2021 Year in Review: eDiscovery Leaders Live

George Socha
George Socha

2021 Year in Review: eDiscovery Leaders Live

2021 was a busy year for eDiscovery Leaders Live. We hosted discussions with 57 guests from across the industry and around the world, covering a wide array of topics.

We had guests from corporations, law firms, both defense and plaintiff oriented, service providers, academia, and Reveal. We heard from people in the United States, but also hosted folks from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Our guests talked about how they make effective use of AI models, sentiment analysis, and other AI tools to quickly learn details about individuals, understand the emotional content of their communications, and find anomalous activities, to look for gaps in productions, and even build out new lines of business.

They discussed the impact of COVID on eDiscovery, technology adoption challenges and opportunities, the changing dynamics of the corporate, law firm, and service provider triangle, and the evolution of eDiscovery professionals. They addressed the expansion of eDiscovery within law firms and its impact on related areas such as knowledge management. They discussed related topics, like data breach, privacy, and cross-border challenges. They talked about the teaching of eDiscovery as well as the transformational impact of technology on the practice of law. My Reveal colleagues discussed the merger of Reveal and Brainspace, the use of AI in eDiscovery, the value of a customer success program, and Reveal’s expanding certification program.

Thanks for all the help!

Before we turn to the guests and what each of them covered, I’d like to thank everyone working behind the scenes to make eDiscovery Leaders Live happen. As with so many things, here too it takes a village. Helping with prep and running the platform for every session are the wonderful folks from ACEDS. Most weeks, Deja Miller is at the controls. Katie Saylor waits in the wings, helping out or taking over any time assistance is needed, and Maribel Rivera has helped throughout.

On our end, John Mieczkowski prepares the graphics we use and updates our website with session summaries and links. He and our marketing director, Daisy Yuhas, do their best to keep me on schedule and on task. With her tireless social media updates, Cat Casey ensures that the word keeps getting spread. A whole roster of colleagues helps arrange for a great roster of speakers. Jeff Lofstrom spearheads that undertaking, assisted by, among others, Katie Barr, Patrick Bilgere, Cat Casey, Jeff Fehrman, Jed Hastings, Craig Lee, Tom Matarelli, Sami Mather, Scott Nichols, Eugene O’Neill, and Steve Rapp.

The 2021 guests

Now, to our 2021 guests.

Jan. 11: Kristin Sunderman of Freddie Mac

Kristin and I had a wide-ranging discussion. We started with the impact of COVID on eDiscovery, a topic we have not addressed on this program before. Kristin talked about the growth of remote collection and remove review, once viewed skeptically but now being embraced. She also discussed the growing understanding, driven in part by the changes wrought by COVID, of the value the cloud and AI bring to eDiscovery. Switching directions, Kristen gave us the benefit of her experiences returning to the in-house side – how she gets to see a better picture and form stronger partnerships with vendors. Finally, Kirstin told us what she would like out of her ideal eDiscovery platform. It should do everything we want out of any eDiscovery platform, ride on the data no matter where it resides, never increase the overall data footprint, and most definitely give her a foot massage. Don’t we all want that?                                            

Jan. 19: David Stanton of Pillsbury Law

David and I discussed how he got started in eDiscovery, the expansion of eDiscovery in his firm, and the growing risks and demands that impelled Pillsbury to build out their eDiscovery operations. We talked about how to build a strong internal eDiscovery operation. David talked about that build-out, especially the importance of the people involved, and about the imperative for them to compete on value. We also examined the goals behind eDiscovery; principal among them, as David noted, speed to narrative. David talked about the technology stack that powers the work his team does, in particular the power of advanced AI and reusable AI models, and closed with his thoughts on an ideal eDiscovery platform.

Jan. 22: Kevin Clark of Thompson & Knight

Kevin shared his thoughts on the role of litigation support managers in law firms, as broad-reaching problem solvers. We talked about his expansion into knowledge management and the role AI can play there. Kevin discussed his efforts to build eDiscovery communities in Dallas, DC, and through the Masters Conference as well as ACEDS’ North Texas Chapter. From there we turned to innovation, and then health and wellness and a webinar series Kevin is working on to address that topic. Finally, I asked Kevin what he would want out of an ideal eDiscovery platform.

