eDiscovery Leaders Live: Adam Gajadharsingh of Google
Adam Gajadharsingh, Discovery Counsel at Google, joins George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, for ACEDS #eDiscoveryLeadersLive, broadcast from the University of Florida Levin College of Law 10th Annual E-Discovery Conference in Gainesville, Florida.
Adam is a Discovery Counsel at Google and helps manage complex e-discovery issues, with a particular focus on privilege issues and training. He is also co-lead of a drafting team through The Sedona Conference preparing a Commentary on how to reduce the burdens of the privilege logging process. Prior to joining Google, Adam was a litigation partner at a national law firm.
Adam addressed three broad topics during our discussion: the transition from outside counsel to inhouse attorney; attorney-client privilege and work-product as the apply to eDiscovery, with special attention to creating privilege logs; and the application of proportionality to the privilege logging process.
- [1:32] Adam’s background.
- [2:38] His focus on and affinity with privilege and work-product issues.
- [3:35] The transition from outside counsel to in-house attorney and the concept of client.
- [4:46] The perspective from in-house and lessons from that for outside counsel.
- [6:29] How outside counsel can learn about a company and what it does.
- [8:22] How to build a good new relationship between inhouse and outside attorneys.
- [9:21] What in-house counsel can do to get ready for a new matter or new outside counsel.
- [9:52] Easy lifts for outside counsel when getting to know a new client.
- [10:28] The value-add of reading tea leaves.
- [11:11] What got him involved in attorney-client privilege and word-product issues.
- [13:23] Early action one can take on attorney-client privilege and work product to avoid being caught off guard.
- [13:36] Early action: start by asking the right questions early about special status of employees, code names tied to a lawsuit, etc.
- [15:13] Early action: establish categories of documents to exclude from privilege logs such post-complaint communications with outside counsel.
- [16:22] Early action: exclude redacted documents.
- [16:52] Consider using alternative privilege log formats.
- [17:04] Pure metadata logs.
- [17:42] The metadata plus topic log – maybe the new gold standard for privilege logs.
- [18:41] The categorical log: the silver bullet that hasn’t really worked.
- [19:21] The evolution from categorical logs to metadata logs and metadata plus topic logs.
- [20:02] Growing acceptance of newer log formats.
- [20:32] FRCP 26(b)(1) proportionality applied to privilege logs.
- [21:20] A quick history of proportionality and where it fits in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
- [22:43] Using proportionality to reduce the number of documents to log.
- [23:11] The debate over whether proportionality applies to the privilege logging process.
- [25:50] Proportionality, asymmetric litigation, and privilege logs.
- “If I could give one piece of advice to outside counsel, how you can make yourself valuable to your clients is to not treat them as one of 50 or a 100 clients that you deal with in a year. The more you can learn their business, the more that you can spot issues, the more value you can add.”
- “The short answer is, it’s being proactive and not reactive. Don’t rely on the client and don’t expect the client to give you what you need. You have to go out there and get it and make sure that you’re doing your job to give them good advice.”
- “If there are communications with outside counsel after the date of the complaint, I think reasonable minds can agree that those are extremely likely to be protected as privileged or work product so let’s not waste everyone’s time in having any kind of log phase. Let’s agree that that’s a category we can exclude.”
- “If there’s a redaction on a document and you see that document, you’re still going to see 90% of the information you get on a privilege log. You’re going to see who it was from and who it was to and a lot of other information to give you context, so that might be another category that doesn’t necessarily need to be logged.”
- “Rather than having to do a document-by-document log, which is arguably the most time consuming, there are a lot of other options out there.”
- “The final one, which I think has been slowing becoming, in my opinion, the most reasonable soft of perfect balance between cost, benefit, and reward, is what we’re calling the meta plus topic. It is a combination of a pure metadata log with one additional layer of providing some topics or descriptions that … are specific enough to give you some more context….”
- “We need to make it very clear that the scope of discovery is not just relevance, it’s also proportionality.”