As the new year begins, it’s time for eDiscovery counsel to take stock and make resolutions for the coming year. A recent article from Jared Coseglia, the founder and president of TRU Staffing Partners and co-founder of TRU Cyber, “E-Discovery Careers: 10 Notable Trends from the 2015 Year in Review,” highlights several trends that counsel and eDiscovery professionals should pay attention to as they form their professional strategies for 2016.

Here are three of the most significant:

1. Information Security:

In 2016, Coseglia predicts that eDiscovery will yield center stage to “security and compliance,” demanding that litigation support professionals develop a different set of skills involving cybersecurity. These managers may need to invest in additional education, such as professional certification programs.

2. Analytics:

Coseglia forecasts that analytics, particularly predictive coding, will play an increasing role in litigation over the next 10 years. Learning this niche now will position eDiscovery professionals for professional growth. Moreover, it will fill the gap in attorney technological competence required by the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and by many state ethics opinions and rules: at least 20 states now expect lawyers to demonstrate technical know-how or to associate with competent counsel or eDiscovery professionals.

3. eDiscovery Models:

Over the years, law firms have offered many varieties of eDiscovery support to their clients, but now they have narrowed the field to two primary options: fully in-house or managed services. Typically, large or boutique law firms offer a range of in-house eDiscovery services, while the rest delegate tasks such as “hosting, processing and production to the vendors.” The latter firms will still rely on in-house project managers to coordinate discovery tasks, but analyst roles will largely migrate to service providers. To remain competitive in the field, analysts will need to have “nuanced programming or data analytics experience involving NLP, Python, Hadoop, C++ or other highly specialized skills.”

Overall, Coseglia concludes that “[p]rospects are bright for ambitious and forward-thinking professionals and increasingly bleak for those comfortable with stagnation and routine.” Therefore, now is the time for eDiscovery counsel and professionals to inventory their skills and ensure they are equipped to tackle the sea change ahead in the industry.

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