Jan. 29: Wendell Jisa of Reveal

Wendell and I started with the recently announced merger of Reveal and Brainspace and the investment by K1. Wendell emphasized that Brainspace will continue to be available as a standalone option, with enhancements and innovations continuing to be added to both standalone and integrated versions. We talked about the expanding set of choices that the investment and the merger offer and will continue to offer to people using Reveal and Brainspace. We turned to the philosophy underlying Reveal’s growth and expansion: expanding choices, automating processes so there are fewer buttons to push, increasing power so folk can make better decisions. Wendell talked about the people the recent merger has brought together as one family, the dream team of data scientists, entrepreneurs, business developers, and everyone else now under one roof. He emphasized the importance of a strong, positive culture, and talked, as well, about the great fit with the larger K1 family that Reveal now is a part of. Finally, Wendell closed by reiterating that Reveal is and will continue to be all in on eDiscovery.

Feb. 5: Adam Bown and David Fisk of Salient Discovery

Adam and David started by letting us know the different paths that brought them to eDiscovery and gave an overview of their organization, Salient Discovery, and its background. We turned to “state capture” in South Africa, a form of investigation most likely not familiar to most of our audience. David and Adam discussed how they apply AI tools such as NexLP to reduce the size and scope of problems early, as well as the use of those types of tools proactively. From there, we moved to defensible deletion as well as building and reusing AI models, and closed with their thoughts on the ideal eDiscovery and investigations platform.

Feb. 12: Brad Wilson of Berkeley Research Group (BRG)

Brad and I covered three broad areas in our discussion: eDiscovery, cybersecurity, and data privacy. We started with the impact the COVID-19 has had on eDiscovery, both negative and positive. From there we moved to the challenges posed by short messages, a renewed pandemic-inspired in tech in the law, particularly AI, as well as the expanding eDiscovery challenges that increased in the use of tools such as Zoom are posing. Brad discussed cyber threats and their interrelationship with eDiscovery, talked about the Solarium Commission and its recommendations, looked at issues posed by business email compromise scams, and closed out the cyber discussion with thoughts about detecting problematic behaviors with AI models. With respect to data privacy, Brad emphasized the intertwined nature of privacy, cyber, and discovery, and talked as well about the use of AI to address privacy challenges. We finished the discussion with Brad’s musings on his ideal eDiscovery and investigations platform.

Feb. 19: Sam Sessler of Norton Rose Fulbright

Sam and I started with a look at the group he is in, how it is structured, and what they do. We moved quickly to his current area of focus, data breaches and cyber incidents. We talked about their attempts at simultaneously achieving perfect precision and perfect recall when dealing with breaches, about the approaches they take in pursuing this elusive goal, and the need, at least today, to put recall ahead of precision. Sam discussed how they build baseball cards to better identify and notify individuals where breaches have occurred, including some of the processes and tools they use to assist them in these efforts. Sam talked about those things there are able to do alone and those where they work most effectively by partnering with others, and touched on cross-border challenges as well as the need for law firms not to be the weak link when it comes to data breaches. Same went into the different data types that need to be addressed and the challenges doing so, and about what needs to be done to deal with large volumes not just of data but also of individuals. Finally, Sam shared his thoughts on an ideal data breach platform.

Feb. 26: Suzanne Clark of eDiscovery CoCounsel PLLC

Suzanne and I started by discussing her role as discovery counsel working with plaintiffs merits counsel and what that entails. We turned to how Suzanne uses AI, particularly Reveal’s Story Engine, in her job, to be more efficient and effective – quickly learning details about individuals, understanding the emotional components of their communications, looking for anomalous activities. She discussed, as well, using AI to identify gaps in productions from opposing parties and digging into gaps, both known and unknown. We discussed the upcoming University of Florida Law eDiscovery Conference and along with it the great value paralegals bring to eDiscovery. Finally, Suzanne gave us her ideal eDiscovery platform pain points and wish lists – the most detailed ever!

