Our Top 3 Takeaways From Legalweek 2022

Enthusiasm and excitement filled the air at Legalweek 2022, as thousands of lawyers, members of corporate legal departments, service providers and legal technology teams gathered to network, explore the latest eDiscovery solutions and discuss hard-hitting questions in the industry. 

Venio Systems is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend and connect with you all back in person for the first time after two years. In case you missed it, here are our top three insights we learned from your peers at Legalweek 2022.

Hybrid Deployment Is a Necessity

After talking to dozens of attendees at the conference, our conversations with both large and small corporations, law firms, and service providers convinced us that the market is evenly split between on-premise and cloud eDiscovery. 

The most common reasons for adopting the cloud included:

  • Ease and speed - eDiscovery deployment is easier, faster and requires no additional cost for hardware, upgrades, maintenance, patches and security
  • Lack of on-premise option - Solution has the Inability (or long lag times) to provision hardware for on-premise deployments
  • Poor backup capabilities - eDiscovery software and data hosted in private datacenters lack fail-safe or backup capabilities

However, cloud also invoked the following concerns:

  • Lack of transparency in billing procedures: A number of clients feel that a low per GB cost model proposed by most cloud providers comes with hidden costs, excessive charges for required support and services, and convoluted contracts with unfriendly terms and conditions.
  • Obscure data security procedures: A lack of processes for onboarding data, securing it and offboarding it after the project ends is a major cause of anxiety with clients.
  • Lock-in: A number of clients saw cloud as a way for vendors to lock them into their processes and procedures at an exorbitantly high cost. 

Venio’s Key Insights:

We believe cloud or on-premise eDiscovery is a choice for the customer, not the vendor. As a customer, you should:

  • Have full flexibility of deployment, licensing and price models- This includes the option to start either on-premise or in the cloud and seamlessly migrate to the other, without spending lots on the cost of switching.
  • Not have to deal with complexity and large upfront costs when you adopt a solution- Instead, the solution should scale up and out as your needs change and data grows. Whether you have a small caseload or a large one, you need an eDiscovery platform that best fits your needs.
  • Have a right to transparent and easy billing- Your invoice should be self-explanatory or explained to you before you pay it. In other words, you shouldn’t have to run after your provider to understand your bill each month.

Data Security Is a Top Priority

As we propel into an increasingly digitizing world, clients need to be sure their data is secure, regardless of whether your eDiscovery platform is in-house or in the cloud. 

The top 3 concerns we heard about data security were:

  • Lack of transparent data handling within eDiscovery software- This includes security of data at rest and in-transit, secure passwords, RBAC, and above all, protection against malicious web-attacks like clickjacking and ransomware. 
  • No visibility into who can access their data and questionable control over removing access after a few hours or days- Whether in the cloud or with service providers, and in some cases even on-premise, eDiscovery vendors fail to report on and exercise control over clients’ sensitive data. Multiple copies, lax control, and archaic data management techniques expose clients to unnecessary risks and expenses.
  • Vendors’ lack of experience - Regulations and compliance requirements demand strong security measures and controls that vendors are not catering to.

Venio’s Key Insights:

Security is a multivector problem in eDiscovery. It starts with robust processes and machines (virtual or physical) and goes all the way to applications and users. If your vendor doesn’t deliver on each vector across this tool chain, your data cannot be secured. As a customer, you should ask for:

  • Built-in application security - This includes secure passwords, protocols, RBAC, and self-expiring links to keep your data safe on any endpoint
  • Well protected infrastructure - This includes hardened machines and images
  • Vendor’s commitment to transparency - A vendor should be clear about their datacenter and IT operations with a focus on security and compliance; think SOC II.

eDiscovery Costs Are Becoming Debilitating

The bulk of your eDiscovery costs are spent on the review process, with estimates stating review alone accounted for 67% of all costs in 2021.

However, we heard from the clients a general dissatisfaction with the cost structure across the entire eDiscovery process. Here are clients’ most pressing issues with the current pricing models:

  • Unsustainably high cost - With prices as high as $50/GB (yes, we were shocked too!) and averaging around $25/GB, eDiscovery is more expensive than what most people expect it to be and requires clients to do a lot of analysis and culling before sending out their data. 
  • Lack of automated workflows - Those brave enough to run their own eDiscovery are finding that processing data isn’t easy. A larger client shared a harrowing tale of his erroneous processing software that resulted in numerous restarts, endless hours spent monitoring the software and an interrupted family vacation. Needless to say, the experience left him looking for alternative solutions, but with a multi-year commitment already in place, he had scant options.
  • Large upfront investment - In addition to the cost of eDiscovery software licenses, customers also have to pay for their users, infrastructure, software (like SQL Server) and more. Cloud customers find themselves spending similarly on extraneous costs. In either case, clients are unhappy with the way they are being charged; much of which they see as an unfair tax on their desire to be a responsible corporation, law firm, or a legal service provider.

Venio’s Key Insights:

  • Exponential increase in the amount of data - Discoverable data will continue to grow and clients have no choice but to deal with the problem head-on. However, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. A standalone ECA tool with a small data footprint, robust analytics, and easy culling can reduce your processing data by up to 90%! That means up to 90% less money spent on eDiscovery. That’s a great deal and a compelling argument for spending a little bit more on a good, standalone ECA tool. 
  • Automation is not enough- If you want to increase the productivity of your team and skip the all-nighters monitoring your processing software, choose a tool with intelligent error handling, built-in workflows, and autonomous reviews. 
  • Optimize what you have and replace what’s not working - If you have already invested in a datacenter and have unlimited access to compute, storage, and networking, as well as the people to manage it for you, find a great on-premise solution. If you don’t want to burden your IT with requests for additional hardware, software and maintenance, and pay for only what you use, choose a cloud solution. The best option is a vendor that gives you both. Start quickly in the cloud and migrate to on-premise deployment when you need it. Choose a vendor with a modern, AI-powered eDiscovery software and a flexible licensing model. 

Final Take

Corporations, law firms and legal service providers are empowered to be their most successful when deploying a unified and holistic eDiscovery solution. Utilizing a single, modern, automated and elastic platform helps you accomplish your goals and reach your potential.

 Want to learn how Venio can help? Contact us today to schedule a demo

We hope to see you next year at Legalweek 2023 in New York City, March 20-23!