With more than one-third of 2020 behind us, COVID-19 has almost certainly clinched the award for top disaster of the year. Nuclear conflagration, or perhaps a fall release of C0VID-19’s version 2.0 (second wave), are likely the only things that could usurp this plague from its top seed placement.   

Needless to say, but the virus has negatively infected all parameters of human life worldwide, whether on a health, economic, or cultural basis. And this includes the business of ediscovery, as evidenced most recently by the release of results from the spring eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey. Interestingly though, results did not paint a Hieronymus Bosch-style ediscovery hellscape, and even suggested some optimism. As noted by survey sponsor, ComplexDiscovery, even though the results show the impact of COVID-19 on the demand for ediscovery business, “results also paint a picture of the resilience and optimism of the people and providers of the eDiscovery ecosystem.”

Survey Says….

Asked to rate the current general business conditions for ediscovery, 68.6% rated it good or normal, a 22.5 percentage point decrease from respondents answering the question during the previous quarter’s survey. Just over 31% of respondents rated the conditions as “bad,” an increase of 22.5 percentage points from the 8.9% who felt that way in the last survey. In both surveys, respondents rating conditions as normal were about the same, at just over 41%.  

Think about that for a minute. While the decline in optimistic sentiment is noticeable, it’s far from being a disastrous free fall, and certainly suggests resilience and optimism in the ediscovery community. A similar survey question targeting, say, restaurant owners, would likely show a 99.9% gain in the B-A-D—bad negative sentiment. “Normal” or “Good” sentiment? Hah!

And, really, extreme declines in positive sentiment would likely be found in similar surveys targeting most sectors of the economy. Perhaps the only increases in positive sentiment in such theoretical surveys would be found with those targeting funeral homes and the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry. 

Other Positive Takeaways     

With regard to six-month outlook, 37.8% of respondents thought ediscovery business conditions would be better, and 39.5% thought they would be the same. This marked a respective 6- and 13.9-percentage point decrease from the previous quarter’s survey. Those believing that ediscovery business conditions will be worse in six months climbed from 2.7% in the previous survey to 22.7% in the current one. 

Again, the lack of extreme increases in negative sentiment can be considered a positive, given that the world’s economy has essentially been shuttered. 

eDiscovery an Essential Service

But hey, the law is the law and while a pandemic may perhaps slow the gears of legal actions, they will continue to move and thus require the continued processing of discovery and ediscovery. In short, ediscovery is an essential service, and demand for ediscovery remains.

And, as noted in Now Discovery’s March 31st blog, “eDiscovery doesn’t’ have to stop just because you’re sheltering in place.” Now Discovery’s Lumix makes this possible. You can learn more and even try out Lumix for free while self-isolating at home.  

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