eDiscoveryDaily

Learnings from ALM/Law.com Legalweek 2024: Six Key Takeaways

This was not the same old Legalweek, or “LegalTech New York,” as the conference was referred to in years past.

With over 6,000 registered attendees and 37% being first timers, the high level of excitement generated by participants about being in person with peers was palpable in the sessions and events held. There was also a greater embracing of new ways of getting legal done, with can’t-be-ignored tech like GenAI, data management and handling the ever-growing modern data in discovery cracking open the remaining closed doors to innovation for law firms, government and corporate teams alike. The once taboo topic of sexual harassment in our industry also came roaring to the surface.

We narrowed down our many Legalweek 2024 learnings to six key takeaways.

1. Drive change (and get what you want) with a “how can I help” attitude

Actor Bryan Cranston, famous for his role in the AMC series Breaking Bad and previously played a lawyer on Matlock and the Andy Griffith Show, spoke on breaking boundaries. In addition to talking about the importance of perseverance to be successful in any endeavor, he also advised to approach something you want with the perspective of how you can help. To get what you want from an audition, a job interview or, in the case of many legal industry changemakers, implementing change. “…present yourself as a gift…and put into energy solving someone’s problem,” he said.

2. Take advantage of how technology is levelling the playing field

Technology has broken barriers and created greater access to opportunities in other fields for years: education, healthcare, etc. At this year’s State of the Industry report overview delivered by ALM’s Heather Nevitt and Patrick Fuller, this concept was brought up on how tech is helping mid-sized law firms compete with bigger firms. “Size used to matter”, said Nevitt, but now, with technology including AI, “…it will no longer be that the big that eat the small, but the fast that eat the slow.”

This notion of technology helping individuals and organizations get ahead played out in other sessions, including one on the Future State of the industry. Marcy Cohen, Chief Legal Officer of ING Americas, said that she would consider using a mid-sized firm. “A nimbler (tech forward) firm can jump in that does not have an army of associates, as long as they have subject matter expertise,” she explained.

When it comes to advancing careers, technology also plays a part. In the same session, panelists discussed how technology allows teams to bring work in-house and for senior lawyers to focus on impactful work instead of reviewing NDAs. On the topic of women and law, the concept of using technology plus having data on results being a career accelerator was discussed. Rachel Zahorsky, VP of Client Engagement at Harbor Global, explained that her ability to show numbers behind a tech implementation and having someone advocate for her helped her to get her current job. “Two men who were mentors and who knew what I could do said my name in the room when I wasn’t there.” She encouraged especially the men in the room to do the same: “When we’re not there, say our names. And we will support you. And we will rise together.”

3. Have a plan for dealing with modern data in discovery

In a thought leadership session hosted by CloudNine and our managed review partner, Integreon, the growing challenge of dealing with “modern data” like texts, chat and social media data was covered by a panel of eDiscovery experts, including Manfred Gabriel, Partner and Senior Counsel of eDiscovery at Holland & Knight, Kevin Bannon, Head of CMS Evidence, and Matt Rasmussen, Founder and CEO, ModeOne. Clare Chalkley, VP of legal services at Integreon disclosed the stats from the 2024 State of the Industry report by eDiscovery Today/Doug Austin. Survey respondents stated that over 40%, most or all their cases involve discovery of data from mobile devices, with 38% of these cases involving collaboration data from apps like Slack, Teams, WhatsApp, etc.

Gabriel highlighted the importance of questioning custodians on all communications channels they use, since we all are using alternatives to email with greater frequency, with texting leading the list.

Other tips shared included:

  • Even if someone says they deleted messages, they can be found. You just need to ask them to name all they communicated with and rebuild conversations from their devices
  • If an organization is using Google docs, it will have a downstream impact on how you preserve and review data
  • You need a solid ECA process in place to minimize the teams of data
  • Determine your ESI protocol upfront regarding attachments, whether they are included in emails, or texts or chat app/social media data (there are several cases which tie to this learning, such as Noom v. Nichols in which the opposing party said they would not produce linked documents. The court endorsed this stance.)

Rick Clark, VP of Strategic Partnerships at CloudNine concluded the session by saying that there is now technology allowing you to deal with modern data content efficiently and treat it like data, not documents. If you are interested in learning more about our solution for handling modern data, CloudNine Analyst, which won for Best Emerging Technology in the Legalweek Leaders in Tech Law award program last week, book time with us for a brief demo.