Mar. 5: Damon Goduto of Lineal

Damon and I had a discussion ranging from Mount Rushmore to Brazil. We started with Damon’s suggestions for the four busts to put up on the Mount Rushmore of eDiscovery. We pivoted to how weird data got during the five years he took off from eDiscovery and ChatCraft, Lineal’s response to the difficulties working with chat messages includes setting flexible chat boundaries and producing chat data in a useful form. Damon talked about the endless upside of using AI in eDiscovery, focusing in particular on Lineal’s automated bot detector, AI-driven threading, and AI to enhance privilege review. Damon discussed, as well, the benefits of reusable models, the value of pattern recognition, ways to use anomaly detection, and the use of models outside litigation. Damon closed with thoughts on Brazil’s burgeoning legal technology market – a first for these discussions.

Mar. 12: Megan Lopp Mathias of Lopp Mathias Law

Megan started the discussion explaining how in her practice she helps legal departments get from today to tomorrow. She talked about how the structure of her firm differs from so many others out there, how she and her colleagues help organizations meet their eDiscovery needs as well as find and implement the technology they need, and the pricing models she uses to accommodate their requirements. We discussed the Seventh Circuit Council on eDiscovery and Electronic Data, her role there, and the benefits that have come out of the effort. We looked at mandatory disclosures, pro and con, as well as proportionality. Megan turned to the importance of grit, and from there we closed with her thoughts on the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Mar. 19: Ilan Sherr of DLA Piper

Ilan joined us to talk about the newly-launched Aiscension, a ground-breaking AI-enabled service designed to find cartel risks within corporations. Ilan, who is Aiscension’s Executive Director, worked with teams at DLA Piper and Reveal for four years to create this offering. Ilan covered their goals, the journey they took, and the results they have achieved. Ilan discussed the problems they sought to solve, their use of Reveal’s AI to tackle those problems, and the benefits corporations can enjoy by availing themselves of this first-to-market service.

Mar. 26: David Yerich of UnitedHealth Group

David and I discussed eDiscovery adoption challenges and opportunities. He talked about the benefits that can accrue from a long tenure in a corporate eDiscovery role, as well as the need to be flexible and the value of caution, and warned that effectively implementing eDiscovery in a company is a process that can take years to accomplish. We were just starting to discuss the pace of change when we lost the connection with David – a first for eDiscovery Leaders Live but, I guess, something that was inevitably going to happen eventually. When David rejoined us, we turned to what corporations want with respect to eDiscovery, in particular partnerships and ecosystems, and David closed with his thoughts on the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Apr. 2: Dr. Irina Matveeva and Dr. David Lewis of Reveal

Irina, Dave and I focused on artificial intelligence in eDiscovery. Starting with efforts to use AI to deliver “simple” solutions to complex problems, and talked about the importance of holding the AI discussion at the right level. Irina gave us a little background on DLA Piper’s Aiscenion, which her team worked on. Dave and then Irina offered their thoughts on the “every case is special” objections and how to respond to it. We also looked at whether a PhD or MS is needed to make effective use of AI in discovery and how much of the AI plumbing attorneys really need to understand. Irina and Dave shared info about their teams and what those folks do, a discussion that morphed into learning about AI more generally. Finally, at my request Dave and then Irina peered into their crystal balls to offer thoughts about where AI might take discovery in the future.

Apr. 9: Toni Millican of Trinity Industries

Toni and I talked about the evolution of eDiscovery professionals. We discussed their movement toward the left side of the EDRM diagram, how they deal with so much more than eDiscovery, and what they do to take their eDiscovery skills to new areas. We looked at solutioning, project management, and regulatory and similar challenges. We turned to vendor relationships, growing reliance on vendors as part of the team, shared risk and due diligence, and the risk profiling that corporations do of vendors and vendors of companies. Toni gave a unequivocal response to the question of whether it is enough to have ISO 27001 certification, and from there moved to how vendors can help corporations with changes in privacy requirements. Toni talked about analytics and key performance indicators, as well as the expanding audience for the capabilities eDiscovery professionals bring to bear. We closed with Toni’s thoughts on the many directions of eDiscovery careers and the value of abiding curiosity.

