As Gen AI Takes Hold, Law Firms Reassess E-Discovery Tools

This article has been saved to your Favorites!
In addition to cost and usability, law firms are adding generative artificial intelligence to the checklist of things to consider when evaluating current and new e-discovery platforms.

Experts say that early adopters are now evaluating generative AI-infused e-discovery products to gain an upper hand.

Cheryl Wilson Griffin, the CEO of Legal Tech Consultants LLC, told Law360 Pulse that she has been engaged in several discussions with e-discovery professionals at all levels across the market about how they're preparing for AI to enter and ultimately become ubiquitous in the space.

According to Griffin, these professionals are evaluating generative AI options from startups and legacy vendors.

"The timeline for these folks is to start using new AI review tools on active cases more routinely in 2025 and to have a playbook operating in 2026," Griffin wrote to Law360 Pulse. "Based on where I know the tech to be, this is an achievable timeline so long as the courts or government do not place undue obstacles in the way."

In the e-discovery sphere, experts say that generative AI can be used to speed up document review, which would slash e-discovery costs and project times.

According to Griffin, early adopters of generative AI include organizations that currently spend a lot of resources on manual review for discovery projects, including internal corporate law departments and contract attorneys. Firms that engage in areas such as mass tort, serial litigation or product liability will also likely evaluate generative AI tools sooner rather than later.

Organizations with good privacy and security policies may also have an advantage in onboarding new technology quickly.

More importantly, Griffin notes that organizations that get value from making discovery more efficient will aim to adopt this new technology.

"Whether they're using alternative billing arrangements, or are trying to compete on price, or are trying to reduce expenses, they must believe that making a foundational change to their eDiscovery process before anyone else does — before pricing models or workflows are standardized — has a significant and tangible benefit," Griffin wrote.

More e-discovery vendors are embracing this technology by adding generative AI-enabled capabilities to their platforms. Some have made these features already fully available for all users and others are still in beta testing with hopes of rolling out those features later this year.

"These vendors are weaving GenAI into their offerings, a move that's leading to additional pricing models for the activation and utilization of this advanced technology," Lourdes M. Fuentes, founder of the law firm management consulting firm Karta Legal, wrote to Law360 Pulse. "This evolution is likely to accelerate, with the market witnessing substantial investments in research and development (R&D) and marketing efforts by e-discovery vendors."

Fuentes adds that vendors with established reputations and trusted products are well-positioned to market generative AI innovations to legal purchasers.

"We're observing a transition towards vendors who serve not merely as niche e-discovery solutions but as comprehensive, holistic technology partners," Fuentes wrote.

Challenges and Potential Benefits

Some challenges remain before generative AI can be used in e-discovery. Experts cite several potential pitfalls, including client confidentiality concerns and the lack of universal prompt engineering requirements. There is also concern that the current slate of generative AI tools cannot process the large data volumes that are sometimes part of e-discovery.

However, some firms are adopting new e-discovery tools with generative AI features in the works because they see the potential benefits.

Holland & Knight LLP recently augmented its e-discovery toolbox, which already includes Relativity, with the addition of the cloud-based software Everlaw in January. While both tools allow Holland & Knight to diversify its tech stack, it also empowered the firm to consider the possibility of generative AI.

Everlaw is working on an AI tool called EverlawAI Assistant, which could be out later this year. Relativity has a generative AI tool called Relativity aiR for Review that is currently available on a limited basis.

Manfred Gabriel, a partner at Holland & Knight who leads the firm's legal support services organization, said that the firm is focused on the technical and workflow processes by which these generative AI-enabled tools could potentially be used in e-discovery.

"We're really excited and curious about what methods we're going to come up with to take some of the burden and expense out of large document review projects for our clients in the future," Gabriel said.

Holland & Knight hopes that the new technology could solve a growing problem in e-discovery.

Law firms have witnessed an explosive growth of data volumes over the past few years. While the amount of data that clients generate for litigation has increased, experts say that this growth has not evenly matched the ability of law firms to absorb that information.

Gabriel said that it used to be that a small team of lawyers could review and absorb all the information relevant to a litigation matter to make decisions about presenting evidence. However, extreme data volumes mean that is no longer possible, resulting in firms turning to online repositories from vendors such as Relativity and Everlaw to handle the process.

The hope is that new developments in generative AI could potentially return to the law firms the ability to control the process of fact development internally. This would benefit both the firms and clients, according to Gabriel.

"We're at the beginning of a realignment where our ability to absorb information is finally catching up with our ability to generate information in the enterprise," Gabriel said. "This will also have the ancillary benefit for our clients, that they know that they will pay us for the value we provide to the litigation rather than for just performing technical tasks that compensate for this gap between our ability to generate information and absorb information."

--Editing by Nicole Bleier.

For a reprint of this article, please contact



Law360 Law360 UK Law360 Tax Authority Law360 Employment Authority Law360 Insurance Authority Law360 Real Estate Authority Law360 Healthcare Authority Law360 Bankruptcy Authority


Social Impact Leaders Prestige Leaders Pulse Leaderboard Women in Law Report Law360 400 Diversity Snapshot Rising Stars Summer Associates

National Sections

Modern Lawyer Courts Daily Litigation In-House Mid-Law Legal Tech Small Law Insights

Regional Sections

California Pulse Connecticut Pulse DC Pulse Delaware Pulse Florida Pulse Georgia Pulse New Jersey Pulse New York Pulse Pennsylvania Pulse Texas Pulse

Site Menu

Subscribe Advanced Search About Contact