4. Think business first when it comes to AI adoption

The many sessions on AI hit on the topics of accuracy, ability to explain outcomes, data security and change management. Another important subject was identifying business use cases. In a session on the practical implications of generative AI for law firms, panelists from Sheppard Mullin, DLA Piper and O’Melveny & Myers discussed the importance of finding business use cases that will be easy to implement and yield measurable time and cost savings results, such as any work involving summarization, translation, analysis, drafting or custom “ChatGPTs”.

In the Future State of the Industry discussion, Liz Lugones, COO of Uplevel Ops talked about how some corporate lawyers and General Counsels simply get a request from above to use AI. Her question when asked to help is “for what?” She goes back to the human factor and asks what they want AI to enable for their team, and what they want to enable to support their business, and then start from those use cases to identify how to apply AI.

5. Lead the charge against cyber data threats

Today, legal has the opportunity to take command of an organization’s efforts to combat cyber threats, rather than be the one called in after an incident to help deal with the aftermath. In a session called “Improving Your Security Posture and Reducing Cyber Risk”, the idea of attorneys working closely with a Chief Information Officer in protecting an organization against cyber theft was discussed. Dondi West, Assistant General Counsel at GSK, said he likes to be brought in at the start of a date security improvement program and wants to be collaborative with IT. Often it’s legal that is aware of security frameworks that are “whale tested,” and have a good sense of what works and what does not.

Having counsel involved early also makes sense when legal charges brought against companies who have a breach are considered, In the case of cyber incidents with Uber and Solar Winds, criminal charges were brought against the company and individual corporate leaders. It makes sense to have the team whose primary responsibility is to protect the company against reputational harm be working collaboratively with IT and information security leadership from the start.

Additional pointers shared by West and other panelists like Emily Garnett, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and Deb Bitzan, Senior Product Manager, Aware, include:

  • Look at established security frameworks like SOC II to see what baseline actions are needed to protect against cyber theft
  • Make sure your cyber insurance includes business interruption loss coverage
  • The weakest link in an organization is those of computers. Put social engineering/phishing training in place for all employees; aim to get the collective “click” rate on planted phishing emails below 5%
  • Make sure your third-party tech providers have the basics in place: for example, end point security and multifactor authentication
  • When it comes to incident response planning, timing and context matter. Bring in an outside consultant to help you create a plan for all scenarios and actions, including what happens if your organization is attacked on a weekend or holiday

6. Stand united against sexual harassment

The wave of sexual harassment reports from conference attendees this year was shocking and disheartening. Sexual harassment is a problem that permeates every industry but for the most part, has not been discussed widely in legal technology public forums like LinkedIn and podcasts. The floodgates have opened, the stories are out and the unison of voices stating outrage and demanding action is deafening. We agree with Kassi Burns, who concluded her podcast created post conference with these words: “I hope this painful moment leads to progress.”

Now is the time to stand together to identify and put into action policies to prevent sexual harassment from occurring not only in conferences, but in workplaces too. At CloudNine, we are proud of our heritage and culture of professionalism and approaching others and each other with respect. Even so, we’re working this week on updating our policies to ensure we continue to hire the right people and provide guardrails for CloudNine employees attending social events and for their day-to-day interactions.

We also support the #Splash pledge started by Marla Crawford at Cimplifi this week, and will, as an organization and as individual members of the LegalTech community, work together to help all of LegalTech #BeBetter together.”

About the author:

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 9+ years.

 

Tackling Large-Scale Review Efficiently: Tips from a GC (On-Demand Webinar)

By Rick Clark

Last week CloudNine and Integreon discussed a recent audit with tight deadlines with Louis (Lou) Brucculeri, EVP and General Counsel at West Technology Group.

West Technology Group, a global technology company with a portfolio of brands with disparate systems and processes, initiated a significant internal audit. Early on they recognized that they needed experienced help and engaged CloudNine for support in managing nearly 100,000 documents within an unexpectedly tight timeframe. Initially envisioned as a routine project, the scope expanded, revealing hundreds of GBs of data that demanded thorough review within just 10 days. The data needed to be collected, processed, hosted, reviewed, and produced within this tight timeframe.

The synergy between technology and review teams facilitated a seamless process, accomplishing all aspects of data processing, hosting, review, and reporting in an astonishingly brief seven-day timeframe rather than all 10 days allotted. In this 30-minute, on-demand webinar, you will learn how a team of reviewers successfully navigated through thousands of documents, exceeding expectations by completing the task well within the allotted time, through having the right processes and communications in place.

