It’s 2021! Time to Break Some Eggs!

Breaking Eggs

It’s 2021! Time to Break Some Eggs!
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

If that title seems confusing to you, it will (hopefully) make more sense by the end of this post!

After the crazy year in 2020 that we all just experienced, perhaps no year has represented a better chance for a fresh start than 2021.  Most of us can’t distance ourselves from 2020 soon enough and look to this year for growth and improvement in all areas, both personal and professional.  This is the time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions as individuals.  For many of us each year, the resolution is to “get in shape” – which is why you’ve probably noticed so many ads these days for diet plans and exercise equipment!  Personally, I’m glad right now that Zoom meetings only show me from the shoulders up!

It’s a time for organizations to “get in shape” as well and look to become more efficient and effective in their business operations.  New year beginnings are often the best time to embrace innovation, including the use of best practices and technology to help achieve those goals.  But many organizations resist because change is difficult and it’s more comfortable sticking with established manual processes that may not be near as efficient as they could be.

“Ne saurait faire d’omelette sans casser des œufs”

Didn’t expect a French lesson in this post, did you?  So, what does that phrase mean?  Translated into English, it means “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs”!  That phrase which you’re probably much more familiar with was originated in the 1700s by French Royalist soldier and politician François de Charette.  The idea behind that famous phrase is that to achieve a goal, something else often must be destroyed to do so.  Disruption is necessary for growth.  From a personal standpoint, that means we must change our habits to diet and exercise more if we want to get in better shape.  From a business standpoint, that means that we must get out of our “comfort zone” to achieve innovation.

I’ll Do You a SOLID

However, that doesn’t mean you have to do it without help.  There are many resources out there, such as blogs (including this one), webinars and more.  And there are also several eDiscovery events to learn more about best practices, technology and innovation.  Earlier this week, I covered a list of 2021 eDiscovery-related events, conferences, and meetings courtesy of Rob Robinson’s Complex Discovery blog (link to his list here).  It’s a great resource that continues to be updated regularly as events are added or dates for events are announced, so I highly recommend that you consider bookmarking that link to stay current on event updates.

Currently, the first event on the list is SOLID Winter 2021 on January 28 and 29.  Founded by David Cowen (who also founded The Cowen Group), SOLID events are summits where speakers give TED-STYLE talks around the intersection of innovation, advanced technology and the business of law. They share what they are doing, how they are doing it, and the business impact it has.  Those talks are then followed by facilitated table talks, sprint panels, and town hall discussions, where participants discuss what they’ve learned and how to apply these lessons to their own organizations.  SOLID provides participants with maximum interaction with peers and colleagues in a round table, workshop environment to assess current challenges and design concrete solutions.

Normally, of course, SOLID is an in-person event conducted a couple of times a year, but, in these pandemic-influenced times of social distancing, the Winter event (at least) is being conducted as a virtual event.  And Ipro is a sponsor and participant of the SOLID Winter 2021 event!  You can register for it here on the Ipro events page.

Are You Hungry for Innovation?

A new year is about new beginnings and that includes being shaken out of your “comfort zone” to try new ways of doing things, whether that’s related to personal or professional situations and goals.  From a legal technology standpoint, it’s about innovating to leverage best practices and advanced technology to improve workflows and processes.  eDiscovery is about workflows and, sometimes, you’ve got to “break a few eggs” to update those workflows to incorporate those latest innovations.  There’s never been a better time to innovate than right now.  If you don’t, you might wind up with “egg on your face”.

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between Ipro and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the Ipro Newsroom next week with more educational content!

Five Must-Read eDiscovery Cases from 2020

Case Law 2020

Five Must-Read eDiscovery Cases from 2020
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

It’s that time of year when you look back at “the best of”…well, anything and everything!  Even a year like 2020, which has been challenging (to say the least) for many of us, there are still “best of” items we can take a look back at from the year.  Why should blog topics be any different?

Ipro has already done so with the “best of” their terrific “eDiscovery Blues” legal comic strip for the year here.  And, earlier this week, they also identified their top 10 articles of the year here.  I’m honored that two of the articles were written by me and I covered the top article on eDiscovery Today here.  Needless to say, Ipro’s acquisition of NetGovern was one of the most notable acquisitions of the year and reminded us that M&A activity can even happen within a pandemic.

With that in mind, I’ve identified five case rulings (technically, seven or eight opinions) that you need to read which occurred in 2020 – with links to resources about the cases, including eDiscovery Today (of course!) and why you need to know about them.  Are they the “best of” cases for 2020?  You make the call.

