May 13, 2016 - Comments Off on EDiscovery, Change, and its Importance to Recruitment

EDiscovery, Change, and its Importance to Recruitment

It is safe to say that the recruitment industry has a fear of change, with an apparent desire to continue along the same fruitless road of posting LinkedIn adverts, cold calling, or CV spamming. Since transitioning from the public sector to commercial recruitment, I have been surprised by the reluctance of some consultants and firms to embrace the new “paradigm” in executive search recruitment, which values market knowledge, technical understanding, and ironclad client and candidate relationships. I’m glad to say that here at Milburn Lewis we have taken a proactive approach, grasping at the inevitable change of our industry. We are, however, part of a small group within the recruitment industry, which can only bode well for our future.

These issues are not unique to recruitment, one industry that has been reluctant to embrace change is eDiscovery. Over the past twelve months, Milburn Lewis has been doing a great deal of work in this area with our Big 4 clients around the globe. We believe that there is much to learn about our own industry from this incredibly interesting, changing, and lucrative business.

What is eDiscovery?

Electronic discovery (sometimes known as eDisclosure) is the process of identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information with the intent of it being used as evidence in either a civil or criminal legal case.

In legal terms, discovery refers to the part of the pre-trial litigation process during which each part requests relevant information and documents from the other side in an attempt to “discover” pertinent facts. In the days prior to the Internet this often involved individuals combing through thousands of documents manually, which was timely, expensive, and ultimately unreliable.

With the dawn of the internet age businesses, governments, and individuals began digitising records. This resulted in the birth of eDiscovery, which brought with it the benefits of increasing accuracy and productivity. However, as we’ve entered the era of “Big Data” when even mid-sized companies can possess inconceivable amounts of data, there has been a qualitative shift in the application of eDiscovery and the professionals who execute it.

eDiscovery and the reluctance to embrace change

Technology is pervasive, inescapable, and changing the way the world does business. In recruitment, it manifests itself in the form of Invenias, Bullhorn, or a myriad of other programmes, which are often approached with reluctance and scepticism by consultants but ultimately are designed to optimise processes, improve client and candidate relations, and generally make our lives easier.

Similarly, lawyers don’t have the best reputation when it comes to having the ability to adapt to new market realities, and are often stereotyped as being beholden to the traditions of practice. The law profession also has a relatively small group who recognise the need to embrace the new realities of eDiscovery and the complexities inherent in dealing with Big Data. Armed with algorithms, coding, and computer programmes; these are the professionals who are at the forefront of improving their practice.

The majority, however, still approach eDiscovery and Big Data as the proverbial “hot potato”, one that can have serious implications across legal departments and is therefore something that should be outsourced, rather than embraced within the legal profession. It is considered to be too complex, too expensive, and, ultimately, outside of the remit of legal professionals.

The role of the Big 4 in eDiscovery and what it means for recruiters

Given the reluctance within the legal profession to embrace eDiscovery and the complexities associated with Big Data, we have observed significant investment by the global Big 4 firms in developing robust eDiscovery practices and teams, which means that it has been and will continue to be a potentially lucrative industry for executive search recruiters.

Big Data is here to stay and, like Cyber Security, recruiters must recognise that “business as usual” won’t cut it in such a competitive and complex industry. Given its very nature, eDiscovery is the now and will be the future, and we must equip ourselves to ensure that we have the know-how to meet the inevitable demand for candidates.

We as recruiters must fully engage with the industry, making a serious and honest attempt to understand the challenges and developments facing our clients. If recruiters are able to recognise and understand that there are significant changes taking place in review techniques and document production, they will be better placed to source candidates who are able to respond to these changes and become real assets to our clients.

The bottom line: embrace the change

The bottom line is this: recruiters must harness the inevitable change. The future of eDiscovery, and indeed eDiscovery recruitment, will belong to those who think outside of the box, who work smarter, and recognise that technology brings with it challenges but also great rewards.

If you would like to find out more or have a discussion about this piece, please get in touch with Darren Reid at or on +44 0131 510 532

Published by: Ian James in Blogs

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