Information Management

eDiscovery Best Practices: Usefulness of Facebook’s Self Collection Mechanism

 

We’ve written about Facebook a lot on this blog.  Shortly after this blog was launched, we provided information on Facebook’s subpoena policy.  We’ve also talked about the eDiscovery implications associated with the rollout of Facebook’s new email messaging system, dubbed “Facemail”.  And, just last week, we chronicled a case involving Facebook where they were ordered to produce documents instead of just merely providing access to them.  And, we haven’t even mentioned the latest revelations that Facebook may have secretly hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about Google (oops, we just did!).

But perhaps our most popular post regarding Facebook was regarding the self collection mechanism that they rolled out last October, which we found out about via our LegalTech interview with Craig Ball published back in March after our February interview (Craig also wrote an article about the feature in Law Technology News in February).

Now, another article has been written about the usefulness of Facebook’s self collection mechanism (called “Download Your Information”) in the blog E-Discovery Law Alert, entitled How Useful is Facebook's "Download Your Information" Feature in E-Discovery?, written by Patrick V. DiDomenico.

The author of this article conducted a test by downloading his information via the utility, deleting some information from his Facebook profile – “an email message, some wall posts, comments, photos, and even a friend (not a close friend)” – hopefully, he added the friend back.  Then, he downloaded his information again, every day for four days, with no change for the first three days.  On the fourth day, most of the deleted information disappeared from the download, except the email message (which disappeared when he ran the utility one more time).

The conclusion was that the mechanism “does not appear to ‘look back’ and recover deleted information in the user’s account”.  Thoughts:

  • With no change in the download in the first three days, the author notes that “Facebook did not take a fresh snapshot of my account every day – it just re-downloaded the same file three days in a row”.  He doesn’t mention whether he added any content during this time.  It would be interesting to see if that would force a change.
  • I don’t believe that there is any specific documentation from Facebook as to how it handles additions and deletions and how often the snapshot is updated.  If not, it might behoove them to create some, it might save them some subpoena requests.
  • The author notes that “it is inadvisable for lawyers to rely solely on the Download Your Information feature for discovery of an adversary’s Facebook information” as it “gives no assurance that a litigant’s attempt to delete evidence will be revealed”.  On the other hand, it may be still an appropriate mechanism to use for your own discovery to preserve your own information.  Facebook may also store deleted information on backup tapes, so a subpoena could catch your opponent red-handed if you can justify the discovery of those tapes.  Food for thought.

So, what do you think?  Have you had any Facebook discovery requests in your eDiscovery projects?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Best Practices: What Are the Skeletons in Your ESI Closet?

 

At eDiscoveryDaily, we try not to re-post articles or blog posts from other sources.  We may reference them, but we usually try to add some commentary or analysis to provide a unique spin on the topic.  However, I read a post Thursday on one of the better legal blogs out there – Ride the Lightning from Sharon Nelson – that was a guest post by Jim McGann, VP of Information Discovery at Index Engines that I thought was well done and good information for our readers.  Jim has been interviewed by eDiscoveryDaily here and here and always has terrific insight on ESI issues.  You can click here to read the post directly on Ride the Lightning or simply read below.

Law firms and corporations alike tend to keep data storage devices well beyond what their compliance requirements or business needs actually dictate.  These so-called “skeletons in the closet” pose a major problem when the entity gets sued or subpoenaed. All that dusty data is suddenly potentially discoverable. Legal counsel can be proactive and initiate responsible handling of this legacy data by defining a new, defensible information governance process.

  1. Understand all data sources. The first choice when faced with an ESI collection is to look at current online network data. However, many other sources of email and files exist on corporate networks, sources that may be more defensible and even cost effective to collect from, including offsite storage typically residing on backup tapes. Tape as a collection source has been overlooked because it was historically difficult and expensive to collect from legacy backup tapes.
  2. Get proactive with legal requirements. Defining what ESI data should be kept and placed on litigation hold and what can be purged are the first steps in a proactive strategy. These legal requirements will allow clients to put a policy in place to save specific content, certain custodians and intellectual property so that it is identifiable and ready for on demand discovery.
  3. Understand technology limitations. Only use tools that index all the content, and don’t change any of the metadata. Some older search solutions compromise the indexing process, and this may come to haunt you in the end.
  4. Become a policy expert. As new technology comes on the market, it tends to improve and strengthen the discovery process. Taking the time to understand technology trends allows you to stay one step ahead of the game and create a current defensible collection process and apply policy to it.