#5-E.E.O.C. v. M1 5100 Corp.: In this EEOC case regarding age discrimination, at specific issue was the fact that defense counsel allowed two employees of the client to identify and collect ESI to respond to requests for production with no oversight from counsel at all. Despite no knowledge of the process the client undertook to gather information (which resulted in only 22 pages of documents produced), counsel signed the responses to the RFP’s in violation of FRCP Rule 26(g).  Whoops.

While Florida Magistrate Judge William Matthewman (who’s a very eDiscovery savvy judge and a nice guy to boot) stated that the self-collection without adequate supervision “greatly troubles and concerns the Court”, because there were still five months remaining before the discovery cut-off, he gave the defendant a chance to comply with its obligations and ordered the parties to meet and confer.  Had the discovery period ended, I expect there would have been a different result.  Covered here: eDiscovery Today, Ipro blog by Jim Gill, ACEDS #CaseoftheWeek with Kelly Twigger of eDiscovery Assistant.

#4-U.S. v. Sam: In the one criminal case on the five cases list, there were two examinations of the defendant’s cell phone, including one by the FBI, for which the defendant sought to suppress any evidence.  Regarding the FBI examination, the FBI removed Mr. Sam’s phone from police department inventory, powered the phone on, and took a photograph of the lock screen, which showed the name “STREEZY” right underneath the time and date.

With regard to the FBI examination, Washington District Judge John C. Coughenour stated: “The FBI therefore ‘searched’ the phone within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment…And because the FBI conducted the search without a warrant, the search was unconstitutional.”  As a result, he granted the defendant’s motion regarding the FBI examination.  So, a mere viewing of the lock screen on the phone in this case constituted an unconstitutional search.  Wow.  Covered here: eDiscovery Today.

#3-McMaster v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, Inc.: In ruling on search terms, Michigan Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen cited United States v. O’Keefe, 537 F. Supp. 2d 14, 23–24 (D.D.C. 2008), which stated: “for lawyers and judges to dare opine that a certain search term or terms would be more likely to produce information than the terms that were used is truly to go where angels fear to tread.”  Judge Whalen stated: “I, for one, have no interest in going where angels fear to tread. Therefore, if the parties cannot agree on appropriately limited search terms, they will share the cost of retaining an expert to assist them. If they still cannot agree, then Plaintiff may renew his motion regarding the search terms, and will provide the Court with an expert report substantiating his position.”

This is one of my favorite rulings because I see so many judges attempt to rule on search terms in a vacuum, so I really liked this ruling.  If only Judge Whalen had ruled the same way in this case.  Covered by: eDiscovery Today, EDRM Case Law Webinar September 2020.

#2-WeRide Corp. v. Huang et al.: While this case had a comedy of errors (or better said, a tragedy of spoliation events), including destroyed email, wiped devices and failure to produce source code at the heart of the case, perhaps the most unique transgression by the defendants was when the defendant’s CEO after the preliminary injunction was issued requested that the employees begin to use an ephemeral messaging app (DingTalk) that deletes messages after they’ve been sent and read.

California District Judge Edward J. Davila granted the plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions through FRCP Rules 37(b) and 37(e), issuing terminating sanctions against defendants Wang, Huang, and AllRide and ordering them to “pay WeRide’s reasonable fees and costs”, as well.  Covered by: eDiscovery Today and Ipro blog by Jim Gill.

#1-Lawson v. Spirit Aerosystems, Inc.: This is the case that just kept giving this year – with three rulings that I covered alone.  It regarded the defendant’s alleged breach of a retirement agreement with the plaintiff due to plans by an investment firm to install the plaintiff as CEO of an aircraft component manufacturer.  The parties had a lot of discovery disputes, with the Court having previously established a search protocol for the parties, where the parties were directed to try to achieve an 85% responsiveness rate.

Eventually the plaintiff pushed for the defendant to conduct TAR on a 322,000 document set, even though sampling indicated only 5% would be responsive (but still largely irrelevant to the dispute) and the Court warned the plaintiff that cost-shifting could occur if the TAR process went forward.  After TAR, only 3.3% of the documents were responsive and the defendant sought cost shifting in its TAR expenses (initially estimated at $400,000 in vendor costs and $200,000 in law firm fees).

