eDiscovery Daily Blog
Laura Zubulake, Author of “Zubulake’s e-Discovery” – eDiscovery Trends
This is the fourth of the 2014 LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series. eDiscoveryDaily interviewed several thought leaders after LTNY this year (don’t get us started) and generally asked each of them the following questions:
- What significant eDiscovery trends did you see at LTNY this year and what do you see for 2014?
- With new amendments to discovery provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure now in the comment phase, do you see those being approved this year and what do you see as the impact of those Rules changes?
- It seems despite numerous resources in the industry, most attorneys still don’t know a lot about eDiscovery? Do you agree with that and, if so, what do you think can be done to improve the situation?
Today’s thought leader is Laura Zubulake. Laura worked on Wall Street for 20 years in institutional equity departments and, in 1991, authored the book The Complete Guide to Convertible Securities Worldwide. She was the plaintiff in the Zubulake vs. UBS Warburg case, which resulted in several landmark opinions related to eDiscovery and counsel’s obligations for the preservation of electronically stored information. The December 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were influenced, in part, by the Zubulake case. In 2012, Laura published a book titled Zubulake’s e-Discovery: The Untold Story of my Quest for Justice, previously discussed on this blog here and she speaks professionally about eDiscovery topics and her experiences related to the case.
What significant eDiscovery trends did you see at LTNY this year and what do you see for 2014?
As far as what I saw last week, there was an increase in focus on Information Governance over last year’s conference. There was also a continued interest in eDiscovery. What I found particularly interesting is that some of the larger vendors put less emphasis on Information Governance than they did last year and more on eDiscovery this year. When I went to the vendor booths and talked to them about actual business, I got the sense that several have taken a step back from Information Governance and refocused their efforts on eDiscovery. I’m not saying this is the case with all of them, but several of them. I was not able to find out a reason why, but I surmised from my conversations that monetizing, or creating a business around Information Governance has been difficult for some vendors. It seems they find it easier to generate business with eDiscovery. This intrigued me.
I’m looking at it more from a business standpoint than a legal or a conference agenda standpoint. In other words, how are they actually making money in this industry? It’s still predominantly in eDiscovery, not Information Governance. I think part of that has to do with the state of the economy, which is not great and it’s difficult trying to get clients to buy certain services at this time. Information Governance is probably a tougher sell than certain technologies you have on the eDiscovery side. This creates a real business opportunity. Over time I think the focus will shift towards Information Governance. Corporations will realize that eDiscovery is a subsector of Information Governance and that Information Governance is a more efficient and effective investment.
Other things that I did see at the show: clearly there was an emphasis on big data, which was expected. When I looked at the tracks, the topics included Risk and Compliance, eDiscovery, Information Governance and technology in general. This seemed to be a continuation of those topics from last year’s show – again except for Information Governance, where I did see an increased focus.
I was surprised that I didn’t see more attention in areas like healthcare, which I would have expected — given what’s going on in the country and given the planned to shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Although now I guess there’s a little bit of a debate about that. But, I would have thought that there would have been more emphasis on healthcare.
As for a prediction for next year and the coming years, I think that healthcare is going to become a major focus – for Information Governance in particular. To continue on this, it would be interesting to see other detailed sector analysis. That is, how Information Governance (particularly in light of industry regulations) could affect the finance, utilities, and energy sectors.
I also think you’re going to see – and people have different names for this – more emphasis on applying algorithms to Information Governance and not just for eDiscovery. People use the term “predictive coding” to refer to applying algorithms to eDiscovery efforts and with Information Governance, some people call it “auto-classification.” Essentially, it’s taking a macro view and using algorithms to help companies organize and manage their data, from the top down. So, I think you’ll start seeing more discussion on not just predictive coding for EDD, but also algorithms for Information Governance efforts.
I would say the “Internet of things” (I guess everybody has their own way to describe that) is going to become more of a focus as well. For example, Google recently purchased Nest. If you think of the implications of that, Google is going to have access to data within your home. So, I think as the “Internet of things” expands, that’s going to become more of a focus for Information Governance, eDiscovery and Risk and Compliance type issues.
Cyber security will be another trend, obviously. Security and privacy issues with regard to healthcare and the security of data at every level, whether it’s your home or business, will become increasingly important.
With new amendments to discovery provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure now in the comment phase, do you see those being approved this year and what do you see as the impact of those Rules changes?
I contributed comments to the website. In fact, I sent my book to Senator Coons, who is in charge of the committee and I have been in contact with other individuals involved in the discussion. I think it’s important for the decision makers to appreciate what it’s like for an individual to go through litigation. While no one wants to be in that situation, it can happen to anyone. I’m not so sure the amendments will be approved this year — maybe by the end of this year or next year. My personal concern is that most of what I’ve read about the debate has been dominated by the defense side. I’m not sure that the plaintiff side has been thoroughly represented. That was the concern that I voiced when I added my comments to the website. While I understand the business and cost implications of eDiscovery, I believe the plaintiff ‘s side needs to be properly represented in the talks. With regard to the nature of the proposals, restricting the number of depositions, having certain restrictions on time, etc., I think it’s going to make it more difficult for an individual to stand up for their rights, to actually take a stand.
It seems despite numerous resources in the industry, most attorneys still don’t know a lot about eDiscovery? Do you agree with that and, if so, what do you think can be done to improve the situation?
Generally, I agree. Based on what I’ve read, there appears to be a significant segment of the legal community that is not well informed. What do I think can be done to improve the situation? Obviously, continue to educate. Unfortunately, I think that there are many people that won’t take the time to learn new things until they’ve been thrown into a situation and forced to learn. That’s sad, because eDiscovery has been around for so long now. It should really be part of the conversation. Law schools need to include it in their curriculum somehow so that all law students become familiar with it at some level. Also, perhaps requiring continuing education for lawyers solely dedicated to eDiscovery where they sit in classes instead of just attending a conference. When you have to take an exam and answer questions, that’s when you’re forced to learn something.
Thanks, Laura, for participating in the interview!
And to the readers, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic!
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