Download the webinar to learn more.

About the Authors

Rick Clark is VP, Strategic Partnerships at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in forensics and eDiscovery. Focused on innovation and education, he co-founded ESI Analyst, now CloudNine Analyst, as well as Wave Software and the Master’s Conference.

Six eDiscovery Trends for 2024

By Rick Clark and Jacob Hesse

2023 was an eventful year in the world of legal technology, with new technology emerging to address both traditional and new challenges legal teams face when collecting, processing, and reviewing data for litigation, investigations, or public access requests.

What will 2024 hold, especially in the world of eDiscovery? We’ve captured the top trends for the year based on the conversations we’ve had in recent months with customers and industry experts. Here are six themes we predict will be most prevalent in the year ahead.

Early Case Assessment (ECA) Will Take Hold

ECA is certainly not new, but its use will accelerate significantly in the year ahead. Automation and advanced analytics, including machine learning, smart filtering, and integration with predictive coding technology will continue to grow. This integration will enable more precise identification of key documents and information, giving practitioners a clearer understanding of the case early on and influencing the speed to litigation, settlement, or other strategic decisions.

Efficiency and cost control are two of ECA’s leading values, with enhanced data volume management and fewer documents to review with human eyes. Advances in early case assessment technology are making it more accessible, with valuable insights into case details such as key issues, custodians, and document types.

Role of AI Will Rise

Generative artificial intelligence promises to transform the legal community by enabling more data interrogation during discovery. This may change the roles of legal professionals by automating certain tasks, such as drafting and summarizing documents.

As AI becomes more prevalent, issues such as the misuse of AI (such as with “deep fake” images and video”) will be prominent. Generative AI will also be a challenge when verifying research and determining whether information created by AI is credible, or a “hallucination.”

Artificial intelligence may be a technological boost in support of access to justice and assisting legal aid providers looking for increased efficiency at low cost.

Data Privacy Restrictions Will Increase

With the growing awareness and importance of data privacy, governments and corporations will encounter more stringent regulations globally. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an early example of this. Projects in eDiscovery will need to be ever more careful about the collection and handling of personal data. This may be especially true for data that crosses national borders.

Laws within nations are evolving as well. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and others are emerging that will require the eDiscovery industry to adapt. Legal teams and eDiscovery experts will need to be aware of the region that data is collected from and ongoing changes in the legal landscape to maintain compliance.

Privacy concerns and the explosion of data volumes over time are influencing organizations to focus on data minimization. Companies are implementing strict data retention policies to reduce the risk of data breaches and ensure compliance with laws and consumer expectations.

SaaS and Cloud-based eDiscovery Solutions Will Become Mainstream

The argument for cloud-based solutions for eDiscovery has never been stronger. Cloud-based eDiscovery solutions offer lower upfront costs compared to solutions that are on-premise and often operate on a subscription model, which can be more economical than investing in extensive hardware and software. Since the cloud provider manages the IT infrastructure, there is a reduced burden on a customer’s IT department in terms of maintenance, security, and updates.

Cloud-based eDiscovery solutions also often offer customizable options that can be tailored to specific needs. Those with DIY options along with professional services can offer great flexibility and scalability. Professional services teams can accelerate a client’s access to important facts and data, without the client having to maintain full-time litigation technology support staff. Those customers who prefer to manage their own eDiscovery can still do so but can hand the work over to professional services team members if the size of the project becomes unwieldy.

SaaS solutions provide efficient data management and security capabilities that comply with legal and regulatory standards. Cloud providers usually offer advanced security technologies, processes, and certifications that might be too costly for individual organizations to adopt on their own.

Consensus on Handling Short Messages

By the end of 2024, we may see more consensus developing on how to collect and review short messages like Slack or Teams chats, text messages, and other mobile data. These modern data types are becoming increasingly important in legal disputes. Conversations no longer stay within one platform: they can meander from email to text messages to Teams, for example. The ability to thread messages between platforms will be an advantage for those seeking to derive an accurate and complete story from data.

Blockchain Use Will Expand in eDiscovery

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize eDiscovery in terms of data integrity and automating compliance. However, there are challenges to navigate given its decentralized nature. Blockchains can span multiple legal jurisdictions, so applying local laws about eDiscovery may be challenging since the technology operates globally. Courts and legal professionals will need to develop a better understanding of the technology and how it can be incorporated into eDiscovery processes.