Kansas Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell granted the defendant’s Motion to Shift Costs of Technology Assisted Review of ESI to the plaintiff, ruling “the ESI/TAR process became disproportionate to the needs of the case” after having previously warned the plaintiff that inability to focus ESI requests would result in the court shifting costs.  A subsequent ruling set those costs at over $750K, which was then upheld by the District Court.  Covered by: eDiscovery Today (here, here and here), eDiscovery Journal (here and here), ACEDS #CaseoftheWeek with Kelly Twigger of eDiscovery Assistant, EDRM Case Law Webinar October 2020 and EDRM Case Law Webinar November 2020.  Whew!

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!  And, goodbye 2020!

For more educational topics from me related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, feel free to follow my blog, eDiscovery Today!

Ipro’s Top eDiscovery and Information Governance Articles of 2020

Ipro 2020 Blog Recap

Ipro’s Top eDiscovery and Information Governance Articles of 2020

2020 was a year to remember (or maybe forget), but there was still so much happening in the world of eDiscovery and Information Governance, and the Ipro Newsroom was there to cover it. Here are the top 10 articles of 2020!

  1. Ipro Announces the Acquisition of NetGovern, Driving Innovation Across Information Governance & eDiscovery

Read how joining these two global companies and their technologies will provide the most innovative workflow in the legal industry, extending across the entire Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) from Information Governance, to In-Place Early Data Assessment, through eDiscovery and beyond.

  1. Ipro’s Quick Recap of LegalTech NY 2020 

It seems like ages since any of us were at a live event, but 2020 started with LegalWeek NY and Ipro was there to report on lots of great content.

  1. Zoom Boom: eDiscovery Considerations Around Videoconferencing

There has been a lot of talk about Zoom this year, and Ipro was one of the first to unpack eDiscovery considerations around the video conferencing platform back in March.

  1. What is Hybrid eDiscovery and How Will it Shape the Future of Legaltech? 

With the COVID 19 pandemic, many legal teams leveraged eDiscovery services to get the job done, showing why a hybrid approach of services and software continues to be a trend.

  1. Legal Stakeholders and the Information Governance Reference Model

Doug Austin, editor of eDiscovery Today, wrote this excellent 6-part series about the Information Governance Reference Model. This entry on Legal Stakeholders was the most read, but be sure to read them all!

  1. Legal Operations and KPIs: Where to Start

Some aspects of a successful team aren’t measurable, but many of them are. That’s why more and more legal teams are tracking and measuring KPIs to gain efficiencies and reduce costs.

  1. Time to Update Your eDiscovery SWOT Analysis! (If You Even Have One)

Periodically, it’s a good idea to reassess your SWOT analysis and update as appropriate to address changing environmental opportunities and threats.  And with the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on so many businesses, there has never been a better time to consider updating your SWOT analysis – or creating one in the first place if you didn’t already have one.

  1. How Case Managers Bridge the Gap Between eDiscovery Software & Services: An Interview with Lori Bregenzer

This is a great interview with eDiscovery veteran and Ipro Case Manager, Lori Bregenzer, where she talks about her experience helping legal teams bridge the gap by leveraging eDiscovery services.

  1. The Growth of Automotive Data, the CCPA, and eDiscovery

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is now being enforced, and with that more and more data compliance issues will arise for legal teams. This article takes a look at how the automotive industry and started to address data concerns.

  1. Case Law: eDiscovery Isn’t About DIY but Collaboration

It’s always important to see how the courts are ruling on issues around the eDiscovery process. In the end, judges often point back to the need for collaboration between all the parties.




Here Are 27.7 Billion Reasons Why Collaboration Apps Have Become So Important in eDiscovery

collaboration apps eDiscovery

Here Are 27.7 Billion Reasons Why Collaboration Apps Have Become So Important in eDiscovery
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

If you missed the webinar (Taming the eDiscovery and Governance Dragon: Experts Discuss Slack, Microsoft Teams and Other Collaboration Platforms) that I did last month with Ipro colleagues Charles Nguyen (Director of Strategic Partnerships), Frederic Bourget (VP Products) and Jim Gill (Content Marketing Manager), you can still watch it here – it was great and I learned a lot from the other panelists!  During the webinar, I relayed my Yogi Berra analogy as to why collaboration apps have become so important in eDiscovery today.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch it yet (you will, won’t you?!?), here is the essence of the analogy.

If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you probably know who Yogi Berra was. But, if you don’t, he was a famous player who had an interesting way with words and had various sayings (“Yogi-isms”) that caught on in the public eye because they were so oddly humorous – sayings such as “it’s never over ‘til it’s over” and “it gets late early out there”, referring to how dark a part of the outfield got before the rest of the field due to shadows during sunset.