So, what do you think?  Do you have “skeletons” in your ESI closet?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Best Practices: 4 Steps to Effective eDiscovery With Software Analytics

 

I read an interesting article from Texas Lawyer via Law.com entitled “4 Steps to Effective E-Discovery With Software Analytics” that has some interesting takes on project management principles related to eDiscovery and I’ve interjected some of my thoughts into the analysis below.  A copy of the full article is located here.  The steps are as follows:

1. With the vendor, negotiate clear terms that serve the project's key objectives.  The article notes the important of tying each collection and review milestone (e.g., collecting and imaging data; filtering data by file type; removing duplicates; processing data for review in a specific review platform; processing data to allow for optical character recognition (OCR) searching; and converting data into a tag image file format (TIFF) for final production to opposing counsel) to contract terms with the vendor. 

The specific milestones will vary – for example, conversion to TIFF may not be necessary if the parties agree to a native production – so it’s important to know the size and complexity of the project, and choose only an experienced eDiscovery vendor who can handle the variations.

2. Collect and process data.  Forensically sound data collection and culling of obviously unresponsive files (such as system files) to drastically decrease the overall review costs are key services that a vendor provides in this area.  As we’ve noted many times on this blog, effective culling can save considerable review costs – each gigabyte (GB) culled can save $16-$18K in attorney review costs.

The article notes that a hidden cost is the OCR process of translating extracted text into a searchable form and that it’s an optimal negotiation point with the vendor.  This may have been true when most collections were paper based, but as most collections today are electronic based, the percentage of documents requiring OCR is considerably less than it used to be.  However, it is important to be prepared that there are some native files which will be “image only”, such as TIFFs and scanned PDFs – those will require OCR to be effectively searched.

3. Select a data and document review platform.  Factors such as ease of use, robustness, and reliability of analytic tools, support staff accessibility to fix software bugs quickly, monthly user and hosting fees, and software training and support fees should be considered when selecting a document review platform.

The article notes that a hidden cost is selecting a platform with which the firm’s litigation support staff has no experience as follow-up consultation with the vendor could be costly.  This can be true, though a good vendor training program and an intuitive interface can minimize or even eliminate this component.

The article also notes that to take advantage of the vendor’s more modern technology “[a] viable option is to use a vendor's review platform that fits the needs of the current data set and then transfer the data to the in-house system”.  I’m not sure why the need exists to transfer the data back – there are a number of vendors that provide a cost-effective solution appropriate for the duration of the case.

4. Designate clear areas of responsibility.  By doing so, you minimize or eliminate inefficiencies in the project and the article mentions the RACI matrix to determine who is responsible (individuals responsible for performing each task, such as review or litigation support), accountable (the attorney in charge of discovery), consulted (the lead attorney on the case), and informed (the client).

Managing these areas of responsibility effectively is probably the biggest key to project success and the article does a nice job of providing a handy reference model (the RACI matrix) for defining responsibility within the project.

So, what do you think?  Do you have any specific thoughts about this article?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Trends: Thought Leader Interview with Jeffrey Brandt, Editor of Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest

 

As eDiscovery Daily has done in the past, we have periodically interviewed various thought leaders in eDiscovery and legal technology to provide insight as to trends in the industry for our readers to consider.  Recently, I was able to interview Jeffrey Brandt, Editor of the Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest and columnist for Legal IT Professionals.

With an educational background in computer science and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, Jeff has over twenty four years of experience in the field of legal automation working with various organizations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  As a technology and management consultant to hundreds of law firms and corporate law departments he has worked on information management projects including: long range strategic planning, workflow management and reengineering, knowledge management, IT structure and personnel requirements and budgeting. Working as a CIO at several large law firms, Jeff has helped bring oversight, coordination and change management to initiatives including: knowledge management, library & research services, eDiscovery, records management, technology and more. Most recently, he served as the Chief Information and Knowledge Officer with an AMLaw 100 law firm based out of Washington, DC.

Jeff has also been asked to serve on numerous advisory councils and CIO advisory boards for key vendors in the legal space, advising them on issues of client service and future product direction.  He is a long time member (and former board member) of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and has taught CLE classes on topics ranging from litigation support to ethics and technology.

What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery in 2011 and beyond on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?

I would say that the biggest two are the project management component and, for lack of a better term, automated or artificial intelligence.

The whole concept and the complexities of what it takes to manage a case today are more challenging than ever, including issues like the number of sources, the amount of data in the sources, the format in which you’re producing, where can the data go and who can see it.  I remember the days when people used to take a couple of bankers boxes, put them in their car and go home and work on the documents.  You simply cannot do that today – the amount of information today is just insane.

As for artificial intelligence, as was discussed in the (Pinhawk) digest recently, you’re seeing the emergence of predictive coding and using computers to cull through the massive amounts of information so that a human can take the final pass.  I think more and more we’re going to see people relying on those types of technologies – some because they embrace it, others because there is no other way to humanly do it.

I think if there’s any third trend it would probably be where do we go next to get the data?  In terms of social media, mining Facebook and Twitter and all the other various sources for additional data as part of the discovery process has become a challenge.