Business use of blockchain technology continues to rise. This makes it inevitable that eDiscovery will need to be applied to it more often. eDiscovery professionals will need expertise in tracing and analyzing blockchain transactions, including cryptocurrency transactions.

Blockchain technology can add security to data, but it will also raise privacy concerns. Once information is placed in a blockchain, it is difficult to change or delete. This will be challenging in the face of privacy laws like GDPR, which gives people the right to be “forgotten.”

Smart contracts and automated compliance are possible with technology like blockchain, where the terms of the contract can be written directly into computer code and help automate eDiscovery. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements can be built into code so that data retention and deletion policies are automatically enforced. Blockchain’s primary feature is the ability to maintain a secure record of transactions. For eDiscovery, this means better evidence integrity and easier defense of the authenticity of digital records.

Do you have an emerging eDiscovery challenge that you portend will only continue to grow? Contact us today to see how we can support your eDiscovery needs in 2024 with our cloud-based review platform, CloudNine Review, CloudNine Analyst, only eDiscovery solution that renders hard-to- manage modern data types in near native format, with timelines, or through one of our other technologies or services.

 

About the Authors

Rick Clark is VP, Strategic Partnerships at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in forensics and eDiscovery. Focused on innovation and education, he co-founded ESI Analyst, now CloudNine Analyst, as well as Wave Software and the Master’s Conference.

Jacob Hesse is VP, Professional Services at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in eDiscovery in both law firm and service provider environments. He most enjoys building collaboration and synergies within and between teams to achieve goals together.

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A 2023 Reflection: How the Modern Data Dilemma in eDiscovery is Now Getting Solved

By Rick Clark

It’s evident that the legal eDiscovery industry is undergoing significant transformation, driven by the ever-expanding data varieties, volumes, and the velocity in growth for varieties and volume, especially in the last year. (For instance, there are 20 million text/chat messages sent every minute. 1) The intersection of these three data Vs has not only posed unique challenges but has also paved the way for innovative solutions and a paradigm shift in how data is reviewed in the legal discovery process.

The Surge in Data Variety

One of the defining aspects of 2023 in the eDiscovery arena has been the explosion in data variety. With the proliferation of communication channels, collaboration platforms, and social media applications, legal professionals are grappling with an increasingly diverse range of data types. From traditional emails and documents to multimedia content and unstructured data generated by disparate communication options, the legal landscape now demands a more comprehensive approach to data review.

To address the addition of modern data, eDiscovery solutions have evolved to incorporate advanced native review workflows and artificial intelligence. With the largest challenge in deriving context from cross platform communications facing legal teams today, near native (looks like a document) renderings of communications allow teams to see conversations navigating between communications applications and tag each message with the proper tag.

Soaring Data Volumes and the Need for Efficiency

The continued growth in data volume has been a persistent challenge for the legal industry, and the increase in variety types has compounded the volume challenge. The sheer magnitude and variety of information generated by businesses and individuals has necessitated a reevaluation of eDiscovery workflows. Traditional methods of manual document review are no longer viable in the face of terabytes or even petabytes of data.

To tackle this issue, eDiscovery providers have embraced technologies such as near-native-driven review, machine learning, and automated workflows. These augmented platforms empower legal professionals to sift through vast datasets more efficiently, identifying relevant information with greater accuracy and speed. The emphasis is on streamlining processes to ensure that legal teams can focus their efforts on the most critical aspects of a case rather than being “stuck” in linear document review workflows.

Accelerating Data Velocity and Real-Time Challenges

The speed at which data is generated and disseminated has reached record levels, posing a unique set of challenges for the legal eDiscovery landscape. The need for real-time insights has become paramount, especially in cases where swift action is required. Data velocity requires that legal professionals adapt their strategies to keep pace with the dynamic nature of information.

In response to this, eDiscovery platforms are being designed with more efficient data collection processes in mind, that integrate into the already existing efficient review and analysis capabilities. This allows legal teams to download or collect data when it is needed, ensuring that they stay ahead of developments in legal processes. It also enables proactive decision-making with faster access to key conversations that can be found in Slack, Teams or other mobile communication applications.