When I think of email collections today, it reminds me of the Yogi Berra quote when a reporter asked him about a particular New York restaurant and he said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Think about that for a minute – it seems like a silly and stupid (yet funny) statement.  But, when you think about email communications today, we all get so many emails that it’s easy to miss important ones, or not be able to respond to them very quickly.  So, what are more people doing if they need to get hold of a co-worker or client in a hurry?  They’re sending texts and instant messages through messaging systems like Teams or Slack.  It’s getting to the point more and more that when you want to reach someone in a hurry via email, it’s become “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

See what I mean?  Silly and stupid, but logical nonetheless – at least in this context.

So, what does that mean for eDiscovery?  It means that there are more of those communications from other sources than ever – not just personal, non work-related communications, but actual work communications that are important and relevant.  A lot of people think of public and private text and messaging communications as relevant only for certain cases like personal injury and family law cases.  But, today, they’re likely to be relevant in most, if not all cases, because so many important work communications are being funneled through these apps.

What does that have to do with 27.7 billion reasons why collaboration apps have become so important – in many facets, not just eDiscovery?  Well, nothing.  But this does – last week, Salesforce agreed to acquire Slack for $27.7 billion.  That’s not Dr. Evil $100 billion territory, but as Larry David would say it’s “pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.”

According to an article in TechCrunch, Salesforce president and COO Bret Taylor said that “the Slack deal was worth the money because it really allows his company to bring together all the pieces of their platform, one that has expanded over the years from pure CRM to include marketing, customer service, data visualization, workflow and more. Taylor also said that having Slack gives Salesforce a missing communication layer on top of its other products, something especially important when interactions with customers, partners or fellow employees have become mostly digital.”

Interactions “with customers, partners or fellow employees” – gee, do you think those are discoverable when litigation happens?  You bet they are!

As Charles, Frederic, Jim and I discussed during the webinar, many organizations are not only using a collaboration app – they’re often using more than one.  I’ve seen organizations use Microsoft Teams for one Department (like Sales) and Slack for another department, like Product or Customer Success.  Slack Is especially popular as a communication platform for development teams.  As a result, in many cases, you may not only have data from one collaboration app to address in discovery, you may have data from two or three collaboration apps.  And, don’t even get me started on ephemeral messaging, for which a policy needs to be put in place before litigation even happens!  Otherwise, you could be spoliating data as soon as it does happen.

So, I’ve given you not only 27.7 billion reasons why collaboration apps have become so important in eDiscovery, I’ve given you that and a reason from Yogi Berra to boot!  What more do you need?

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between Ipro and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the Ipro Newsroom next week with more educational content!

The Best of “eDiscovery Blues” Legal Comic Strip in 2020

eDiscovery Blues Legal Comic

The Best of “eDiscovery Blues” Legal Comic Strip in 2020

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2020Written by Jim Gill
Content Chief, Ipro

Humor isn’t necessary in eDiscovery, but it sure helps. Which is why Ipro has created our own comic strip, eDiscovery Blues™ and included them with articles highlighting insights and best-practices across the legal technology spectrum.

Here is a recap of the best eDiscovery Blues posts from 2020!


  1. Introducing Ipro’s Legal Technology Comic Strip “eDiscovery Blues”


  1. Workflow Woes: How Paralegals Can Create and Maintain Effective eDiscovery Processes
paralegals eDiscovery Workflows


  1. Why Do Attorneys Feel Mired in “Low-Value Work?”
attorneys low value work


  1. 3 Challenges Corporate Legal Teams Face With BYOD
corporate legal BYOD


  1. Stacks on Stacks: Survey Shows Increased FOIA Requests Still a Challenge
FOIA Requests Survey


  1. How to Get Flawless Productions Every Time: eDiscovery Production Checklist
eDiscovery Productions Checklist


  1. What is In-Place Preservation and How Does It Affect Your eDiscovery Workflow
In-Place Preservation


  1. Courtroom Drama: Trial Presentation Best Practices for the Virtual Courtroom
Trial Presentation Virtual Courtroom


  1. ROT Removal: Why Information Governance is Vital for Corporate eDiscovery
eDiscovery Information Governance


  1. Robots Are Your Friends: The Need for Artificial Intelligence in eDiscovery
artificial intelligence eDiscovery


  1. More than Drawing a Black Box: How to Get Redactions Right for eDiscovery Production
How to Get eDiscovery Redactions Right


