Self-Service eDiscovery: Top 3 Technical Pitfalls to Avoid

May 21, 2021




Whether it’s called DIY eDiscovery, SaaS eDiscovery, or self-service eDiscovery, one thing is clear—everyone in the legal world is interested in putting today’s technologies to work for them to get more done with less. It’s a smart move, given that many legal teams are facing an imbalance between needs and resources. As in-house legal budgets are being slashed, actual workloads are increasing.

Self-service eDiscovery Pitfalls

Now more than ever, legal teams need to ensure they’re choosing and using the right tools to effectively manage dynamic caseloads—a future-ready solution capable of supporting a broad range of case types at scale. Given the variety of options on the market, it’s understandable there’s some uncertainty about what to pursue, let alone what to avoid. Below, I have outlined guidance to help your legal team navigate the top three potential pitfalls encountered when seeking a self-service eDiscovery solution.

1. Easy vs. Powerful

There are a lot of eDiscovery solutions out there making bold promises, but many still force users to choose between ease of use and full functionality. While a platform may be simple to learn and navigate, it may fail to offer advanced features like AI-driven analysis and search, for example.

Think of it like the early days of cell phones, when we were forced to choose between a classic brick-style device or a new-to-market smartphone. Older phones were easy to use, offering familiar capabilities like calling and text exchange, while newer smartphones provided impressive, previously unknown functionalities but came with a learning curve. With the advancement of technology, today’s device buyers can truly have it all at hand—a feature-rich mobile phone delivered in an intuitive user experience.

The same is true for dynamic eDiscovery solutions. You shouldn’t have to choose between power and simplicity. Any solution your team considers should be capable of delivering best-in-class technology over one simple, single-pane interface.

2. Short-Term Thinking vs. Long-Term Gains

As organizations move to the seemingly unlimited data storage capacities of cloud-based platforms and tools, legal teams are facing a landslide of data. Even the smallest internal investigation may now involve hundreds of thousands of documents. And with remote working being the new global norm, this trend will only continue to grow. Legal teams require eDiscovery tools that are capable of scaling to meet any data demand at every stage of the eDiscovery process.

When evaluating an eDiscovery solution, keep the future in mind. The solution you select should be capable of managing even the most complex case using AI and advanced analytics—intelligent functionality that will allow your team to efficiently cull data and gain insights across a wide variety of cases. Newer AI technology can aggregate data collected in the past and analyze its use and coding in previous matters—information that can help your team make data-driven decisions about which custodians and data sources contain relevant information before collection. It also offers the ability to re-use past attorney work product, allowing you to save valuable time by immediately identifying junk data, attorney-client privilege, and other sensitive information.

3. Innovation vs. Upkeep

Thanks to the DIY eDiscovery revolution, your organization no longer has to devote budget and IT resources to upkeeping a myriad of hardware and software licenses or building a data security program to support that technology. Seek a trusted solution provider that can take on that burden with development and security programs (with the requisite certifications and attestations to prove it). This should include routine technology assessment and testing, as well as using an approach that doesn’t disrupt your ongoing work.

As you’re asked to do more with less, the right cloud-based eDiscovery platform can ensure your team is able to meet the challenge. By avoiding the above pitfalls, you’ll end up with a solution that’s able to stand up against today’s most complex caseloads, with powerful features designed to improve workflow efficiency, provide valuable insights, and support more effective eDiscovery outcomes.

If you’re interested in moving to a DIY eDiscovery solution, check out my previous blog series on self-service eDiscovery for corporations, including how to select a self-service eDiscovery platform, tips for self-service eDiscovery implementation, and how self-service eDiscovery can make in-house counsel life easier.  

About the Author


Lighthouse is a global leader in eDiscovery and information governance solutions to manage the increasingly complex landscape of enterprise data for compliance and legal teams. Since our inception as a local document copy shop in 1995, Lighthouse has evolved with the legal technology landscape, anticipating the trends that shape legal practices, information management, and complex eDiscovery. Whether reacting to incidents like litigation or governmental investigations or designing programs to proactively minimize the potential for future incidents, Lighthouse partners with multinational industry leaders, top global law firms, and the world’s leading software provider as a channel partner.