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“What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been” to This Year’s E-Discovery Day!

Created on December 2, 2020


Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today.

If you’re from my generation, you probably recognize that phrase as a lyric from the Grateful Dead’s classic rock song Truckin'. But it’s an apt description for the “trip around the sun” we’ve all taken over the last twelve months since the last E-Discovery Day happened—on December 4th of last year. Last year’s E-Discovery Day had (as always) many webcasts and in-person events, including one where I live in Houston (which I attended). I also covered the event as a daily blogger (as I’ve done every year so far).

But I don’t have to tell you how different and challenging the last twelve months have been. The pandemic and social distancing requirements have cancelled many events this year and forced many others to become virtual events. In addition, the resulting economic crisis has resulted in layoffs, costing many jobs and forcing many legal and eDiscovery professionals into new career paths, including me.

Organizations are forced to be more budget conscious than ever when it comes to legal and technology spend, especially as it relates to discovery. At the same time, litigation is expected to rise—perhaps dramatically—due to lawsuits filed related to the pandemic and economic impacts of it. As a result, many organizations are facing the squeeze of trying to do more with less at a more dramatic level than ever before. This means:

  • Tracking Metrics are Vital: It’s more important to keep and track key performance indicators (KPIs) regarding the activities associated with your discovery processes, so that you understand where the expenses are occurring at each stage of the discovery life cycle;
  • More Matters Means More Holds: Litigation increases mean there are more matters to manage, which (in turn) means more legal holds to track, so it’s important to have a solution that streamlines the hold tracking process;
  • Courts Are Expecting Counsel to Be Prepared: It’s a misnomer to think that the courts have slowed because of the pandemic and judges are giving leeway—on the contrary, we’re seeing more cases related to potential sanctions of counsel than ever;
  • The Amount of Data Has Skyrocketed: Since 2005, when the EDRM Model was created, there is 470 times more data today for organizations to manage, making it imperative that they understand that data sooner in the process to meet aggressive litigation deadlines;
  • Non-Litigation Discovery Needs Are Also Increased: Increased compliance requirements because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other data privacy laws have created entirely new discovery workflows to support those requirements and increased corporate investigations have also required more of discovery resources and technology; and
  • Automating the Flow of Data Through the Discovery Process is Paramount: The days of manual processes to move data from platform to platform are coming to an end as today’s technology needs to be able to connect to move data where it’s needed from data creation to data destruction.

Exterro recently published a white paper titled Mastering E-Discovery, which discusses many of the key issues above and provides best practices for mastering cost, defensibility, strategy and technology to support discovery needs for organizations in today’s world with its unique challenges. You can download a copy here.

It’s been a “long, strange trip” from last year’s E-Discovery Day and this year’s E-Discovery Day will certainly be different. There are more challenges than ever facing discovery teams. And, because of the pandemic and social distancing requirements, there will be no in-person events this year. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do.

Once again, there are plenty of terrific webcasts to learn about best practices, technology and more. And there are also several social events to participate in as well. And, EDRM is conducting its first ever Expo on E-Discovery Day (register here), which will be conducted via the Echo virtual reality environment—it’s literally “an Expo at the Echo”—and actually gets started the evening before with the inaugural Gayle O’Connor Spirit Award & Networking Event (on the “beach”, no less).

I’m excited for eDiscovery Today to be a Participating Supporter for this year’s E-Discovery Day and I look forward to this event that—in its sixth year—has become a tradition for eDiscovery professionals everywhere! It will be unique, but it should also be educational—and fun! And that’s what E-Discovery Day is all about!

Doug Austin is the Editor of eDiscovery Today, a daily blog about eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy trends, best practices and case law. Doug is also an established eDiscovery thought leader and eDiscovery consultant with over 30 years of experience providing eDiscovery best practices, legal technology consulting and technical project management services to numerous commercial and government clients. Doug has published a daily blog since 2010 and has written numerous articles and white papers. He has received the JD Supra Readers Choice Award as the Top eDiscovery Author for 2017 and 2018 and a JD Supra Readers Choice Award as a Top Cybersecurity Author for 2019. Doug has presented at numerous events and conferences, including Legaltech New York, ILTACON, Relativity Fest, University of Florida E-Discovery Conference, Masters Conference and many local and regional conferences. Doug has also presented numerous CLE-accredited webcasts.