February 2017 Industry News Round-Up

A monthly round-up of key industry news, useful publications, new cases, and other resources

Each month we collect the most important news and most useful resources we’ve found and share them here to help you separate the signal from the noise.  February 2017 was kicked off with a strong signal from the EDRM organization, which is now a part of the Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies.  On February 9th, it announced a major new effort to develop standards and guidance for the effective use of technology-assisted review – an effort in which our own Senior eDiscovery Consultant Tom O’Connor will be participating, as he details in his post listed below.

Here are the rest of February’s highlights:

Cost-Conscious Counsel Question

Under continuing pressure to control costs despite growing data volumes, corporate counsel are becoming more proactive in their oversight and evaluation of the ways outside counsel handle eDiscovery work – particularly with regard to excessive second level document review.  Counsel also describe the oversight benefits of partnering with an outside service provider that can both guide and monitor outside counsel activity.

Big Law Gets in the IoT Game

As we discussed in a recent post, the Internet of Things is already beginning to present novel legal challenges, both in eDiscovery and beyond it.  Some large law firms are already creating dedicated, multi-disciplinary teams to face those challenges:

Comprised of lawyers from an array of backgrounds ranging from mathematics and statistical analysis to highly-specialized practice areas like intellectual property and cybersecurity, these motley assortments of highly-skilled professionals are collaborating within their respective firms to address [the] multitude [of] issues involving contracts, analytics, technology, and more, all of which involve e-discovery.

The article references DLA Piper, Paul Hastings, Sidley Austin, Mayer Brown, and Finnegan as all pursuing some variation of this path.

A Few Legal Department Operations Insights

The results of the ninth annual Law Department Operations Survey revealed four trends worth noting:

  1. There were substantial increases in the insourcing of downstream eDiscovery activities, including processing, hosting, review, and production.
  2. Very little use is being made of collaboration technologies (or even shared systems access) between law departments and the law firms that support them.
  3. Law department metrics programs are still immature, with most respondents pinning their department’s maturity level at one or two on a five-point scale.
  4. Cybersecurity is both an area of major concern and an area of major shortfalls:

Only 16 percent consider their law firms’ cybersecurity provisions to be very effective, and most are not doing very much to understand what steps their law firms are taking: Only 34 percent require cyber questionnaires, and only 35 percent put cyber requirements in their billing guidelines. It’s no surprise that more than a third of the respondents cannot even rate their firms’ ability to protect their data.

Two New eDiscovery Cases: Spoliation Sanctions and Production Format

The Electronic Discovery Law Blog run by K&L Gates identified two new eDiscovery cases in the month of February:

  • HCC Ins. Holdings, Inc. v. Flowers
    • Despite some “troubling” activity, no spoliation sanctions were applied when there was insufficient evidence of actual existence, possession, and loss of the alleged materials to establish spoliation had taken place.

Millnet/Advanced Discovery February Publications

And, finally, if you’ve not already reviewed them, here are the recent publications from Millnet/Advanced Discovery:

Check back next month for our next industry news round-up.

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