eDiscovery Leaders Live: David Cohen of Reed Smith

George Socha
George Socha

eDiscovery Leaders Live: David Cohen of Reed Smith


David Cohen, a partner at Reed Smith, joins George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, for ACEDS #eDiscoveryLeadersLive.

The chair of Reed Smith’s Records & E-Discovery Group, David has 30 years of commercial litigation experience in a variety of subject matters. David serves as special e-discovery counsel in many cases, represents companies in complex litigation matters, and also counsels clients on records management and litigation readiness issues. David has been involved in setting up the E-Discovery Special Masters (EDSM) program in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and he has been appointed to serve as an EDSM in three separate cases by three different Federal judges. He also served on the Pennsylvania E-Discovery Rules Subcommittee, chaired by Allegheny County, PA Common Pleas Judge Stanton Wettick. In addition, David has designed and presented e-discovery training programs for judges and neutrals around the country; has authored numerous legal publications; and is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education seminars regarding e-discovery, technology, and litigation tactics.

David talked about the topic du jour, all things generative AI.

Key Highlights

    • [1:08] Introducing David.
    • [1:16] David’s role at Reed Smith.
    • [1:37] How David got into eDiscovery.
    • [3:45] Starting an eDiscovery practice group at Reed Smith in 2005 and the eventual shift to full-time eDiscovery and information governance.
    • [4:37] Generative AI: embrace it or become obsolete.
    • [5:45] Generative AI warning #1: don’t put sensitive or privileged data in public generative AI programs or other public programs.
    • [7:42] Generative AI warning #2: Don’t trust it.
    • [8:33] Efforts to develop ChatGPT guardrails.
    • [9:01] Start playing with it and learn its capabilities.
    • [9:14] What lawyers might do with generative AI tomorrow: moving from a 50-hour workweek to a 30-hour one while still getting paid.
    • [10:33] Generative AI replacing lawyers … eventually?
    • [13:09] Adding to the productivity of society.
    • [14:16] Debbie Reynolds’ talk at SOLID and her 5 tips for what lawyers can do with generative AI today: Tip – ask it to do research, such as tell us what the leading privilege cases are in Illinois or tell us why people should not spoliate evidence.
    • [15:16] Tip: ask it to take that answer and put it into a haiku (or any other style you want).
    • [15:53] Tip: ask it to summarize documents – or maybe eventually deposition transcripts.
    • [16:30] Tip: ask it to finish a paper you start writing.
    • [16:55] Tip: ask it to give you ideas for podcast topics.
    • [17:32] Suggestions for how to get started: develop GPT guidelines.
    • [19:26] Suggestions for how to get started: put together an internal exploratory group.

Key Quotes 

  • “You can try to ignore [generative AI] and hope it goes away. It’s not going to, and you will become obsolete. So don’t do that. You need to start understanding this new technology and you need to embrace this new technology and figure out how to leverage it because there are lots of ways it can actually help you do your job and add efficiency and add value for your clients.”
  • “The terms of use with ChatGPT say they have access to your data. You could be help to waive privilege, you certainly could be jeopardizing client confidences, so you don’t want to use it for any sensitive information.
  • “[ChatGPT] gives very convincing answers… [I]t can tell you information in a very authoritative and convincing sounding way and that information can prove to be completely false. It can make things up and sometimes that’s referred to as ‘hallucinations’. Anything you get out of ChatGPT does have to be independently checked.”
  • “I encourage everybody to get in and without using sensitive data start playing with it and learn its capabilities because it can do some amazing things and its just going to get better and better.”
  • “I think the point will be reached where technology is able to replace much of what humans do. The positive spin on that is, shorten our work week but make us more productive so that we can enjoy an increased standard of living. The downside of that and the fear is, oh, does this mean we’re all going to become unemployed? I don’t think that’s going to happen, but people do have that concern as well.”
  • “Then we asked it to take that answer and put it into a haiku, and here’s the haiku: ‘Preserve evidence. Destroying it leads to cost. Legal woes abound.’”

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