You recently became editor of the Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest.  Tell me about that and about your plans for the digest.

Well, I think there are several things going forward.  My role is to keep up the good work that Curt Meltzer, the founding editor, started and fill the “big shoes” that Curt left behind.  My goal is to expand the sources of information from which Pinhawk draws.  There are about 400 sources today and I think by the time my sources (and possibly a few others) are added in, there will be over 500.  We’ve also talked about going to our readership and asking them “what are your go-to and must read sources?” to include those sources as well.  We’ll also be looking to incorporate social media tools to hopefully make the experience much more comprehensive and easier to participate in for the Pinhawk digest reader.

And, what should we be looking for in your column in Legal IT Professionals?

Well, I like to dabble in multiple areas – in the small consulting practice that I have, I do a little bit of everything.  I’ve recently done some very interesting work in communities of practice, using social media tools, focusing them inward in law firms to provide the forum for lawyers to open up, share and mentor to others.  I like KM (Knowledge Management) and related topics and we had a recent post in Pinhawk talking about the future of the law firm.  To me, those types of discussions are fascinating.

You take the extremes and you’ve got the “law factory”, you take the high-end and you’ve got the “bet the farm” law firm.  How technology plays a role in whatever culture, whatever focus a law firm puts itself on is interesting.  And then you watch and see some of the rumblings and inklings of what can be done in places like Australia, where you have third-party investment of law firms and the United Kingdom, where they are about to get third-party investment.  There was a recent article about third-party ownership of law firms in North Carolina.  You look at examples like that and you say “is the model of partnership alive?”  When you get into “big law”, are they really partnerships?  Where are they in the spectrum of a thousand sole practitioners operating under one letterhead to a firm of a thousand lawyers?  That’s where I think that communities of practice and social media tools are going to help lawyers know more about their own partners and own firms. 

It’s sad that in some firms the lawyers on the north side of the building don’t even know the lawyers on the south side of the building, let alone the people on the eighth floor vs. the tenth floor.  It’s a changing landscape.  When I got into legal and was first a CIO at Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, 250 lawyers in Columbus, Ohio was the 83rd largest law firm in the US – an AMLAW 100 firm.  Today, does that size a firm even make it into the AMLAW 250?

In my column at Legal IT Professionals, you’ll see more about KM and change management.  Another part of my practice is mentoring IT executives in how to deal with business problems related to the business of law and I think that might be my next post – free advice to the aspiring CIO.

This might sound odd coming from a technologist, but…it’s not really about the technology.  From a broad standpoint, you can be successful with most software tools.  A law firm isn’t going to be made or broken whether it chose OpenText or iManage as a document management tool or chose a specific litigation support tool.  It is more about the people, the education and the process than it is the actual tool.  Yes, there are some horrible tools that you should avoid, but, all things being equal, it’s really more the other pieces of the equation that determine your success.

Thanks, Jeff, 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!

What eDiscovery Professionals Can Learn from the Internet Gambling Crack Down

 

Many of you may have heard about the FBI cracking down on the three largest online gambling sites in the past few days, as the owners of those sites in the United States have been indicted and charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses and the sites have been essentially shut down in the US.  Restraining orders have been issued against more than 75 bank accounts in 14 countries used by the poker companies PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.  Many US customers of these sites are now scrambling to try to get their funds out of the sites and finding it difficult to do so.

So what?  This is an eDiscovery blog, right?  What does an Internet gambling crack down have to do with eDiscovery?

PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and other gambling sites are cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.  Just like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, YouTube and SalesForce.com, these sites provide an application via the web that enables its clients to receive a service.  In the case of Amazon, it’s the ability to purchase any number of products.  For Facebook, it’s the ability to share information with friends and family.  For these gambling sites, it’s the ability to play poker for money with anyone else in the world who has the same gambling itch that you do and a broadband connection.

The problem is: in the US, it’s illegal.  The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments related to a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.  So, these sites are hosted in other countries to attempt to skirt the law.

What many US customers of these sites are finding out is the same thing that eDiscovery professionals discover when they need to retrieve cloud-based data in response to a discovery request: it’s imperative to know where your data is stored.  It’s likely that many customers of these gambling sites knew that their funds were kept off-shore, while others may not have known this was the case.  Regardless, they’re now scrambling to get their data (i.e., funds) back — if they can.

Many organizations are “in the same boat” when it comes to their SaaS providers – it may be unclear where that data is being stored and it may be difficult to retrieve if it’s stored in a foreign country with a different set of laws.  It’s important to establish (in writing if possible) with the provider up front where the data will be stored and agree on procedures such as records management/destruction schedules so that you know where your data is stored and can get access to it when you need it.  Don’t gamble with your data.

