eDiscovery Leaders Live
February 24th

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Darren Cerasi of Deloitte

George Socha
George Socha

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Darren Cerasi of Deloitte


Darren Cerasi, a partner in Deloitte’s Southeast Asia digital forensics practice, joins George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, for ACEDS #eDiscoveryLeadersLive.

Darren has 25 years’ experience working with technology in numerous fields. Over the last 20 years, he has focused on digital forensics, eDiscovery, and cyber security investigations. As a partner of Deloitte Forensics Southeast Asia based in Singapore, Darren leads the Discovery & Data Management team which is comprised of 30 digital forensics and electronic discovery professionals in 8 locations across Southeast Asia. Darren has acted for clients across the APAC region on a variety of matters such as enforcement of intellectual property rights, investigation of financial irregularities, theft of confidential data, criminal breach of trust and cybercrime.

Darren walked us through his path to eDiscovery and Singapore. He then focused on the logistics of working in Southeast Asia. He talked about the value of having experience in region, the need to deal with different laws, rules, and regulations from one country to another, and the importance of understanding what is and what is not appropriate in any given country. Darren, then moved litigation, arbitration, and investigations – how that landscape is very different in Southeast Asia that in the US or Europe and the rule Deloitte fills there. Finally, Darren discussed how they take advantage of analytics, machine learning, and similar capabilities to meet client needs.

Key Highlights

  • [1:57] Darren’s background, his path to digital forensics and eDiscovery, and setting up his own company in Singapore.
  • [4:54] The early days of eDiscovery in Singapore and Asia.
  • [6:16] Joining Deloitte and building a team across Southeast Asia.
  • [7:05] The importance of experience in region.
  • [8:00] How to deal with the different laws, rules, and regulations across Southeast Asia.
  • [8:23] Pushing their technology to the cloud during Covid.
  • [9:03] Adapting to specific country laws: Vietnam.
  • [10:58] Adapting to specific country laws: China.
  • [13:12] Country requirements varying by industry, such as banking.
  • [14:30] Cross-border data transfer, data privacy, state secrets issues.
  • [15:32] A greater focus in Southeast Asia on investigations and arbitrations than litigation.
  • [16:50] Where they do see litigation in Southeast Asia.
  • [17:52] The value of being able to educate parties about eDiscovery practices in other parts of the world.
  • [19:11] Explaining the vastness of and variety across Southeast Asia to folks from Europe and the US.
  • [20:35] What they do on the investigative side.
  • [22:54] In investigations, using all the skills and tools at their disposal.

Key Quotes 

  • “A lot of what we do in Asia Pacific is actually investigations.”
  • “[In around 2007] I was the first person to bring an eDiscovery platform to Singapore. The following year, Singapore was the first Asian country to issue rules of court in relation to the disclosure of electronic documents.”
  • “How do you deal with, not just the culture, but also the laws, rules, and regulations [across Southeast Asia] because they’re all different? … You need to have people on the ground with the experience, with the expertise, who are in country or at least have been in country.”
  • “[In Vietnam] we’re on the ground, we’re the only team with technology, we’re the only show in town…. We have our own data center. To my knowledge, there is no cloud in Vietnam.”
  • “In China there’s no concept of legal privilege. That one completely surprises individuals who aren’t used to working in China.”
  • “Where we see litigation in Asia, it’s actually Asian clients facing litigation in the UK or facing litigation in the United States.”
  • “[In Southeast Asia] many times the clients just don’t understand [litigation or regulatory scrutiny in the United States]. ‘What’s a legal hold?’ is a common question we get asked.”
  • “The latest trend we are seeing, which I think is important to be aware of, is sanctions…. You look at the various sanction regimes that are in place from the US, for example, as well as other countries and that’s creating a huge risk for our clients. We are helping them with those types of matters where they may be Asia-based but they need to respond to regulation of the United States.”
  • “We leverage analytics throughout our entire process. We leverage machine learning because many times you need to find that needle in a haystack and running a bunch of keywords based on the allegation of based on your past experience just doesn’t yield the result that you expect.”

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