Apr. 16: Julia Hasenzahl of ProSearch

Julia and I had a wide-ranging discussion. We started with Julia talking about ProSearch’s innovative enterprise model, what’s different about it and why it has been so successful for them. Two crucial parts have been pricing and metrics, both of which Julia covered before turning to effective data reuse and repositories of data about data. On TAR, Julia borrowed a line from Nike – “Just do it” – and offered pointers on how to actually just do it. She talked about the challenges of data from collaboration tools and Office 365, but suggested advantage to be found in those different data types as well. We then discussed data and rest and at the source before closing with the cost of insuring and securing data.

Apr. 23: Florinda Baldridge of Norton Rose Fulbright

My discussion with Florinda was all about data breaches, an area she has taken a keen interest in. Florinda discussed the race against time from breach to notification – the challenges that come with trying to get it right and the penalties that can flow from failing. She talked about the need to keep pace with a growing data landscape and the efforts to use traditional eDiscovery tools and technologies in response to data breaches. Florinda offered her cyber breach wish list, then returned to a further discussion about key data breach stakeholders. Finally, Florinda discussed what her firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, has been doing in the cyber breach arena and opportunities for growth in a changing industry.

Apr. 30: Lisa Burton of Legal Data Workspace

Lisa and I started by talked about where she came from and what she’s doing today, creating space for something new. Lisa discussed the bench she has been assembling and the AI-driven framework she and her team have been developing to better serve their clients. Lisa explained to me an earlier comment she had made about being a tech skeptic who lean hard on technology to help her, something that on its face seems contradictory. She backed up that explanation with an example of how, while demoing Brainspace for a new matter, they found the two key phrases that opened up the case. Lisa also had mentioned to be, me, earlier, that she saw herself as an “eDiscoveryist”, a phrase I asked her to explain, something she was happy to do. Lisa then shared her vision of the future of eDiscovery and offered advice to those seeking to pursue eDiscovery themselves.

May 7: Brandon Carney of Divergent Language Solutions

Brandon started the discussion by sharing a bit of what Divergent Language Solutions is and what they do. Brandon talked about the challenges associated with handling content in many languages and the need to remain flexible, as well as the ever-varying reasons why organizations need translation work performed for them. We talked about the inevitable “human versus machine” debate. Brandon described workflows for documents containing content in multiple languages and effectives uses for machine translation. We discussed the need to be an excellent consultant upfront and then deliver strong execution. I asked Brandon to give examples of some of the hot-button issues they have to deal with, with law firms large and small. I asked Brandon to tell me some of the myths he encounters and how they debunk them. Finally, I asked Brandon to gaze into his crystal ball and give us his thoughts on what the translation business will look like in the future.

May 14: Joseph Tate of Cozen O’Connor

Joe and I started with a review of his career – how he got started in eDiscovery and what brought him to where he is today, from paper to linear review to the complex systems we use now. Joe emphasized the importance of mastering the facts with eDiscovery. He talked about the value of using artificial intelligence to review data from disparate sources. He went into the need to build a story from the data, rarely with the benefit of a smoking gun but more likely by rolling up his sleeves, getting involved in the data, and digging in. He had an emphatic response to my question of whether conducting eDiscovery constitutes the practice of law. Finally, Joe closed by imploring all of us who practice in this area to embrace a continuous state of learning.

May 21: Ricky Brooman of Saul Ewing

As we started, I asked Ricky to tell us more about his role at Saul Ewing and explain what his day-to-day work life looked like. From there, we switched to the “ideal eDiscovery platform” question, with Ricky discussing his wish list including preservation in place, a just-like-native experience when reviewing data from mobile devices, eliminating latency, and introducing softbot assistance. We talked further about mobile data challenges and the importance of appropriate preservation. Ricky shared what he does to stay on top of the ever-changing world of eDiscovery as well as work he and his team do to keep the firm’s lawyers up to speed on eDiscovery. We shifted to the changing dynamic between information governance, eDiscovery, and privacy, and closed with Ricky’s thoughts on native production.

