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A Deeper Dive Into the 2022 State of the Industry Report

Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

Happy New Year everybody! I’m excited to be writing a weekly blog for IPRO again this year and they have been gracious to let me kick off the year discussing the 2022 State of the Industry Report that eDiscovery Today released earlier this week!

2022 State of the Industry Report

The report includes survey results regarding key trends of 281 legal industry professionals (with breakouts by corporate, law firm, service/software provider, and consultancy respondents) and observations from 29 key industry thought leaders regarding these trends (one of whom was Dean Brown, CEO of IPRO!). As an Educational Partner of eDiscovery Today, IPRO is one of the biggest supporters of the report (and eDiscovery Today as well)!

You can get a FREE copy of the full report simply by following eDiscovery Today via email and I covered the report at a high level here, which included a few high-level stats regarding the report.

Diving Deeper into the Report

Here are a couple of additional results I didn’t share in my eDiscovery Today post and Dean’s response to each of those topics:

Effect of the Pandemic on Remote Work: Last year, I simply asked how many people were working remotely during the pandemic, but I failed to account for those who were already doing so before. This year, I changed the question to capture those who were already working mostly remotely before the pandemic. As it turns out, more than four out of 10respondents (41.3%) were already working remotely before the pandemic! Add in another 48.7% who began working mostly remotely during the pandemic and you have 9 out of 10 respondents currently working remotely. Only 27.7% expect to go back to the office in a mostly full OR hybrid approach after the pandemic (along with the 8.9% who never left), so quite a bit of remote work is still the norm for many of us for the foreseeable future.

Dean’s response to my question about going back to the office is consistent with that finding: “I expect a hybrid environment to persist for the next 3 years. There are several factors influencing all markets, including the eDiscovery industry. First, with continuing uncertainty around COVID, a hybrid environment gives both customers and providers the most flexibility to maintain business continuity. Second, the war for talent has dramatically increased affecting salaries, position vacancies, and other factors. Remote or hybrid options are significant decision factors for many employees now and offering remote or hybrid roles is both an offensive and defensive strategy for employers to mitigate resignations and attract talent.”

In other words, smart employers will find a way to provide a working environment that supports their employees, regardless of where they are located. Adaptability is paramount in this unpredictable environment.

In-Person Legal Technology Conferences: I also changed this question from last year to gauge interest in going back to in-person conferences (last year, the question was about remote conferences). More than 7 out of 10 of respondents (70.4%) expect to attend at least one conference in 2022, with another 17.1% at least “on the fence” about attending one. While the Omicron variant of COVID is spreading at a rate much higher than previous strains, impacting conference schedules (including Legalweek, which was just rescheduled to March) and affecting millions (including me), it’s clear that respondents want to get back to in-person legal technology conferences in some form.

Dean’s response to the question regarding in-person technology conferences reflects the desire for people to return to meeting in-person, even if not necessarily how they have traditionally done so: “People are hungry to collaborate and meet in person. However, even before the pandemic, several industry events were struggling to add the proper value for attendees, and many were seeing shrinking attendance year over year. Thus, looking forward, I expect a continuing consolidation of large in-person events, but foresee a resurgence in regional or ‘boutique,’ highly focused, events targeted to drive value for specific industries, personas, needs and use cases.”

In other words, in-person events will likely evolve, as they have needed to do so since well before the pandemic.

Conclusion

Hopefully, that gives you a deeper dive into the report and Dean’s insights into a couple of very important topics. But there are six additional topics that were covered in the State of the Industry Report and Dean had excellent insights into those topics as well! Not to mention that, for each topic, the results are broken down by Law Firm, Software/Service Provider, Consultancy and Corporation respondents – each group with a little bit of a different take and experience on each topic.

You don’t expect me to give you all the results, do you?!? Follow eDiscovery Today via email to get the full report and the rest of the results (including insights from Dean and 28 other thought leaders too)!

And for more educational topics from me related to eDiscovery, information governance, cybersecurity and data privacy, feel free to follow my blog, eDiscovery Today!