  1. Why the Connection Between Biometric Data and eDiscovery Will Continue to Grow
biometric data eDiscovery


  1. eDiscovery Software Gives Distributed Legal Teams the Agility & Collaboration They Need
distributed eDiscovery teams


  1. Why Legal Departments Need a Tech Translator for Privacy, Compliance & eDiscovery
Legal Privacy Tech


  1. How Government Agencies Walk the Line with Legacy Software
Government agencies legacy software



eDiscovery Day is Needed More than Ever in 2020

eDiscovery Day 2020

eDiscovery Day is Needed More than Ever in 2020

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2020Written by Jim Gill
Content Chief, Ipro

This year has definitely thrown a wrench into the works when it comes to the usual industry events we’re used to attending. Everyone adjusted to virtual gatherings and made the best of it (we’re all in this together, right?) but it wasn’t quite the same. But one thing that is consistent in 2020 is eDiscovery Day!

Now in its 6th year, eDiscovery Day has always been an industry event where everyone can participate, no matter their location. The vendor-agnostic event is the brainchild of eDiscovery thought-leader and Exterro Sr. Managing Director of Marketing, Mike Hamilton. According to the eDiscovery Day website, “eDiscovery Day is one of the largest nationwide gatherings of legal professionals. It’s a day that allows us to celebrate the increasingly important role we play as attorneys, litigators, e-discovery specialists, paralegals and in-house counsel in the Legal GRC space.” This year boasts 31 supporters, 20 downloadable resources, 11 webcasts, and 7 virtual events, all in a single day, which is December 3rd this year.

And speaking of webcasts, Ipro and ACEDS are hosting a webinar at 2pm ET:  A Year of Transition for eDiscovery: What We Learned in 2020

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, law firms, corporate legal teams, ALSPs, and the courts have all had to make adjustments. As we come to the end of the year, it’s important to consider how these changes will affect the industry for 2021 and beyond.

I’ll be hosting the webinar on behalf of Ipro and talking with industry leaders Brad Blickstein and Michael Quartararo discuss the past year and what may lie ahead.

In this webinar we will discuss:

  • The effect of remote work on the legal industry
  • Significant Rulings and Laws in 2020
  • Changes to eDiscovery Workflow / Technology
  • How to Prepare for 2021

.So on December 3rd, be sure to take part in all the great events going on and celebrate our industry in the process. It has definitely been a year to remember, for better or worse, and we all deserve a little celebration.

Register for Ipro’s eDiscovery Day Webinar here!


This Year, the Spread of COVID-19 May Only Be Matched by the Spread of Cyber Attacks

cyber attacks

This Year, the Spread of COVID-19 May Only Be Matched by the Spread of Cyber Attacks
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

We’re all familiar with how quickly COVID-19 cases have spread across the world and it seems as though it’s only getting worse.  Here in the US, many expect a surge even from the numbers we’ve seen so far after many Americans traveled around the country during the Thanksgiving holidays.  We hear about the challenges containing the virus on the news every day.  We don’t hear about the spread of cyber attacks on the news every day, but that seems to be surging as well.  Here are a few statistics to provide some context to the current cyber-dilemma many organizations face today:

  • Cyber attacks reached 445 million incidents in the first quarter this year: According to Arkose Labs (reported here), a spike in online fraud was experienced in the first quarter of 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with fraud and abuse attempts comprising 5% of all transactions;
  • Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks were up 200% from April to May 2020: As reported here, these BEC attacks focused on invoice or payment fraud typically involve a much bigger financial loss than many cyber attacks as they are aimed at business to business transactions;
  • Between January and April 2020, cloud-based attacks escalated by 630%: According to McAfee (reported here), this swelling in cloud-based attacks is correlated with the rise in the usage of cloud services and collaboration tools, such as Zoom, Slack, Microsoft 365, etc.;
  • Cyber attacks against banks rose by 238% due to COVID-19: According to ATM Marketplace (again reported here), they jumped particularly between the months of February and April;
  • Global ransomware reports were over seven times higher for the first six months of 2020: According to Bitdefender’s Mid-Year Threat Landscape Report 2020 (which I covered here), the total number of global ransomware reports increased by 08 percent Year-over-Year (YoY);
  • At the World Health Organization (WHO), phishing attacks increased by 15 times during the first two weeks of March compared to the entire month of January: As reported here, medical questionnaires and passport copies of more than 2,300 patients at one facility were leaked on the dark web.