May 28: Rose Jones & Jenni Weaver of King & Spalding

Rose, Jenni and I started with a discussion about King & Spalding’s take on eDiscovery, one which is more expansive than the approach taken by many firms. They not only work on eDiscovery projects but spend a considerable amount of time helping clients build and improve eDiscovery processes. We discussed the technology gap analyses they perform, how they help clients build and implement eDiscovery protocols, and how to gather and make more effective use of metrics. From there we moved to talking about ways to cut costs, sometimes by millions, through implementing standardized procedures, tracking data and actions against retention policies, and, of course, education. I asked Jenni and Rose about how they helped clients meet the challenges of moving data across borders, and in particular what they have seen done with respect to blocking statutes. I closed with my “ideal eDiscovery platform” question; see what each of them had to say on that!

June 4: Jonathan Maas of Maas Consulting Group

Jonathan and I started with a discussion about what he calls “data wrangling”, his recasting of eDiscovery and those who engage it into a vital role in the world beyond litigation and legal. We talked about what eDiscovery practitioners bring to the table, the expertise they offer not just for lawsuits and investigations but for any situation involving the aggregation and analysis of data. We discussed the impact of data privacy on eDiscovery and the reverse, as well as the benefits and challenges of anonymization and pseudonymization. Jonathan addressed an area he has long speculated about, self-service eDiscovery. And, before a lost connection brought our session to a premature close, he focused on one of Jonathan’s key buttons, the mismatch between the litigation process we need to go through and the emphasis we place on discovery as part of it.

June 11: Clare Chalkley of Integreon

With the State Farm tagline “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two” in mind, I asked Clare to start by telling me some of thing things she’s seen – and learned – during her time in the eDiscovery (or as they say in the UK, eDisclosure) industry. Clare discussed some of the changes that have taken place on her watch, in particular the transition from paper to electronic evidence. We talked about the emergence of eDiscovery from the back room to the front of the house, and how the changing dynamics that transition has brought about. We turned to the pandemic and its impact on discovery, particularly the rapid rise of remote review, and then focused on which changes appear likely to be here to stay. We also talked about the expanding borders of eDiscovery in to privacy and governance and touched on some of the ethical challenges that come with industry changes. We then closed with a simple admonishment from Clare: get involved.

June 16: Ben Hammerton of Quantuma

Ben spoke on the industry’s growing acceptance of public cloud applications due to near-universal trust for well-known platforms such as AWS as well as the ease of being able to modify the technology. This phenomenon has also streamlined the process, having reduced the amount of hardware that any one organization needs to shoulder and, for better or worse, the amount of in-house personnel responsible for the technology. Ben noted that when considering a new eDiscovery platform, he looks for familiarity first, self-service second, and how the technology can augment a standard review workflow third. “All workflows,” said Ben, “should start simple and sensible, and then you add to them.”

June 25: Bill Hamilton of the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law

Bill started by talking about the groundbreaking paralegal eDiscovery program he introduced at Bryan University ten years earlier, a program that focused on the employability of its students. The program trained future litigation paralegals with a particular focus on the practical application of the latest technologies. Bill talked about the incredibly successful UF Law eDiscovery conference, an annual in-person and online educational conference with an eight-year track record. Focusing on practical issues, concerns and opportunities, the program is underwritten by the UF Law School as a public service to increase the level of competence and professionalism in the eDiscovery world. Finally, Bill discussed the partnership between UF Law and Reveal to offer hands-on eDiscovery education to the law school’s students and how this will create even more career opportunities for them moving forward.