So, what do you think?  Do you have organizational data in a SaaS-based solution?  Do you have a plan for getting that data when you need it?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Full disclosure: I work for Trial Solutions, which provides SaaS-based eDiscovery review applications FirstPass® (for first pass review) and OnDemand® (for linear review and production).  Our clients’ data is hosted in a secured Tier 4 Data Center in Houston, Texas, where Trial Solutions is headquartered.

eDiscovery Trends: 2011 eDiscovery Errors Survey

 

As noted in Legal IT Professionals on Friday, LDM Global on Friday announced the results of its 2011 eDiscovery Errors survey. The company asked a selection of industry professionals their views on which errors they experienced most often during the discovery process. Results were collected from across the USA, Europe and Australia.

According to Scott Merrick, LDM Global Marketing Director and survey author, “Our goal was to find out what the real, day to day issues and problems are around the discovery process.”  He also noted that “Of particular interest was the ongoing challenge of good communication. Technology has not solved that challenge and it remains at the forefront of where mistakes are made.”

The respondents of the survey were broken down into the following groups: Litigation Support Professionals 47%, Lawyers 30%, Paralegals 11%, IT Professionals 9% and Others 3%.  Geographically, the United States and Europe had 46% of the respondents each, with the remaining 8% of respondents coming from Australia.  LDM Global did not identify the total number of respondents to the survey.

For each question about errors, respondents were asked to classify the error as “frequently occurs”, “occasionally occurs”, “not very common” or “never occurs”.  Based on responses, the most common errors are:

  • Failure to Effectively Communicate across Teams: 50% of the respondents identified this error as one that frequently occurs
  • An Inadequate Data Retention Policy: 47% of the respondents identified this error as one that frequently occurs
  • Not Collecting all Pertinent Data: 41% of the respondents identified this error as one that frequently occurs
  • Failure to Perform Critical Quality Control (i.e., sampling): 40% of the respondents identified this error as one that frequently occurs
  • Badly Thought Out, or Badly Implemented, Policy: 40% of the respondents identified this error as one that frequently occurs

Perhaps one of the most surprising results is that only 14% of respondents identified Spoliation of evidence, or the inability to preserve relevant emails as an error that frequently occurs.  So, why are there so many cases in which sanctions have been issued for that very issue?  Interesting…

For complete survey results, go to LDMGlobal.com.

So, what do you think?  What are the most common eDiscovery errors that your organization has encountered?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Trends: George Socha of Socha Consulting

 

This is the seventh of the LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series.  eDiscoveryDaily interviewed several thought leaders at LTNY this year and asked each of them the same three questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?
  2. Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?
  3. What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Today’s thought leader is George Socha.  A litigator for 16 years, George is President of Socha Consulting LLC, offering services as an electronic discovery expert witness, special master and advisor to corporations, law firms and their clients, and legal vertical market software and service providers in the areas of electronic discovery and automated litigation support. George has also been co-author of the leading survey on the electronic discovery market, The Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey.  In 2005, he and Tom Gelbmann launched the Electronic Discovery Reference Model project to establish standards within the eDiscovery industry – today, the EDRM model has become a standard in the industry for the eDiscovery life cycle and there are eight active projects with over 300 members from 81 participating organizations. George has a J.D. for Cornell Law School and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?

On the very “flip” side, the number one trend to date in 2011 is predictions about trends in 2011.  They are part of a consistent and long-term pattern, which is that many of these trend predictions are not trend predictions at all – they are marketing material and the prediction is “you will buy my product or service in the coming year”.

That said, there are a couple of things of note.  Since I understand you talked to Tom about Apersee, it’s worth noting that corporations are struggling with working through a list of providers to find out who provides what services.  You would figure that there is somewhere in the range of 500 or so total providers.  But, my ever-growing list, which includes both external and law firm providers, is at more than 1,200.  Of course, some of those are probably not around anymore, but I am confident that there are at least 200-300 that I do not yet have on the list.  My guess when the list shakes out is that there are roughly 1,100 active providers out there today.  If you look at information from the National Center for State Courts and the Federal Judicial Center, you’ll see that there are about 11 million new lawsuits filed every year.  I saw an article in the Cornell Law Forum a week or two ago which indicated that there are roughly 1.1 million lawyers in the country.  So, there are 11 million lawsuits, 1.1 million lawyers and 1,100 providers.  Most of those lawyers have no experience with eDiscovery and most of those lawsuits have no provider involved, which means eDiscovery is still very much an emerging market, not even close to being a mature market.  As fast as providers disappear, through attrition or acquisition, new providers enter the market to take their place.

Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?