The Paradigm Shift: Reviewing Data Differently

The confluence of data variety, volumes, and velocity has forced the legal eDiscovery industry to reevaluate traditional document review methods. The days of linear review processes and manual document examination are giving way to a more dynamic, technology-driven approach.

Legal professionals are increasingly relying on a combination of human expertise and advancing technologies. With 2023 being another year of hard lessons with modern data, technologists and legal teams are working together to create more seamless workflows that will make 2024 a better year for managing this data. The first step is looking at modern communications as data during an Early Case Assessment (ECA) or review phase and then documents for production purposes only; not the other way around.

In conclusion, the year 2023 has been a watershed moment for the legal eDiscovery industry when it comes to handling modern data. The challenges posed by data variety, volume, and velocity have catalyzed a transformation in how legal professionals approach the review process. The integration of advanced technologies has not only enhanced efficiency but has also positioned the industry to navigate the evolving data landscape with agility and better precision. As we step into 2024, the legal eDiscovery field is poised to continue its evolution, leveraging innovation to meet the demands of an ever-changing digital era. Find out how CloudNine can help you tackle emerging data challenges in eDiscovery with CloudNine Analyst, the only solution available today that can handle modern data in near-native format with timelines. Contact us for a brief consultation today.

1  Internet Minute Infographic by Ediscovery Today

Rick Clark is VP, Strategic Partnerships at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in forensics and eDiscovery. Focused on innovation and education, he co-founded ESI Analyst, now CloudNine Analyst, as well as Wave Software and the Master’s Conference.

eDiscovery Architecture, Engineering, and Construction - Man in Hard Hat

eDiscovery in AEC: Navigating Legal Complexities in 2023

In the realm of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC), legal challenges are inherent, as affirmed by construction litigator Jordan Nadel of Mark Migdal & Hayden. A recent Arcadis study highlights a 42% surge in construction lawsuits in North America from 2021 to 2022, attributing this spike to ongoing COVID-19 effects, supply chain woes, and escalating material costs.

Stakeholders in the AEC industry grapple with heightened expectations, emerging environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements, and disruptions from supply chain issues all impacted by climate change. These challenges necessitate a reevaluation of industry approaches.

To navigate the legal storm, AEC companies must meticulously document project activities, contracts, and communications. Liz Rancourt-Smith from Tilson underscores the importance of document management, labeling contracts and paperwork as the essential framework of construction projects.

Yet, maintaining clarity in an industry where standardization often stops at construction proves challenging. Disparate workflows and vast databases make legal discovery a potential nightmare.

Common legal cases in AEC encompass contract disputes, professional negligence claims, construction defects, insurance coverage disputes, delay claims, and regulatory violations. Proactive documentation and robust organizational workflows emerge as shields against impending legal complexities.

Fortunately, solutions exist for AEC’s vast challenges. Our white paper, “Laying a Solid Foundation: eDiscovery Must Haves in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry”, authored by attorney and innovation strategist Nadine Ezzie, delves into these challenges and their solutions, offering insights for both immediate and future needs.

Professional Services for eDiscovery – When is it Time to Ask for Help?

Software is meant to make our lives easier when it comes to eDiscovery. Automation, artificial intelligence, and advanced search and culling technologies have all reduced the need for hundreds of human hours reviewing documents.

Still, there is plenty of work to be done, and even “small” eDiscovery cases can be highly complex and time consuming. When you don’t have permanent resources on hand to take on these additional duties or if a surge in work strains a lean team, professional services can provide much needed additional support and expertise to your team.

Professional services can help by taking on some of the burdens of eDiscovery, from collections to processing, and from review to final productions. There are areas where a project manager or technical analyst could make your work faster and more effective:

  • Collection experts and technology analysts can formulate effective collect and search strategies more quickly and produce meaningful results more accurately, and in a defensible manner.
  • Project managers can look for hidden risks, unfinished tasks, and maintain a budget to control costs.
  • Analysts can run document productions and perform quality checks to ensure there are no errors or surprises before documents are turned over to opposing counsel.

While professional services staff assist you by taking on these responsibilities and more, your time can be reserved for critical case management, client service tasks and client relationship building, all important activities critical to your business success.

What are a few telltale signs that you might need professional services?

