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A look back on the last 10 years of eDiscovery

24 May 2019 | Kimberley Davies

Six months since launching Luminance Discovery, Kimberley Davies, Head of Discovery, discusses trends in the sector and why Luminance is helping to revitalise a stale eDiscovery market.

Since launching in 2016, building technology that is simple to use has always been central to our approach at Luminance. Technology in the workplace should be no more complicated than your smartphone. Expanding from due diligence to investigations last year was initially a challenge, as the diverse eDiscovery ecosystem suggested litigators were well-versed with technology, using it in their daily work and therefore receptive to Luminance’s new platform. Luminance Discovery’s fast, simple and cost-effective messaging was initially met with scepticism until they had real-life experience using it, and it’s clear looking at the last ten years of eDiscovery technology, why that is.

The past decade of eDiscovery has been a hive of activity, with a multitude of vendors releasing software to address, or adapt to, new processes and evolving data types. At their core, eDiscovery solutions are designed to help cut through vast volumes of information more efficiently in order to give the best possible advice; even the earliest iterations brought unprecedented time savings compared to a manual review. The eDiscovery companies that now dominate the industry were still in their infancy 10 years ago, but had already begun to develop the core functionality of deduplication, clustering of different data types and email threading. These significantly improved the discovery process, and as technologies have become more advanced, the eDiscovery infrastructure in many organisations has become equally complex, sometimes forcing legal professionals to focus more on learning and navigating elaborate processes than the outcome for the client or business.

eDiscovery is undeniably a well-developed market with many bright people, good providers and some great technology. Nevertheless, an extraordinary amount of requisite systems expertise and expenditure of resources have become the norm to use the most basic functions. In many cases, such complexity is simply not necessary. I met a senior partner of an AM Law Top 50 firm last week, who walked us back through his career from his first word processor to the cutting-edge technologies he uses today. Unlike the other areas of his practice where he uses technology daily, he described becoming increasingly removed from eDiscovery as he did not have the extensive technical experience that is now necessary to use many eDiscovery products, describing himself as ‘just a lawyer’. This trend isn’t exclusive to partner level or to a single jurisdiction. An associate I met at a top London firm described the firm’s usual process for competition investigation; sending an email with his required search parameters then having to await a response from a specialist up to a day later to tell him the number of hits and often becoming engaged in lengthy email exchanges to get the information he needed. The firm is using advanced technology, but it didn’t benefit the associate or client because the internal process was so time-consuming. He was stunned when we showed him how easy it was to run the same searches in Luminance in comparison to his firm’s overengineered processes that forced such a reliance on third parties. He believed it was impossible to get instant hits on complex search strings until he tried it in Luminance for himself.

In the year since launching Discovery, we have worked with many lawyers, eDiscovery specialists and clients who have been alienated by onerous processes and products, those who have been burned by legacy software and some who have never used technology for investigations before. It’s been great to see organisations intuitively use and get value from Luminance Discovery from day one. We’ve had to reset the expectations of eDiscovery software; organisations should not be accepting clunky, unreliable products as the norm. There’s no reason investigations tools should be complex to use or require extensive training, they should simply fit seamlessly into logical work processes. Luminance Discovery purposely doesn’t fit the mould. Our fast, simple and cost-effective solution is one of the clearest signs of progress in years.

Luminance Discovery closes the chapter of technology that hinders as much as it helps. This is now an era of technologies that are advanced enough to make eDiscovery simple. We’re so confident in the seamless, efficient way Luminance Discovery supports legal professionals during investigations, we offer a free trial to organisations so they can experience for themselves what the future of eDiscovery looks like.