{Interviewed on the second afternoon of LTNY}  Maybe this is overly optimistic, but part of what I’m seeing in leading up to the conference, on various web sites and at the conference itself, is that a series of incremental changes taking place over a long period are finally leading to some radical differences.  One of those differences is that we finally are reaching a point where a number of providers can make the claim to being “end-to-end providers” with some legitimacy.  For as long as we’ve had the EDRM model, we’ve had providers that have professed to cover the full EDRM landscape, by which they generally have meant Identification through Production.  A growing number of providers not only cover that portion of the EDRM spectrum but have some ability to address Information Management, Presentation, or both   By and large, those providers are getting there by building their software and services based on experience and learning over the past 8 to 10 to 12 years, introducing new offerings at the show that reflect that learned experience.

A couple of days ago, I only half-jokingly issued “the Dyson challenge” (as in the Dyson vacuum cleaner).  Every year, come January, our living room carpet is strewn with pine tree needles and none of the vacuum cleaners that we have ever had have done a good job of picking up those needles.  The Dyson vacuum cleaner claims it cyclones capture more dirt than anything, but I was convinced that could not include those needles.  Nonetheless I tried, and to my surprise it worked like a charm!  I want to see the providers offering products able to perform at that high level, not just meeting but exceeding expectations.

I also see a feeling of excitement and optimism that wasn’t apparent at last year’s show.

What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

As I mentioned, we have launched the Apersee web site, designed to allow consumers to find providers and products that fit their specific needs.  The site is in beta and the link is live.  It’s in beta because we’re still working on features to make it as useful as possible to customers and providers.  We’re hoping it’s a question of weeks, not months, before those features are implemented.  Once we go fully live, we will go two months with the system “wide open” – where every consumer can see all the provider and product information that any provider has put in the system.  After that, consumers will be able to see full provider and product profiles for providers who have purchased blocks of views.  Even if a provider does not purchase views, all selection criteria it enters are searchable, but search results will display only the provider’s name and website name.  Providers will be able to get stats on queries and how many times their information is viewed, but not detailed information as to which customers are connecting and performing the queries.

As for EDRM, we continue to make progress with an array of projects and a growing number of collaborative efforts, such as the work the Data Set group has down with TREC Legal and the work the Metrics group has done with the LEDES Committee. We not only want to see membership continue to grow, but we also want to continue to push for more active participation to continue to make progress in the various working groups.  We’ve just met at the show here regarding the EDRM Testing pilot project to address testing standards.  There are very few guidelines for testing of electronic discovery software and services, so the Testing project will become a full EDRM project as of the EDRM annual meeting this May to begin to address the need for those guidelines.

Thanks, George, 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!

eDiscovery Trends: Deidre Paknad of PSS Systems

 

This is the sixth of the LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series.  eDiscoveryDaily interviewed several thought leaders at LTNY this year and asked each of them the same three questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?
  2. Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?
  3. What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Today’s thought leader is Deidre Paknad.  Deidre is President & CEO of PSS Systems, an IBM Company.  Deidre is widely credited with having conceived of and launched the first commercial applications for legal holds, collections and retention management in 2004. A well-known thought leader in the legal and information governance domain, Deidre founded the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC), a professional community on retention and preservation that analyst firm IDC labeled a "think tank." She has been a member of several Sedona working groups since 2005 and leads the EDRM Information Management Reference Model (IMRM) working group.  Deidre is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with 20 years' experience applying technology to poor-functioning business processes to reduce cost and risk. Prior to PSS, she helped Certus launch its Sarbanes Oxley software solution. Deidre previously founded and was CEO of CoVia Technologies from 1996 to 2000, where she was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution for innovation in 1999 and again in 2000.

What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?

Well, certainly the social media explosion is one of the most talked about current trends.  Social media has brought about a huge change in the way we communicate, both personally and within organizations.  It’s one of the factors that is causing organizations to revisit where information comes from, where “messages” come from.  And, now there are more communications via social media than email.  In 2010, there were an estimated 1 trillion emails sent worldwide, but 89% of all emails sent is spam, so the number of “true emails” is far less, only about 110 billion.  Conversely, there were nearly 400 billion Facebook communications last year, over 700 billion views on YouTube and over 200 billion Twitter messages.  Organizations will have to face forward in addressing new sources of data and how to handle them as there will continue to be more social media communications (many viewed via mobile devices) with customers, employees, etc.  While most corporate social media tools today aren’t “discovery ready”, social and mobile media may level the information playing field between small and large litigants.

Another trend on which organizations are finally focusing more, that has been a significant focus of mine for some time, is information governance.  Since the Federal evidence rules were extended to electronic data in 2006, preservation sanctions are at an all-time high, despite the fact that organizations have adopted a mindset of “save everything”, which has led to unrestrained growth in data within organizations.  So, saving more data did not translate to less risk for organizations, but it did translate to more cost.  As noted in the 2009 Fulbright & Jaworski Litigation Report, the average cost to collect, cull and review information per case for large organizations has risen to $3 million, but the amount of that reviewed data that needed to be retained was only 30% and 70% was wasteful legal effort.   Even worse, organizations are spending 3.5% of revenues on information management – for the Fortune 50, that’s several billion dollars and a good chunk of it goes to managing unnecessary information and infrastructure.

