eDiscovery Leaders Live: Beth Patterson of ESPconnect

George Socha
George Socha

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Beth Patterson of ESPconnect


Beth Patterson, Director at ESPconnect, joins George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, for the first in a special set of ACEDS #eDiscoveryLeadersLive sessions broadcast from the Reveal stage at Legalweek 2023.

Beth is director and founder of ESPconnect; an adjunct professor at the law school at University of Technology Sydney, her team received a citation for their innovation and leadership in enhancing the student experience; and the project lead for the EDRM Duplicate Identification Project, aka the DupeID project. Before that, Beth spent over 20 years at Allens, where her most recent role was a Chief Legal & Technology Services Officer, and at the beginning of her career, as a application designer and senior associate programmer at IBM.

Beth talked about the EDRM Duplicate Identification Project; its new specification, the EDRM MIH; and what all that means.

Key Highlights

    • [1:06] Introducing Beth.
    • [1:49] EDRM’s Duplicate Identification project and some of its participants.
    • [2:34] The challenge tackled.
    • [3:02] The initial objective – deduplication broadly.
    • [3:47] The revised focus – the cross-platform problem
    • [4:38] The solution – EDRM MIH.
    • [5:17] The initial ask.
    • [5:31] Why bother to hash.
    • [6:21] Why only email.
    • [6:53] Will this work with every email message?
    • [7:31] Testing.
    • [8:12] Why call it duplicate identification.
    • [8:24] A list of considerations, such as draft messages with no message ID.
    • [9:00] Considerations: headers and footers.
    • [9:52] Considerations: duplicate message IDs.
    • [10:33] Expecting that the MIH will have a life.
    • [10:56] Where to find more information about the project.
    • [11:25] The EDRM MIH specification.
    • [11:38] The EDRM MIH guidelines.
    • [12:00] The EDRM MIH infographic.
    • [12:17] THE EDRM MIH white paper for lawyers, written by Craig Ball.
    • [13:03] Available to use today or soon, in products from Reveal, Relativity, EDT, and Nuix, with others working on it as well.
    • [14:30] Additional tools available for those without access to major platforms.
    • [16:11] Use cases: exchanging data between parties.
    • [16:45] Use cases: cross-border matters.
    • [17:10] Use cases: language specific challenges.
    • [18:36] Use cases: across matters for a single company.
    • [19:07] Use it!

Key Quotes 

  • “When you receive data from other parties that have been processed in different platforms, MD5s don’t match. You have to reprocess data, which costs clients a lot of money. What we did was set out to solve that problem.”
  • “We set out, our thought was we would probably come up with what fields are used for deduplication and the order and then ask venders like to implement it. But that’s not what we did. We decided that was too hard. We figured out how complicated that would be.”
  • “[We] decided to pivot just to emails and do a low-touch, simple, open solution. Deduplication will continue as it is on every platform, we’re not trying to change that world. We expect that people who use our solution will have already probably deduplicated their data through a platform. The problem we pivoted to was the cross-platform problem.”
  • “There’s a field called message ID in every email that goes across the internet. There’s a standard for message ID that has to be complied with in order for [the message] to travel across the internet. It’s unique. Our solution is to take a hash of that message ID … and that’s call the message ID hash or the EDRM Message ID Hash or the EDRM MIH.”
  • “There actually is some proprietary information, confidential potentially, like domain names, in some message IDs. We wanted to strip out anything which is confidential or privileged or proprietary… The other benefit of hashing is the hash value is always the same length where message IDs can vary in length.”
  • “Like any good eDiscovery tool, you need to know when to apply it, and your need to understand your dataset and whether it’s going to work or not.”
  • “If you are a product provider, put the MIH into your product for us. If you’re a service provider or law firm, we want you to ask for the MIH in your protocols. If you are a lawyer, we actually want you to instruct your teams to get the MIH because it’ll save your clients money. Another big group of stakeholders are courts and regulators. We really, really want to encourage them to put the MIH into their protocols.

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