eDiscovery Leaders Live: Christine Payne of Gunster

George Socha
George Socha

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Christine Payne of Gunster


Christine Payne, a shareholder at Gunster, joins George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, for ACEDS #eDiscoveryLeadersLive.

Christine is a Chambers‐ranked and nationally recognized advocate specializing in eDiscovery and litigation strategy. With deep experience in high‐dollar, bet‐the‐company cases, Christine frequently serves as “discovery counsel” alongside merits counsel from the top law firms in the country. In this role, Christine handles all aspects of discovery strategy and implementation for complex commercial litigation, restructuring‐related litigation, products‐liability mass actions, antitrust matters, Section 220 requests, and ongoing or anticipated investigations. Christine also teaches on the topics of eDiscovery strategy and advocacy and is a sought‐after speaker and author in the field. Christine received her J.D., with honors, from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law and a B.A., cum laude, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Christine discussed a new mental health initiative she and others have been working on, The Mind-Budget ConnectionTM (“MBC”). She started with what motivated her and others to launch this initiative. She then talked about what they hope to accomplish, including three specific step, and finished up with a call to action: please complete their survey.

In addition to Christine, others working on this initiative include Stacy Sampeck, Assistant General Counsel at 3M and Chair of the 3M Legal Affairs Workplace Inclusion, Satisfaction, and Energy (WISE) Committee; Kevin Brady, Corporate Counsel eDiscovery and RIM at Volkswagen; Amy Sellars, Senior Counsel eDiscovery Operations at CBRE; Logan Cornett, Director of Research at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver; and Chad Riley, Vice President, Client Advisory, at Sandline.

The Mind-Budget Connection eDiscovery and Mental Health survey is open through June 30. Please consider taking a few minutes to complete it.

Key Highlights

  • [2:30] Results from ALM Intelligence 2022 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey.
  • [4:10] A growing crisis, in the eDiscovery community as well as elsewhere, which has led to the Mind-Budget Connection initiative.
  • [5:25] The origins of the initiative.
  • [7:21] Restructuring eDiscovery contracts to lead to be mental health outcomes.
  • [8:29] eDiscovery contracts not currently designed for success.
  • [9:58] A particular focus on those delivering and those consuming eDiscovery services.
  • [11:27] Trying to get folks thinking about how eDiscovery work is staffed.
  • [12:34] Within contracts, looking for areas designed for failure.
  • [15:52] The initiative’s long terms goals.
  • [17:53] Step 1: the eDiscovery and Mental Health survey being conducted by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver.
  • [22:01] Step 2: gathering more in-depth qualitative data through interviews.
  • [22:48] Step 3: getting results to the community.
  • [23:24] The core participants in the initiative.
  • [25:33] Folks who’ve been offering to help.
  • [26:54] If you want to join the initiative or get more information, fill out the Google form at the end of the survey.
  • [27:58] Closing thoughts.

Key Quotes by Christine Payne

  • “I see mental health outcomes [in eDiscovery] getting worse. I see my colleagues and my friends suffering way higher rates of burnout than I think we saw previously, physical symptoms related to stress, and so I along with others are working as part of an initiative called the Mind-Budget Connection.”
  • “Really this is a very modest initiative, just trying to figure out what can we say about what’s happening in the eDiscovery community and is there anything we can do about it from a structural perspective where we could work together to improve mental outcomes for those of us working here.”
  • “Everybody kind of understands the mind-body connection and so that’s why we talk a lot about wellness and exercise and deep breathing. But to me actually there’s a more structural component in the eDiscovery community related to contracts and budgets and so I thought oh, we should do this called the mind-budget connection where we try to help people restructure their contracts to lead to better mental health outcomes.”
  • “How can we get relief for the people who are working to much and too many hours?”
  • “Ultimately what we would like to be able to offer to the community is very modest and that is just some principles that folks could consider during contract formation, maybe if we get ambitious even some model clauses that could be incorporated.”
  • “Increasing transparency in pricing discussions and in contract discussions is probably the best outcome we could achieve.”

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