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Controlling eDiscovery spend, security, and cloud top priorities for enterprise legal departments

Artifical intelligence, cloud and security have all been named as top priorities for enterprise legal departments, as well as the need to take control of eDiscovery costs, according to new research from OpenText. 

"To gain advantage in litigations, successfully conclude investigations, and competently deal with regulatory matters, decision-makers must be able to cull germane information in real time," says Serge Savchenko, vice president, Legal Technology at OpenText. 

"The demand for speed amid escalating risks and ever-growing amounts of data is pushing legal departments and law firms to automate routine tasks and inject machine learning and AI into daily operations," he says.

 The OpenText 4th Annual Survey of Legal Operations Professionals found controlling eDiscovery costs is the ultimate goal of enterprise legal departments. Legal operations teams are focused on controlling eDiscovery costs by gaining transparency from law firms on discovery budgets and review efficiency, centralising eDiscovery management, benchmarking success and partnering with managed review providers. 

Corporate legal teams are standardising their internal process for eDiscovery, and even providing mandates to external counsel. Seventy seven percent contract directly with eDiscovery vendors, 74% control which eDiscovery vendors their outside counsel uses, and 71% have adopted a centralised approach to managing eDiscovery data. A full 42% have adopted a single vendor model.

The survey also found there is increasing use of and spend on AI tools. The drive to improve eDiscovery efficiency, spend and outcomes is fueling AI spending and usage. Eighty percent of respondents plan to increase spend in this area and 49% reported using predictive coding (also known as technology-assisted review) in the past year (+18 YoY).

Moving to the cloud is a key initiative to optimise operations, the research revealed. Sixty nine percent of legal operations professionals saying their law departments are standardising in the cloud.

Moreover, data security is top-of-mind. ninety four percent (+3% YoY) of respondents reported they have data security concerns around distributing electronically stored information to multiple discovery vendors and law firms.

On behalf of Opentext, between July 9, 2019 and August 15, 2019, Ari Kaplan Advisors interviewed 35 legal operations leaders from a variety of corporations. Sixty-three percent of these corporations have annual revenues exceeding $10 billion and 83% have more than 10,000 employees. The discussions focused on law department innovation, the growing influence of legal operations, cloud adoption, auditing the technological competency of outside counsel, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), how legal teams are balancing outside counsel and providers of alternative legal services, how to measure success in eDiscovery, legal operations metrics, perspectives on data management and approaches to document review, including the use of predictive coding.