Cyber attacks are even beginning to cost lives.  According to the New York Times, the first known death from a cyber attack was reported back in September after cyber criminals hit a hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany, with a ransomware attack that caused a woman in a life-threatening condition to be sent to a hospital 20 miles away where she died because of treatment delays.

So, the stakes are not only high, in some cases, they are literally a matter of life and death.  Of course, this means any system or platform could be vulnerable, including those your organization uses for information governance and eDiscovery.  Here are five best practices to protect your own organization against cyber attacks:

  1. Use strong unique passwords and change them often: Passwords should be a complex mix of numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters and they need to be changed often, so organizations should require this. As end users, don’t use the same password everywhere as once it’s guessed in one platform, that enables cyber criminals access to others.
  2. Avoid pop-ups, links and unknown emails: Phishers try to trick you into clicking on an item that may result in a security breach. When in doubt, confirm with the IT department before clicking on any item that could be suspicious.
  3. Keep your software updated: Operating systems, security software, even end-user platforms should be updated to the latest version to maximize protections as cyber criminals are always taking advantage of flaws in older software.
  4. Back up your files: The ability to recover quickly if hit with a ransomware attack starts with current backups of your data and a sound plan for disaster recovery.
  5. Train, train, train: Make sure all of your employees are current on cyber security best practices and how to address various threats. It only takes one person to make a mistake to allow a breach into your organization.

Just as social distancing and wearing masks can help minimize the spread of COVID-19, following the best practices above can minimize the spread of cyber attacks to keep your organization “healthy” and secure.

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between Ipro and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the Ipro Newsroom next week with more educational content!

Five Reasons Why Organizations May Be (Or Should Be) Bringing More Discovery In-House

in-house eDiscovery

Five Reasons Why Organizations May Be (Or Should Be) Bringing More Discovery In-House
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

It’s a little early to be making Christmas analogies.  Then again, the stores already have their Christmas decorations out and Black Friday sales are already here in many online retailers, so maybe not.  Regardless, one of my favorite Christmas specials (yes, I still watch the ones I grew up with as a kid) is A Charlie Brown Christmas for a variety of reasons: the music by the Vince Guaraldi trio, the “true” meaning of Christmas, how adorable Snoopy is, etc.  And, of course, there are several cute scenes throughout the show.  One scene happens when Linus is given his script during the first rehearsal for the Christmas play and he remarks towards Lucy that he “can’t memorize something like this so quickly” and asks for “one reason” as to why he should be put through such agony by memorizing the lines.  Lucy walks up to him and says “I’ll give you five good reasons” and proceeds to count from one to five as she closes her fingers, one-by-one, up into a fist.  Linus quickly responds that “those are good reasons!”.

The way 2020 has gone, perhaps Lucy was about 55 years before her time?  Just kidding…

Regardless of Lucy’s persuasion skills, I will give you five reasons why organizations today may be (or maybe should be) bringing more discovery in-house.  And I’ll do it in a kindler, gentler fashion than the way Lucy might do it.

Reason #1: Technology is Moving More to the Data

Did you see my blog post from last week?  If you missed it, I’ll give you a brief recap and a link to it here for more information.  The enormous growth of big data combined with tightening timeframes for discovery have forced organizations more and more to push discovery processes earlier in the EDRM lifecycle. In 2025, the digital universe of data will grow from 0.1 zettabytes in 2005 to around 163 zettabytes, or over 163 trillion gigabytes – over 1,630 times the amount of data that existed when the EDRM model was created.  Yet, you may have as few as 70 days to understand your data well enough to be ready for the Rule 26(f) meet and confer.  Big Data combined with shortened time frames generates a need to move technology to the data to filter and cull that data in place – moving much less of it forward.  And that need only continues to strengthen.

Reason #2: Budgets are as Constrained As They’ve Ever Been

Every quarter, Rob Robinson’s Complex Discovery blog issues an eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey, which surveys eDiscovery professionals about their confidence in the business of eDiscovery.  One of the questions Rob asks every quarter is which factor (out of six choices) they feel will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months.  In the Summer survey conducted back in July (which I covered here), the top factor was Budgetary Constraints, which was selected by a majority (56%) of the respondents as being most impactful over the next six months, more than the other five factors combined.  Certainly, organizations are more constrained by budgetary concerns since the pandemic began, which means that many are bringing more discovery work in house to save costs.

