The results of the 2011 Benchmarking Study of Electronic Discovery Practices for Government Agencies Survey have been released, showing that government agencies continue to face increased workload while moving more work in-house. Almost 45 percent of projects are now handled in-house, while more than 30 percent of respondents reported that their electronic discovery burden grew “exponentially” in the past year. At the same time, budget concerns seems to be diminishing, with only 15 percent of respondents reporting budgeting as a “top concern” and confidence seems to be increasing, with 60 percent reporting they are more able to respond to electronic discovery challenges.
IE Discovery commissioned the study, which this year included 75 government attorneys, records management, paralegals, FOIA and information technology (IT) personnel from government agencies. “It is encouraging to see the growth in dedicated electronic discovery staff as well as in the knowledge base of these professionals. With this as a foundation, along with continued recognition of the issues from management, these professionals will be better poised for success,” said Chris May, CEO of IE Discovery. “Of course, there are challenges as work is moved to the cloud and benefits to be realized from improvements in technology use.”
Survey highlights include:
• Agencies continue to face budget constraints, but it is less of a concern than last year. This year, 15 percent report budgeting as a top concern, down from 30 percent last year. The top concern is now making existing systems and processes work.
• Attorneys are more experienced and confident in their ability to manage electronic discovery. 60 percent of the respondents say they have more electronic discovery experience than just one year ago and are more confident in their ability to respond to electronic discovery challenges.
• Management and IT understand and support the needs of electronic discovery attorneys. Over 70 percent say that they have a working relationship with their IT departments. Only 13 percent feel that getting buy-in from management is a top concern.
• Government lawyers are handling discovery workloads themselves. Almost 45 percent of electronic discovery projects are handled in-house; only 20 percent of the work is outsourced.
• Litigation hold and collection processes remain manual. Government agencies have no standard approach to impose and manage litigation holds, and rely mainly on labor-intensive manual processes.
• More big cases. More than 30 percent say that their electronic discovery burden grew exponentially in the past year.
• Agencies are adopting cloud computing platforms. For the first time, agencies report moving data to the cloud.
The 2011 Benchmarking Study of Electronic Discovery Practices for Government Agencies is part of IE Discovery’s ongoing efforts to provide information and expertise to government discovery professionals. That initiative also includes the company’s annual Symposium for Government Agencies, which will take place on May 10, 2012.
For additional information about the survey or the symposium, please contact IE Discovery Government Programs at 703-527-2700 x3035.
About IE Discovery, Inc.
IE Discovery provides comprehensive litigation support and discovery management services to government agencies, corporate law departments and outside counsel who routinely manage complex, information–intensive litigation. Utilizing technological and legal expertise, IE Discovery helps clients improve their productivity and cost efficiency. IE Discovery is based in Austin, Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, CA, Columbia, SC, and Washington, D.C.