July 9: Hannah Shaw of Orbital Data Consulting

Hannah joined me to discuss lessons learned, including those born of participating in putting together the first eDiscovery provider built entirely in the cloud. We discussed remote work, diversity and inclusion in eDiscovery, and the differences between eDiscovery in France and the United States - showing how different legal systems can vastly reshape eDiscovery processes.

July 16: Daniel Linna of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Daniel shared how innovation and technology adoption have transformed—and will continue to transform—the practice of law. He discussed his own role in this digital revolution, which includes current developments at Northwestern’s Innovation Lab and Law and Technology Initiative. Daniel also gave his thoughts on how the relationship between lawyers and clients—and potential clients looking for representation—will evolve. Particularly, he explained that lawyers need to introduce more rigor into their methodology and make it a point to describe to clients exactly how the value of their services can be measured, or risk becoming irrelevant.

July 23: Christiane Müller-Haye of Clifford Chance

Christiane spoke about data privacy, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Christiane discussed the GDPR’s influence on eDiscovery. She also talked about what companies outside of Germany need to consider if they are potentially subject to GDPR. Considerations she mentioned included banking secrecy, intellectual property protection, and other categories of data governed by the GDPR. The conversation with Christiane ultimately revolved around the importance of understanding the data you possess, with Christiane noting that industry practitioners not only need to embrace eDiscovery software, but also use the right technologies in conjunction with that software (i.e. collaboration platforms, etc.).

Aug. 6: Mike Quartararo of ACEDS

Mike spoke about ACEDS, recent developments, and upcoming changes. Perhaps of greatest interest, for many, are the revision to the CEDS exam and what the revisions mean for how to study for the updated exam as well as the possibility of new versions of the CEDS exam for different countries with different legal systems.

Aug. 13: Sheila Grela of Procopio

Sheila broke down the definition of “paralegal” and explained how the scope of the role differs depending on the firm you are working for, the case you are working on, and even how long you have been a paralegal. She gave her thoughts on training and mentorship as well as her recommended resources for paralegals looking to up-skill. Finally, Sheila shared how she sees the future of the paralegal profession beyond the pandemic.

Aug. 20: Ralph Nitsch of Reveal

Ralph spoke about the ins-and-outs of his role as VP of Customer Success at Reveal and the importance of the customer success team to the organization as a whole. Drawing parallels to project management, Ralph touched on the qualities of a great CSM and how one can build a career in the area of customer success.

Aug. 23 ILTACON Special: Chip Delany of Lineal

Chip defined effective sales as being able to teach your client why your product is important for their business. He then gave his thoughts on the direction of the eDiscovery world in the near future as well as the collection of features he believes would make up the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Aug. 23 ILTACON Special: Duane Lites of Jackson Walker LLP

Duane reflected on the spark of inspiration that led to his and Boyd Savage’s groundbreaking creation of an open, global Listserv. He then gave his thoughts on the direction of the eDiscovery world in the near future as well as the collection of features he believes would make up the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Aug. 24 ILTACON Special: Doug Kaminski of Cobra Legal Solutions

Doug explained his top three eDiscovery priorities for the next six months as well as the collection of features he believes would make up the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Aug. 24 ILTACON Special: Damien Riehl of Fastcase

Damien described the line between fact and law and how they are different from one another while at the same time need to come together. He also spoke about Fastcase’s current work in “mapping the legal genome” to streamline the process of merging fact and law.

Aug. 25 ILTACON Special: Rachel Tausend of K&L Gates

Rachel drew parallels between her work in the Peace Corps and eDiscovery. She then gave her thoughts on the direction of the eDiscovery world in the near future as well as the collection of features she believes would make up the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Aug. 25 ILTACON Special: Adam Paulson of Construction Discovery Experts

Adam explained the unique set of skills and legal expertise that an eDiscovery professional would need when working in the construction industry. He then gave his top three priorities as an eDiscovery consultant at Construction Discovery Experts as well as the collection of features he believes would make up the ideal eDiscovery platform.

Sep. 3: Michael Griffin of Reveal

To celebrate the release of Reveal’s newest certification, the Reveal AI Certification, Michael explained how the certification came to be, how to take the course, and what you can expect to learn from it. He also discussed the first four certifications released by Brainspace, alongside the first three by Reveal, and why it was eventually decided to offer all seven courses for free for a limited time.