Reason #3: Litigation is On the Rise

If the New York Times says it, then it must be true, right?  More litigation means more to manage, not just from collection to production, but in terms of preservation and legal holds.  Organizations have no choice but to take a more active role in managing those processes because many more of them have multiple holds to manage.  Retention and destruction policies need to be interwoven into the management of legal holds more than ever, so that organizations can keep track of when data can be defensibly deleted.  In-house legal is one of the five stakeholder groups of the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM) and is critical to the effort of linking the two.

Reason #4: Compliance Needs Are Growing

Because of the changing data privacy landscape with new regulations like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other data privacy legislation, organizations have many more compliance requirements than ever before.  Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) are a recent phenomenon that didn’t even exist several years ago, and organizations are having to address discovery for those using in-house resources.

Reason #5: Desire to Maintain More Control

With greater demands from a data and time frame standpoint, more litigation, more compliance requirements and tighter budgets, what would you do?  And I didn’t even mention growing cybersecurity concerns since the pandemic as the workforce remains largely remote (here is just one stat that illustrates that issue).  When times get tough, many organizations tend to retrench and try to maintain more control.  Even to the extent that organizations are outsourcing services, they’re probably scrutinizing that spend a lot more closely.  One way they’re doing that is getting more involved in managing the technology being used by outside counsel and service providers, whether that technology is cloud-based or on-premise.

Hopefully, my reasons were more compelling – and less threatening – than Lucy’s reasons to Linus for memorizing his script!

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between Ipro and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the Ipro Newsroom next week with more educational content!

From Motions to Money: How eDiscovery Technology Gives Small to Medium Law Firms 6 Big Wins

Wilson Turner Kosmo Case Study

From Motions to Money: How eDiscovery Technology Gives Small to Medium Law Firms 6 Big Wins

“The way Ipro has listened to clients over the years and made changes accordingly has been extremely helpful and impactful to our practice.” Justin Peña, Sr. Paralegal, Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP

As San Diego’s largest certified women-owned law firm and one of California’s largest, Wilson Turner Kosmo is an award-winning firm serving small businesses to Fortune 100 companies in labor & employment, business litigation, class action, and related matters within manufacturing, retail, restaurants and hospitality, health care, real estate, public entity, banking, transportation, oil and gas, technology, pharmaceutical, and other industries.

In order to meet their clients’ needs, Wilson Turner Kosmo’s growing team of paralegals are responsible for technology-driven tasks such as data collection, processing, setup, and review.

Historically, paralegals ran the eDiscovery workflow through Concordance, but as the firm evolved, they needed a more robust platform. New and expanding practice areas in labor & employment and business groups meant more emails and other electronically stored information (ESI) to deal with.

After a comprehensive vetting process, Wilson Turner Kosmo selected Ipro Eclipse SE + Trial Director, with plans to upgrade to the all-new Ipro for Desktop shortly. The firm has also utilized the Ipro Services Team when datasets on class actions suits grows beyond internal housing. In these instances, they were able to scale up to Ipro’s Enterprise solution in the cloud.

Six Big Wins from the Ipro eDiscovery Solution:

“PSA: The more you know…” Justin Peña, Sr. Paralegal, Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP

Win #1: Motions

Attorneys found that reviewing deposition transcripts with issue tags enabled them to write motions for summary judgment quicker and more efficiently. Not surprisingly, this helped them win more motions.

Win #2: Simplicity

As of January 2020, all parties in California must identify documents as they relate to a party’s production requests. With Ipro, the firm increased its ability to work within its current workflow to identify those production requests. The paralegals were able to tag documents for production, create coding forms, and then create fields to include an RFP number. Once it’s done, they then create a report to comply with the statute.

“The process is not cumbersome at all, and it’s extremely helpful for attorneys who aren’t so tech-savvy.” Justin Peña, Sr. Paralegal, Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP

Win #3: Size

Ipro allows the firm to unitize, or in other words, split documents. (For example, personnel files that come as one large PDF with up to 200 pages). By unitizing, they can separate privileged documents and other items that do not need to be produced from the review pass.

“We constantly use this feature. We have looked at other products and some don’t have it which was a deal-breaker because we use it so much. Justin Peña, Sr. Paralegal, Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP

Win #4: Interconnectivity

One of the biggest benefits the firm found is the ability to review transcripts to create issue tags, link documents to exhibits, and to review those deposition transcripts for other deposition prep, trial, and arbitration.

“From a green standpoint, I’m always in favor of a workflow method that eliminates the need to print and prepare binders.” Justin Peña, Sr. Paralegal, Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP

Win #5: Speed

The persistent highlighting feature, which has keywords custom-developed on the backend, enables the team to instantly create a set of words and have a consistent highlighted color, allowing for much quicker review.