Last year, the CGOC conducted a survey of legal, records management (RIM) and IT practitioners in Global 1000 companies and published the findings in an October report titled Information Governance Benchmark Report in Global 1000 Companies (You can request a copy of the report here and read eDiscovery Daily’s blog post about it here.).  75% of respondents identified the inability to defensibly dispose of data as their greatest challenge, and 70% of respondents indicated that they depend on “liaisons and people glue” to link discovery and regulatory obligations to information.  It’s an enterprise issue where Legal understands the obligations for data, business teams know the information value of the data and IT has the data, but no visibility to its obligations or business value.  So, there’s a big disconnect.

I think you’ll see that information governance and eDiscovery in general will become more connected to the overall business strategy.  When asked what they believe are the essential elements of information governance, 77% agreed retention schedules that reflect both regulatory and business needs and 85% of respondents agreed consistent collaboration and systematic linkage across legal, records and IT and were essential elements.  I think the Information Governance Benchmark Report has opened some eyes as to the importance of associating the legal obligations for and value of information to the assets IT is managing and the benefits of connecting legal, records and IT stakeholders and processes as an essential corporate strategy.

Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?

{Interviewed on the second afternoon of LTNY}  I think there’s some “retreading” of topics at this year’s show, for example, the Legal vs. IT keynote speech.  That’s really more of an issue for 2 or 3 years ago.  Legal and IT do collaborate narrowly on discovery responsiveness.  But the issues of the day are more at an overall company level – high costs and high risk associated with the unrestrained growth in data are caused by practices across the company, not just in the legal department.   Responding to discovery simply deals with the symptoms, but doesn’t treat the disease.

I think discussion about FRCP reform aimed at easing the burden of discovery is more timely and survey data from the CGOC community published in the legal holds and information governance benchmark reports provided evidence in the FRCP Preservation Comment of November 10, 2010 of the need to reshape the rules to reflect current needs.

What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Well, in addition to the significant reception that the information governance benchmark report has received, CGOC just conducted its 2011 Summit last month, with participation from a number of large corporations including Exxon Mobil, Travelers, Bank of America and Novartis.  The Summit included a number of presentations, and a mock discovery hearing conducted by Judge {Andrew J.} Peck {Magistrate Judge, SDNY} on how prevailing practices break down in cases like Harkabi where everyone took the right steps but still got the wrong results.  It also included breakout sessions for Legal, RIM and IT to discuss prevailing practices for discovery, retention and data disposal, improving processes within each of these departments to support the enterprise as well as starting and advancing the cross-functional dialogue between the departments.

I’m also very excited about the IMRM project within EDRM, a group I co-chair.  It aims to offer guidance and a responsibility framework for Legal, IT, Records Management, line-of-business leaders and other business stakeholders within organizations.  It’s an entirely new reference model that is a separate counterpart to EDRM and the model links the duty and value to information assets to result in efficient and effective management of information.

There is nothing I’m more excited about, however, than working with my new colleagues at IBM on solutions that help our customers to do rigorous, efficient eDiscovery, value-based retention, smarter archiving and defensible disposal. 

Thanks, Deidre, 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!

eDiscovery Trends: Jack Halprin of Autonomy

 

This is the fifth of the LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series.  eDiscoveryDaily interviewed several thought leaders at LTNY this year and asked each of them the same three questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?
  2. Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?
  3. What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Today’s thought leader is Jack Halprin.  As Vice President, eDiscovery and Compliance with Autonomy, Jack serves as internal and external legal subject matter expert for best practices and defensible processes around litigation, electronic discovery, legal hold, and compliance issues. He speaks frequently on enterprise legal risk management, compliance, and eDiscovery at industry events and seminars, and has authored numerous articles on eDiscovery, legal hold, social media, and knowledge management. He is actively involved in The Sedona Conference, ACC, and Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). With a BA in Chemistry from Yale University, a JD from the University of California-Los Angeles, and certifications from the California, Connecticut, Virginia and Patent Bars, Mr. Halprin has varied expertise that lends itself well to both the legal and technical aspects of electronic discovery collection and preservation.

What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?

If I look at the overall trends, social media and the cloud are probably the two hottest topics from a technology perspective and also a data management perspective.  From the legal perspective, you’re looking at preservation issues and sanctions as well as the idea of proportionality.  You also see a greater need for technology that can meet the needs of attorneys and understand the meaning of information.  More and more, everyone is realizing that keyword searches are lacking – they aren’t really as effective as everyone thinks they are.