Sep. 10: David Cohen of Reed Smith

David talked about Reed Smith’s E-Discovery App, launched in 2020. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app is a compendium of eDiscovery resources that easily fits in your pocket. He addressed what it is and why firm created it, why they focused on an app, and delivered an app show-and-tell, and finished with what to expect moving forward.

Sep. 17: Frank Papsø of Data Discovery Lab

Frank talked about his company’s lab, AI models, and “get to the point” meetings – their version of ECA. He also discussed eDiscovery requirements and expectations in Denmark and Europe, investigations in Europe and how they differ from those in the US, getting lawyers to use the technology, and what he sees looking to the future.

Sep. 24: Mary Mack & Kaylee Walstad of EDRM

Kaylee and Mary addressed – what else – EDRM. They discussed taking over the reins during a pandemic, eighty weeks of the EDRM Community Support Call, and what it been like to make changes at EDRM. They talked about adding projects – over a dozen and counting – as well as recent and upcoming project work product, what getting involved in EDRM entails, what type of people EDRM welcomes into the organization, and what commitments EDRM asks of its participants. They turned to the process for new EDRM projects and project lifecycles, and close with thoughts on EDRM’s future.

Oct. 1: Jason Velasco of Kindato

Jason discussed his background and his journey in the eDiscovery space, what inspired Jason to start his first eDiscovery company, and lessons learned and valuable experiences from his move in-house. Jason talked about learning to take the long view, the dangerous fallacy of the Easy Button, and the on-going relevance of Tom O’Connor’s Agnes Challenge before moving on to the march to the cloud, especially M365, and what it means for eDiscovery; his newest gig, Kindato; and eDiscovery education generally.

Oct. 8: Michelle Six & Dan Raffle of Kirkland & Ellis

Michelle and Dan focused on the art of negotiating TAR agreements. Starting with setting TAR protocol goalposts, the moved to knowing the rules of the road, TAR agreement pitfalls, and how to go in informed. From there they discussed figuring whether and when to use TAR, TAR and search terms versus TAR or search terms, and whether to bake target numbers into TAR protocols. They offered suggestions for how to ensure lawyers don’t go rogue and talked about what freaks people out about TAR as well as what to do about that. They closed with thoughts on a higher standard for TAR, where threading and privilege fit in, and those most important things you can do to successfully negotiate TAR agreements.

Oct. 15: Kevin Flynn of Morae

Kevin talked about advanced analytics, including what “advanced analytics” means, how he came to focus on that area, and what he and his team do. He discussed what a typical engagement looks like, his role vis-à-vis ESI protocols, and the importance of working as a team. He then shifted to figuring out who uses which advanced analytics tool and for what and how; The array of currently advanced analytics capabilities, from basic to advanced; and the Brainspace "aha!" moment. Additional topics included finding key documents that don't contain key words, unearthing unique data analytics use cases, and the "just tell me what to do" challenge.

Oct. 22: Lauren Roso of Prosearch

Lauren focused on the people side of what we do in eDiscovery, with a special emphasis on critical thinking and a holistic approach. She discussed how the discovery industry has changed and what that the role of service providers has become, the changing dynamic within corporate law departments and law firm, and ProSearch’s evolving approach to eDiscovery. She talked about the move from order takers to critical thinkers, the rise of the generalist, the value of effective communication, and the benefits of taking a holistic approach.

Oct. 29: Josh Blandi of UniCourt

Josh started with UniCourt’s history and what UniCourt offers and moved on to aggregating court data. He discussed how much data they deal with, where they get it from, and what they do with it. He discussed challenges such as cleaning up court data, addressing the lack of metadata in court documents, and the poor quality of OCR content from those materials. He touted the power of APIs to tap into court content and tie that to law firm content, as well as creative uses that law firms and ALSPs have made of those capabilities. Josh closed with the future of APIs as well as what’s coming next from UniCourt.

