Sandline Discovery - Insight, Ideas and eDiscovery
The June 26, 2018 Master's Conference was a great day full of insight and advice from the Denver area legal community. We took a lot of notes so we thought it made sense to share a few of the themes that developed and bubbled to the top throughout the day. Let us know what you think or if you picked up on any additional themes. And for an overall recap of the event, see our earlier post: Master's Conference Denver - First Impression.
1. Know what data you have
Sounds easy but it often isn’t. The larger the organization, the harder it is to keep track of all the systems in use and the types of data these systems generate. One thing everyone seemed to agree on is that data surprises generally mean more time and money, and stress.
Advice: Know your systems and where to find the data they generate. Invest some time in data mapping and create a litigation plan that includes a strategy for locating and collecting data that is likely to be relevant in an investigation or litigation.
Change is inevitable but it’s never easy, and it’s often unwelcome. There happens to be a lot of change in the legal business right now. Much of this change has to do with changing expectations from corporations and in-house legal teams. As clients get more sophisticated, their expectations influence how they consume services from Law Firms and Service Providers. In turn, Law Firms and Service Providers must react, which creates change in hiring, innovation and technology development.
Advice: Everyone agreed that early and often communication is a must for surviving change. Also, identify your stakeholders, system owners and all points of impact before implementing any major change. Try to anticipate any negative impacts and head them off in advance and be aware of (and in touch with) any detractors before an implementation. Be sure that you have policies in place and that you’re moving toward supporting those policies.
3. Mobile Data
In case you thought it wasn’t, mobile data is still a challenge. Sure, there has been recent innovation around some of the challenges in collecting, reviewing and producing mobile data but there’s still a lot of room for improvement and experts seem to agree that mobile forensic tools are perpetually trying to catch up to constantly evolving mobile devices and applications. Additionally, BYOD mobile device collection is a new and complicated challenge. And to make things even more complicated, there’s been a trend toward increased acceptance of text messaging as an acceptable medium for business communication.
Advice: See point #1 on the list. Be sure to have policies in place to address mobile device use. Don’t forget a BYOD policy if that’s something you support. In addition to a clear BYOD policy, use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) software will help prepare for preservation and collection of mobile data. A good MDM solution will help you with point #1 as well.
4. Social Media and other Emerging Data
Everyone knows that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram data have become increasingly relevant in discovery. There are a few good solutions for collecting these data sources, but review and production is another story. While software companies are working to improve traditional Social Media (SM) processing, new SM and communication data types pop up daily and present new challenges for us all. Slack, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Snapchat and others are now part of the conversation and will become an even more integral part in the very near future.
Advice: Again, see point #1- know your data. Create policies and procedures. Here are few questions to consider: Do you know how your users/employees are using SM? How do you monitor SM use? What SM is required for business use? Do you have public facing company SM accounts or profiles? If so, who owns that data and how will you preserve and collect it if necessary?
Most people already agree that collaboration is better than working in a silo. Something relatively new, though, is that there’s a shift in collaboration taking place in the legal world. There’s a new type of collaboration emerging between clients, outside counsel and service providers. For a few examples of factors influencing the need for stronger collaboration, see points 1-4. Add changes to the FRCP, GDPR, changing US regulations, legal tech startups, remote teams, lean organizations, FinTech, big data, AI, blockchain- you get the idea. No one can be everything to all people anymore.
Advice: Understand that there is an across-the-board shift in collaboration between Clients, Outside Counsel and Service Providers. The most successful type of collaboration is one based on partnerships, preferably long-term partnerships, between teams of people with focused expertise. Know your people and know your own expertise. Choose partners who add value, choose wisely after careful vetting, and then let your partners do their job!
Written by Dan Cohen
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