  • Time constraints and fractional staffing: When work is not getting done on time or is but only through herculean efforts, professional services support can help give you not only meet deadlines but get time back in your day for more valuable work.
  • Risk management concerns: Are you or your general counsel concerned about eDiscovery work quality output and how this may put you at risk? Reduce the risks in your processes by leaning on professional services to handle work they are specially trained to complete.
  • Desire to embrace new technologies: Have you used the same technology for years without evaluating what newer, cloud-based technology can achieve? Professional services can help your firm migrate existing data, adopt powerful new platforms, processes, and standards that will accelerate work and make it more efficient.
  • A need to lower costs: Do you have a mandate to reduce spend in what is typically one of the highest costs of litigation, eDiscovery? Professional services teams have the knowledge and tools to complete work quickly and efficiently, which will lower your overall project costs.

Contact us today if you want to find out more how CloudNine can help you to simplify eDiscovery with our cloud-based and on-premise solutions, and to ramp up when needed with our professional services support to get eDiscovery work done on time, and on budget.

The Hidden Benefits of Professional Services for eDiscovery

By Jacob Hesse

With eDiscovery continuing to make up a large percentage of litigation spend, law firms and corporate legal teams should evaluate ways to save on eDiscovery costs. Exploring the use of proven, yet less expensive eDiscovery software is one obvious strategy to adopt in cost cutting times. Another approach is to consider supplementing a team with seasoned eDiscovery professionals to get work done.

Professional services teams include project managers, data analysts, technologists, and others who provide expert knowledge in particular domain areas. The capabilities they bring to the table can make a huge difference to the success and budget of your eDiscovery project. Example benefits may include:

  • Focused data collection: An expert collection specialist can target relevant data, reducing the burden and cost of large volumes of irrelevant, unwanted information.
  • Faster processing: A dedicated person or team can process terabytes of data, leveraging expert knowledge of processing software to achieve speed to data.
  • Better search results: Unless you majored in math, Boolean operators may not be your best friend, but they are very familiar to eDiscovery specialists that can craft defensible culling strategies and get your attorneys’ eyes on relevant documents quickly and accurately.
  • Greater efficiency in managing data volume and types: eDiscovery matters have grown in complexity in recent years, thanks to remote work and the explosion in use of communication apps and texts for business. Bringing in experts who can approach complex data management with ease will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Reduced chaos: Project managers are the eye of the storm. They watch over project budgets, monitor for risks, and create and execute the tasks necessary to complete a project successfully. If you don’t have the time to manage multiple resources and external vendors, project managers can be a lifeline.
  • Defend the margin: Professional services can reduce your costs by minimizing the reliance on full time eDiscovery professionals, who may not be needed once a discovery project ends. Ramp your professional services staff up and down as the work demands, matching cost with need. This style of “just in time” staffing will please your CFO and maximize your profits.

To summarize, there are many reasons why legal teams should consider relying on outside professional services support for eDiscovery matters, especially at a time when eDiscovery is becoming more complex, and the demand for cost savings and faster discovery work turnarounds are high. Read on to find out more about CloudNine’s professional services.

In our next blog in this series, we share telltale signs that forecast the need for professional services help for eDiscovery.

About the Author: Jacob Hesse leads Professional Services at CloudNine and has 20+ years of experience in eDiscovery in both law firm and service provider environments. He most enjoys building collaboration and synergies within and between teams to achieve goals together.

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6 Key eDiscovery Tips from Master’s Conference New York

By Catherine Ostheimer

Imagine a day-long gathering of the pantheon of east coast-based eDiscovery experts, with an agenda replete with the hottest topics in eDiscovery, change management and AI, and you have last week’s Master’s Conference in New York.

Held at the midtown office of Morgan Lewis, the informative event had seven panel discussions and four breakout sessions. While we could not be everywhere all at once, we did capture salient themes and key learnings.

Here are six main takeaways:

1. Rely on legal service providers when necessary for expertise and project management. Steptoe’s Michael Scavelli mentioned that his firm prides themselves on lean staffing and gain immense value from having a third-party project manager who can be part of his case team. A core project manager can also play a critical role in gaining cooperation for a forensics collection.

2. New talent can be found in unlikely places to fill legal tech staff gaps. Sticking with the project management theme, Michael Bohner, Cleary Gottlieb cautioned that he does not see a lot of new people moving into the legal tech field. He suggested that when it comes to filling project management gaps, hiring managers and HR teams should look to sourcing hires at technology companies operating in other industries outside of legal. Aulden Burcher-Dupont, from Kirkland Ellis, echoed this sentiment, saying that all-important project managers who understand how to build dashboards and red-yellow-green status reports can be found in tech firms.