We’re also starting to see two other technology related trends.  The industry is consolidating and customers are really starting to look for a single platform.  The current process of importing/exporting of data from storage to legal hold collection, to early case assessment, to review, to production and creating several extra copies of the documents in the process is not manageable going forward.  Customers want to be able to preserve in place, to analyze in place, and they don’t want to have to collect and duplicate the data again and again.  If you look at the left side of EDRM, the more proactive side, they don’t want put data or documents in a special repository unless it’s a true record that no one needs to access on a regular basis.  They want to work with active data where it lives.

You’ll see a reduction in the number of vendors in the next year or two, and the technology will not only be able to handle the current data sources, but the increased data volumes and new types of data we’re seeing.  Everyone is looking at social media and saying “how are we going to handle this”, when it’s really just another data source that has to be addressed.  Yes, it’s challenging because there is so much of it and it is even more conversational than email, taking it to a whole new level, but it’s really no different from other data sources.  A keyword search on a social media site is not going to net you the results you’re looking for, but conceptual search to understand the context of what people mean will help you identify the relevant information.  Growth rates are predicted at more than 60 percent for unstructured information, but social media is growing at a much faster clip.  A lot of people are looking at social media and moving to the cloud to manage this data, reducing some of the infrastructure costs, taking strain off the network and reducing their IT footprint.

Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?

{Interviewed on the first afternoon of LTNY}  I’ll take it first from the Autonomy perspective.  We have social media solutions, which we’ve had for our marketing business (Interwoven) for some time.  We’ve also had social media governance technology for quite some time as well, and we announced today new capabilities for identifying, preserving and collecting social media for eDiscovery, which is part of and builds on our end-to-end solution.  I haven’t spent much time on the floor yet, but based on everything I’ve seen in the eDiscovery space, a lot of people are talking about social media, but no one really understands how to address it.  You’ve got people scraping {social media} pages, but if you scrape the page without the active link or without capturing the context behind it, you’re missing the wealth of the information.  We’re taking a different approach, we take the entire page, including the context and active links.

There’s also a wide disparity in terms of the cloud.  Is it public?  Is it private?  How much control do you have over your data when it’s in the cloud?  You’ve got a lot of vendors out there that aren’t transparent about their data centers.  You’ve got vendors that say they’re SAS 70 Type II certified, but it’s their data center, not the vendor itself, that is certified.  So, who’s got the experience?  Every year at LegalTech, there are probably forty new vendors out there and the next year, half or more of them are gone.

As for the tone of the show, I think it’s certainly more upbeat than last year when attendance was down, and it’s a bit more “bouncy” this year.  With that in mind, you’ll continue to see acquisitions and you’ll have the issue companies merged through acquisition using different technologies and different search engines, meaning they’re not on a single platform and not really a single solution.  So, that gets back to the idea that customers are really looking for a single platform with a single engine underneath it.  That’s how we approach it, and I think others are trying to get to that point, but I don’t think there are many vendors there yet.  That’s where the trend is heading.

What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

In addition to the new social media eDiscovery capabilities described above, we’ve announced the Autonomy Chaining Console, which is a dashboard to provide corporate legal departments with greater visibility and defensibility across the entire process and to eliminate those risky data import/export handoffs through each step.  Many of the larger corporations have hundreds of cases, dozens of outside law firms, and terabytes of data to manage.  The process today is very “silo” oriented – data is sent to processing vendors, it is sent to law firms, etc.  So, you get these “weak links in the chain” where data can get lost and risks of spoliation and costs increase.  Autonomy announced the whole idea of chaining last year promoting the idea that we can seamlessly connect law firms and their corporate clients in a secure manner, so that the law firm can login to a secure portal and can manage the data that they’re allowed to access.  The Chaining Console strengthens that capability, and it adds Autonomy IDOL’s ability to understand meaning and allows corporate and outside counsel to look at the same data on the same solution.  It uses IDOL to determine potential custodians, understand fact patterns and identify other companies that may be involved by really analyzing the data and providing an understanding of what’s there.  It can also monitor and track risk, so you can set up certain policies around key issues; for example, insider trading, securities fraud, FCPA, etc.  Using those policies, it can alert you to the risks that are there and possibly identify the custodians that are engaging in risky behavior.  And, of course, it tracks the data from start to finish, giving corporate counsel, legal IT, IT, litigation support, litigation counsel as well as outside counsel a single view of the data on a single dashboard.  It strengthens our message and takes us to the next step in really providing the end-to-end platform for our clients.

We’ve also announced iManage in the cloud for legal information management in the cloud.  The cloud-based Information Management platform combines WorkSite, Records Manager, Universal Search, Process Automation and ConflictsManager to help attorneys manage the content throughout the matter lifecycle from inception to disposition.  It uses IDOL’s ability to group concepts, so if you have a conflict with Apple, it knows that you’re searching for terms related to Apple computer such as Mac, iPhone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Jonathon Ives and understands that these are related terms and individuals.  And, we’ve just announced the cloud-based version of that.  We’re already managing information governance in the cloud for a lot of our clients and the platform leverages our private cloud, which is the world’s largest private cloud with over 17 petabytes of data.

