOs expect to hire more in-house staff, ranging from lawyers with specific areas of expertise to legal technologists. Gartner estimates that by 2025 large organizations will routinely work with four or more legal vendors. Budgets are not unlimited, though. Corporations expect their legal departments to operate cost-effectively while managing risk and juggling a more intense workload. It’s a difficult balancing act that requires organizations to develop more mature processes across the department.
Why Prioritize eDiscovery?
There are many areas of legal operations competing for focus. But for most organizations, the optimal path to operational maturity begins with eDiscovery. Why? Because eDiscovery is uniquely technology-intensive and data-intensive, and as such can establish a foundation for the entire legal operations cycle.