Nov. 5: David Yerich of UnitedHealth Group

David returned to eDiscovery Leaders Live to talk about Microsoft’s O365, consolidation in the eDiscovery industry, and the changing dynamics of the corporate, law firm, and service provider triangle – and demonstrates how he can go dark with the tip of a cup. He compared the “perfect eDiscovery tool” – email – to what we need to deal with today with challenges posed by O365, disassociated O365 messages, and guest messages in Teams sites. David discussed accelerating industry consolidation and associated challenges and opportunities; the changing dynamic between corporations, law firms, and service providers; and the future of the eDiscovery industry. He closed with thoughts on what a corporation needs to take advantage of a well-managed eDiscovery service triangle and with advice for law firms.

Nov. 12: Dan Regard of iDiscovery Solutions

Dan discussed the eDiscovery renaissance, working with modern data, and the intricacies of being an expert witness. He talked about the creation of a new body of evidence, the changing nature of email as evidence, and what to do about the thousands of databases and applications confronting us today. That took him to emerging opportunities to accelerate dispute resolution, IDS’s Fact Crashing – best practices for identifying, qualifying, and prioritizing data sources – and IDS’s D3R, short for Data-Driven Dispute Resolution. Dan addressed, as well, expert witnesses, the art of testifying, and building a stable of testifiers; the role of the testifier; and oractices to ensure experts don’t stand alone.

Nov. 19: Chris Chapman of Dickinson Wright PLLC

Chris focused his discussion on TAR validation processes and talks about the importance of people as part of the eDiscovery process. Starting with data validation questions raised by a recent In Re Diisocyanates Antitrust Litigation Report and Recommendation Chris discussed how to know when you are done training your TAR model; TAR 1.5 as a way to get good insight into what is in your dataset, and evaluating progress within prioritized reviews. He talked about richness estimates and hard targets and the challenges they pose, his thoughts on a more effective ESI protocol, and how transparent transparency should be. He offered thoughts on how to know what you are done training your model, why to sample from the whole dataset, the importance of facilitating effective reviewer feedback, and the importance of people in eDiscovery generally and with TAR specifically.

Dec. 3: Patrick Kennedy of Paradigm Electronic Solutions

Patrick started with Paradigm and his role in the organization. He discussed how law firms can up their eDiscovery game on multiple fronts from the people they employ to the data they pursue. He talked about the help law firms still could use, the importance of looking beyond traditional sources and forms of ESI, and why law firm lit support personnel should be Renaissance players. He offered thoughts on the strategic value to be gained from assisting the other side, the special challenges posed by construction litigation, and third-party tools they use and how they help. Returning more specifically to eDiscovery Patrick closed with what he looks for in eDiscovery tool, trends in the eDiscovery market, the value of AI-driven eDiscovery software, and his ideal eDiscovery platform.

Dec. 10: Bruno Massard of ICTS Protiviti

Bruno started with his background, his path to ICTS Protiviti, and his role as a partner there. He moved on the eDiscovery, investigation, and compliance markets in Brazil, pointing in particular to examples of especially large investigations. He discussed the biggest eDiscovery challenge he faces today, the AI capabilities that appeal to him most, and how his team has been able to use Reveal’s technology to review documents up to six time faster. Bruno also talked about why he chose Reveal and its AI as his primary investigative and discovery platform.

Dec. 17: Rose Singh of Triage Data

With 25 years of experience as a trained paralegal professional, providing direct support to clients for complex electronic data management and litigation support and managing and directing data analyst teams for both law firms and document management organizations, Rose now owns and the CEO of Triage Data in Vancouver, BC. Rose started the discussion tracing her path from immigrant to eDiscovery business owner, discussing what brought her to the legal industry to the first place and her transition to eDiscovery. She then spent the bulk of her time focusing on access to justice, especially for indigenous communities, talking about unmet needs and ways they can be addressed as well about initiatives her company is pursuing.

This wraps up eDiscovery Leaders Live for 2021. Happy New Year, all!