eDiscovery Leaders Live: Doug Forrest of ILS

George Socha
George Socha

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Doug Forrest of ILS


Douglas Forrest, Senior Vice President, eDiscovery Analytics and Strategy at ILS, 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.

A nationally recognized eDiscovery expert with over a decade of experience negotiating ESI protocols and validation methodology for defense-side use of predictive coding, Doug also assists plaintiffs’ counsel with developing best strategies and practices to obtain and produce plaintiff electronic discovery and manages ILS’ data mining initiatives regarding missing custodians, potential discovery abuse, efficacy of search terms, and various other data analyses. As a lawyer and an information technology professional, Doug brings unique multidisciplinary experience to his practice, assisting counsel with surmounting technical challenges across the entire eDiscovery process.

Doug focused on two sets of challenges facing eDiscovery and legal practitioners: first, collecting social media and, second, addressing so-called “modern documents” – documents and other files connected to email and other messages via hyperlinks. For the latter, Doug discussed differences in dealing with those files in Google’s environment and in Microsoft’s. Doug closed with thoughts from the plaintiffs’ side on Teams and Slack, and then on asymmetrical litigation.

Key Highlights

    • [0:57] Introducing Doug Forrest, his background, and his role at ILS today.
    • [2:43] The coming complexity in eDiscovery: collecting social media.
    • [3:45] The coming complexity in eDiscovery: links instead of attachments.
    • [4:24] Social media challenges: collecting plaintiffs’ data.
    • [6:33] Social media challenges: when social media companies are the organizations providing data.
    • [8:09] The change in how people create, store, and manage information: Google v. Microsoft.
    • [8:43] Challenges with Google Workspace environment and linked attachments.
    • [9:05] Ways to get the Google Workspace linked attachments.
    • [10:07] The Microsoft side: Purview.
    • [10:43] Suggestions for how litigators can effectively address links.
    • [12:25] More complexities to come as documents essentially become websites.
    • [14:17] The plaintiff perspective on Teams and Slack.
    • [15:16] A plaintiff-side view on eDiscovery in asymmetrical litigation.

Key Quotes 

  • “A couple of trends that we are seeing. One is the push to collection social media where the concept of custody, possession, and control takes some interesting permutations since you can really only collect what the platform allows you to have.”
  • “The other [area of complexity is] in terms of there not being physical attachments [to emails] but instead there just being a link to a document that’s being kept in a online repository of some kind, whether it’s Google Workspace or OneDrive or SharePoint. Tools are still catching up with that.”
  • “Where the entity supplying the data is the social media company … they tend to be let’s say less than initially fully forthcoming in terms of what their capabilities are in terms of providing that data and what they track.”
  • “What Google Vault doesn’t do, if you’re applying search terms in Google Vault and you then hit on an email and want to download the email and the linked attachments to internal documents, Google Vault will not retrieve those.”
  • “[Microsoft has] a tool called Purview, which is what Compliance Center grew into. It’s available in three levels. Once’s called Content Search, one’s called eDiscovery, the last once’s called eDiscovery Premium. eDiscovery Premium will collect the links and that’s a dramatic advance.”
  • “We’re really only at the start of the complexities that are going to come. Microsoft has come out with this thing called the Fluid Framework which is the latest iteration of a not necessarily novel idea, but basically the concept of compound documents that contain links which are live all the time…. In some sense, it’s like documents are going to become their own websites.”
  • “We see a lot of Microsoft Teams. It’s becoming a substitute for email…. [Teams and Slack] both present challenges, issues, complexities in terms of how you being to address that data, what one’s responsibilities are in terms of producing it, and what is reasonable in terms of the negotiation as to how much of that data you’re going to able to obtain.”
  • {For plaintiffs in asymmetrical litigation], where the rubber really hits the road is in getting your own vendor and getting your own expert… If you are not an expert, you better have one with you.”

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