3. When it comes to tech rollout, embrace the naysayers. In a session on change management, Ashley Miller of Cap Gemini encouraged initiative leaders to include people at all levels of the organization in discussions on tech selection and roll-out. She also recommended involving the biggest critics of the initiative in discussions and tech selection, as they are the ones who will have the best questions for vendors and will share realistic concerns others may not state.

4. Newer forms of data stemming from the exploding use of chat apps, texts, and social media apps for business communications, can no longer be ignored in eDiscovery. “In courtrooms today, communications occurring via chat apps and other newer platforms are viewed as not duplicative to emails. As a result, parties are being compelled to produce this data,” shared Elizabeth Gary, Morgan Lewis. Thomas Mullane, RTX further pointed out that this type of data will only continue to grow within corporations, as every single enterprise technology, whether it is for legal, the accounting department or HR teams, now has a chat feature. Data privacy and eDiscovery visionary, Dera Nevin, summed up the new data environment for legal succinctly: “…we are not creating documents anymore, we are creating information/collaboration artifacts.”

5. Do not be caught off guard by a government investigation requiring modern data collection: know where your data is and put policies in place to manage it. Jeaneen Kappel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stressed the importance of being proactive, and taking the time and effort to understand where more than just emails exist in your organization before an investigation take place. She also suggested having policies and processes in place to address new forms of data, to make any data collection with a deadline easier. (For more tips from Kappel on how to best work with the SEC, check out the recorded online webinar, “Navigating SEC Investigations.”) Genevieve Moreland added that for law firms and corporate teams, making sure all offices and teams have the same policy is critical to staying on top of data management. Ashley Picker of Day Pitney also discussed that all business communications need to be preserved in a reasonable way, no matter the form.

6. Identify modern data eDiscovery technology and service provider capabilities to stay in control of ongoing data sprawl. Rick Clark of CloudNine spoke of some eDiscovery platform workflows requiring converting data to documents upfront being outdated and inefficient. “It is time for a new workflow, one less reliant on data conversion for review but one involving a platform that leverages the data in near-native forms rather than static documents. You can then produce resulting data as documents.” (Note: CloudNine Analyst is the only eDiscovery solution to render data in near native format with conversation threading between applications and with timelines. It also de-duplicates on a message level across all devices without having to go through costly data processing or conversions.)

Find out how CloudNine and its range of on-premise and cloud-based solutions and services can help you across all types of eDiscovery challenges, even those that involve tricky-to-manage modern data. To learn more and schedule a time to meet, contact us today.

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.

 

Navigating SEC Investigations: The Importance of Transparency and Cooperation in Communications and eDiscovery

By Catherine Ostheimer

In today’s data-driven landscape, navigating SEC investigations and discovery processes presents unique challenges. In addition to the growing amount and types of data that needs to be part of a discovery process if an investigation is launched, the time and cost required for preparing for such an event can be daunting. What can you do to best prepare and deliver the best outcomes when the SEC calls?

In a recent interview CloudNine’s VP of Strategic Partnerships, Rick Clark, conducted with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Jeaneen Kappell, the complexities surrounding government inquiries surfaced as well as what an organization can do in the early days of an investigation. Kappell served as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and at K&L Gates prior to joining the SEC in 2020, and now serves as Senior Counsel, Division of Enforcement. The takeaways boiled down to two simple principles that can positively impact the trajectory of the exercise: transparency and cooperation.

This 30-minute recorded webinar presents additional ideas and solutions that can help your organization, or your client, better navigate the new challenges that accompany governmental inquiries. You can watch it here:

 

If you are interested in learning more about CloudNine and how we can help you to simplify eDiscovery with our SaaS solutions and services, contact us today.

 Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.

 

Futrure Lawyers Week 2023

Future Lawyers Week Recap: The Rise in Legal Ops, Taking on eDiscovery and Data Privacy Challenges and More

By Catherine Ostheimer

Legal innovators gathered in New York City last week for a one-day legal tech conference with customized knowledge session tracks for law firms and in-house legal teams. Topics ranged from turning an in-house team from a cost center to a cost savings center, balancing risk, and innovation, navigating data privacy, and successfully handling emerging and long-term eDiscovery challenges.

Here is a sampling of just some of the incisive commentary and practical direction dispensed.