Win #6: Savings

In addition to being able to serve its clients more effectively and more quickly, Wilson Turner Kosmo now saves its clients’ money.

“Our goal is to be more efficient because of how busy we are. In California, the competition is high, and people are trying to reduce legal costs and provide value added service to their clients” Justin Peña, Sr. Paralegal, Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP




Data and Time Frames Are Forcing a Shift in eDiscovery Workflows

eDiscovery Workflows

Data and Time Frames Are Forcing a Shift in eDiscovery Workflows
Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

When I was growing up, there was a commercial on TV for Wolf Brand chili where the spokesman – Lee (Pop) Myres always said “Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand chili? Well, that’s too long!”

Well, “neighbor”, how long has it been since you heard me talk about the challenges of “Big data” and accelerated discovery time frames?  Well, that’s too long!  Actually, I don’t think I’ve talked about it on the Ipro blog before, but it continues to be one of the biggest challenges lawyers face today.

The Enormous Growth of Big Data

You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “Big data” before, but, in case you haven’t, it’s the term used to describe the large volume and variety of data – both structured and unstructured – that overloads a business on a day to day basis.  So, how extensive is the impact of Big Data?  Here are a few fun facts for you to consider that illustrate just how much bigger “Big Data” is getting:

  • Every 2 days we create as much information as we did from the beginning of time until 2003;
  • Data is growing faster than ever before to the point that, in 2020, about 7 megabytes of new information is being created every second for every human being on the planet;
  • Our accumulated digital universe of data will grow from .1 zettabytes in 2005 to around 163 zettabytes, or over 163 trillion gigabytes in 2025;
  • And, if you burned all of the data created in just one day onto DVDs, you could stack them on top of each other and reach the moon – twice.

BTW, a couple of these stats are several years old, before the continued advancement of mobile devices and before Internet of Things, or IoT devices, were really a big part of our lives.

That third bullet point is particularly notable as 2005 was the year that the EDRM Model was born.  While the model is a framework for the phases of discovery irrespective of data volume, it certainly was created at a time when data volumes were much less than they are today or will be five years from now.

Tightening Time Frames for Discovery

While data is growing in the world at an amazing rate, litigation and discovery deadlines aren’t changing. In fact, in some cases, those time frames are even accelerating.

Since the 2006 changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), Rule 26(f) has dictated conducting the meet and confer “at least 21 days before a scheduling conference is held or a scheduling order is due under Rule 16(b)”.  An amendment to Rule 16(b)(2) in 2015 reduced the timeframe for issuance of the scheduling order to the earlier of 90 days after any defendant has been served, or 60 days after any defendant has appeared (from 120 and 90 days, respectively).  That gives you as few as 70 days to be ready for the Rule 26(f) meet and confer, which means you have a lot of work to do in order to understand your data to be ready for that.  And, with the recent pilot programs in the District of Arizona and the Northern District of Illinois (where the deadlines were as few as 100 days to produce all discovery) as well as shortened state court time frames (at least before the pandemic), migrating an increasingly large volume of potentially responsive data to review platforms makes it even more difficult to meet those deadlines.

Technology Moving More to the Data

Historically in eDiscovery, the data has moved to the technology.  Typically, organizations have identified and preserved ESI broadly as potentially responsive (and they certainly should continue to do that), but they have also collected potentially responsive ESI broadly as well – often preserving by collecting – relying on the capabilities of discovery review platforms to help legal teams cull down that broad collection to a much smaller subset of documents to be reviewed for potential production.  With data and time frame constraints, organizations in many cases can no longer collect ESI so broadly as there is simply too much of it to collect and filter and cull downstream to meet budgets and deadlines.  Instead, technology is moving more and more to the original source data for organizations to filter and cull that data in place – moving much less of it forward.

In my thought leader interview with Ipro’s CEO Dean Brown, he spoke about that from an industry perspective, stating: “As an industry, we really don’t have much choice but to deal with the data earlier.  The sizes of the productions and the sizes of the matters that we see our customers dealing with are already at a scale that is ridiculous and untenable. So, when you talk about bringing the technology to the data, we absolutely concur.”

I would call it the “wave of the future”, but it’s already happening today.

For more educational topics from Doug Austin related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, follow, eDiscovery Today! And as part of the continued educational partnership between Ipro and eDiscovery Today, he’ll be here in the Ipro Newsroom next week with more educational content!