And, then we have a market leadership announcement with additional major law firms that are using our solutions, such as Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Brown Rudnick LLP, Fennemore Craig, etc.  So, we have four press releases with new developments at Autonomy that we’ve announced here at the show.

Thanks, Jack, 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!

eDiscovery Trends: Christine Musil of Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC)

 

This is the fourth of the LegalTech New York (LTNY) Thought Leader Interview series.  eDiscoveryDaily interviewed several thought leaders at LTNY this year and asked each of them the same three questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?
  2. Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?
  3. What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Today’s thought leader is Christine Musil.  Christine has a diverse career in engineering and marketing spanning 15 years. Christine has been with IGC since March 1996, when she started as a technical writer and a quality assurance engineer. After moving to marketing in 2001, she has applied her in-depth knowledge of IGC's products and benefits to marketing initiatives, including branding, overall messaging, and public relations. She has also been a contributing author to a number of publications on archiving formats, redaction, and viewing technology in the enterprise.

What do you consider to be the current significant trends in eDiscovery on which people in the industry are, or should be, focused?

For us, the biggest trend is elevation of the importance of eDiscovery, from what happens the minute you find out you have a lawsuit until the end of the case.  There’s a lot more discussion about how you can prevent it, how you can be better prepared, and I think that’s where the new buzzword, information governance, comes in.  We partner with OpenText and we partner with EMC on their content management side and we definitely see them pushing into the eDiscovery market to provide an end-to-end solution and stop trying to treat eDiscovery as an isolated issue. I think that the elevation of eDiscovery and inclusion of eDiscovery more into the regular business workflow of an organization is a pretty significant trend to watch.

Another trend that I see is an elevation of the use of search and how people can get more out of their searches to save time and cost.  This may be somewhat skewed based on our perspective in the market, but we’ve had a lot of requests for our redaction software to pick up the search that has already been done. Providers work so hard to come up with amazingly complicated algorithms to find data.  Why reinvent the wheel?  The companies all ask why all the other vendors can’t just take those search results and use it. 

Since you’ve written a white paper about native review and redaction, where do you see that heading?  Well, I hope that people will stop printing things out, scanning it back in to TIFF, then OCRing it and handing everybody back a disk of flat images and a separate disk with OCR text.  I sort of understand why they do it, but I think a less paranoid or adversarial approach through more effective “meet and confer” agreements on how you are going to present things are going to make it so much easier for everybody.  I hope in three to five years people say “I’m not afraid to hand you my native files because I know how to check them and know what metadata they contain and whether there are any tracked changes or other potential issues”.  So, the paranoia and fear that people have about the unknown that they can’t see in their documents and whether there is a smoking gun in there should die down.  I think people are getting smarter – now that they’re not producing paper – as to what  electronic files contain.  Hopefully, they will understand that native format is OK and when they need to redact, it’s OK to use PDF format to do so.  You tell the other side what you’re doing and what they’re going to get and it becomes a more open and well understood process.

I’m also on the EDRM XML committee and hope a standard load file format that transmits data seamlessly from one side to the other and contains all the information about what has been redacted, among other things, will make things easier on everybody, getting information through the process more seamlessly.  We’re writing white papers about the data set to educate the vendors on how to use it and I have high hopes for what we will be able to accomplish there.

Which of those trends are evident here at LTNY, which are not being talked about enough, and/or what are your general observations about LTNY this year?

{Interviewed on the first morning of LTNY}  Well, that’s hard since LegalTech just started [smiles].  I can tell you that in discussions with some of our partners, we’re seeing more support for mobile devices, support for the iPad, etc., to help lawyers work wherever they are and be more efficient wherever they are.  And, I think that literally goes all the way to the courtroom.  So, you’re seeing support for more devices and smaller screens, wherever attorneys get information.

What are you working on that you’d like our readers to know about?

I’m moderating a panel discussion {at LegalTech} titled, The Debate on Native Format Production and Redaction, which includes Craig Ball, George Socha, Tom O’Connor and Browning Marean.  I wrote a white paper last year entitled The Reality of Native Format Production and Redaction, which has inspired this panel discussion here at LegalTech.  So, that should be informative and interesting.  We’ve noticed that there’s just an awful lot of confusion in terms of what’s really required and what’s acceptable and the white paper and panel discussion really speaks to that.  We’re trying to educate our customers and help our partners educate their clients.

The other thing we’re announcing here is the release of integration to OpenText eDOCS.  We’ve been partners with OpenText for content management since 2002 and are very excited to extend our partnership to include this new area. eDOCS has a great presence in the legal space and we look forward to working with them.

Thanks, Christine, 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!