Tackling Cross Border and Modern Data in eDiscovery

An expert group of speakers discussed the data privacy regulatory and compliance considerations that arise with managing the intricacies of eDiscovery across borders.

Dera Nevin, former data policy and strategy officer at The Blackstone Group, said that planning is a critical first step to global data management. She recommends you know your data location and line it up with common litigation issues you face. When it comes to handling eDiscovery for a cross border matter, consult with the privacy officer or attorney in each jurisdiction, so that you do not open yourself up to contractual claims if you transfer data.

eDiscovery modern data management was another hot topic. Sandra Metallo-Barragan, Proskauer Rose’s eDiscovery Counsel, referenced that expanding data types require additional attention and said it is important to know that employee’s business and personal lives are intertwined, and that while some conversations are in email, others may be in LinkedIn or elsewhere. Now more than ever legal teams should be aware of data sources used.

Jennifer Altman, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, further elaborated on this point, saying that data has become invasive, and that most data systems are siloed and that it is not easy to pull data sources together. Yani Indrajana Ho, associate general counsel at LG, remarked that lawyers within a company are in a position of power when it comes to data management, and that it is important to get ahead of it before your next case: know your data location and how to retrieve it. At 200-year-old Con Edison, associate general counsel Tayo Kinnane explained that there are still a lot of old paper documents, but with the increase in electronically stored data and types, they now have a robust data retention policy in place that is core to their information governance approach. She also said that Con Edison created a cross functional team to identify what systems and apps are being used, what data is produced, and how to protect and mitigate holding data. A parallel effort is the IT team’s focus on streamlining the number of apps used by employees when conducting business.

When it comes to cutting back on the data you hold, Harry Halikias, Cybersecurity Officer, New York Public Library, made this point from a data security standpoint and his organization’s efforts to not hold personal data: “…we practice data privacy by design. If we do not have it, it cannot be stolen.”

Balancing Cost Management and Legal Innovation

Reducing cost remains a constant goal of corporate legal teams. In one of the in-house team track discussions, Andrea Webster, associate director of legal innovation and operations, suggested ways for corporate legal teams to get started on cost savings, including:

  • Analyzing current legal processes and consider outsourcing core activity
  • Exploring use of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) for outside counsel firms
  • Using cloud-based solutions that can reduce the cost of an installed on-premise solution
  • Prioritizing employee training and development so they can effectively use the tech from the onset
  • Taking control of outside counsel spend through having open communication with your law firm(s) on how they can consider cutting costs in areas like eDiscovery by evaluating alternative technology

Transforming a Legal Team from a Cost Center to a Cost Savings Center

In another all-in-house legal team discussion, Elizabeth Rancourt-Smith, Director of Legal Operations at Tilson, raised the importance of legal ops to an organization as it helps to reset the over-reliance of doing things the tried-and-true way. “Law is based on precedent; thinking into future does not come naturally to lawyers. But it makes sense in business to be forward thinking.”

Tyson Roy, Director of Legal Innovation, AVP, Senior Counsel at Liberty Mutual, talked about the importance of cross-team collaboration, storytelling and encouraging people to take smart risks to change the way work gets done for the better. In a regular Innovation Hero blog he shares with Liberty Mutual employees, innovation successes and failures are highlighted, a rare occurrence in the corporate world.

Allison Morpurgo, Managing Director, Deputy General Counsel at UBS, said her role has evolved to not only focus on selecting the right outside counsel, but also to make better use of the lawyers and provide them with easy-to-use technology to reduce spending. “We know we are successful when lawyers are willing to try new tech instead of falling back on old ways of working,” explained Morpurgo.

Navigating Data Privacy and Gen AI

Generative AI was on the table for discussion as well. Counsel at Robinson+Cole, Jennifer Driscoll, called it the next wave in legal research. Yet data privacy issues loom. Model development requires detailed data, and if that data includes personally identifiable information, be careful. She also cautioned about use of solutions like ChatGPT, and reminded all that a prompt cannot be deleted, and if an associate enters the details of case, he/she could be waiving attorney/client privilege.

Driscoll also talked about data privacy regulation developments in Europe which will likely impact the US soon, with the EU AI Act being negotiated now. “Once this is out, other jurisdictions will follow,” she predicts.

To learn more about how CloudNine can help you to handle eDiscovery modern data challenges and reduce the cost of eDiscovery, learn more about CloudNine Analyst and/or reach out to us to schedule a consultation.

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.