It is the new year so everybody is talking about resolutions, even those working in the field of electronic discovery. While we all have our personal resolutions, many legal professionals also create resolutions to improve their jobs, client happiness, organization, or their use of legal technology. Litigation professionals across the world are creating resolutions related to their electronic discovery positions by re-evaluating processes or changing the way they interact with clients. What are these legal professionals planning to do in 2015 and is it similar to your goals?
In this episode of The ESI Report, Michele Lange interviews twelve different litigation professionals about their 2015 resolutions in the field of e-discovery. Their resolutions include enhancing the level of electronic discovery consulting services, helping clients proactively manage high risk data, focusing on improving attorney experience, and helping clients automate their data storage for efficiency. In addition to client based resolutions, many of the e-discovery professionals set more personal work-related goals. These include being more patient with questions, not setting expectations for what will happen any given day, working on less urgent but still important tasks, and learning about new technology. A couple of the guests are working on specific projects this year including the implementation of a new email policy and ensuring a new document review center is running smoothly in the new year. You can learn a lot about the goals of these e-discovery experts including one fun fact: e-discovery is called e-disclosure in England.
In order, the guests include Josh Zylbershlag, Ralph Losey, Anthony Diana, David Yerich, Danny Thankachan, Daniel Kavan, Cliff Nichols, David Baldwin, Sue Kaiser, Shannon Capone Kirk, Joel Bothof, and James Sherer.
The ESI Report: E-Discovery Goals and Resolutions for 2015 – 1/21/2015
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Michele Lange: Hi, I’m Michele Lange and welcome to the ESI Report. Welcome to 2015! The term of the new year is always accompanied by reflections on the past and resolutions for the future. Do you have something that you are committed to achieving in 2015? Well whether your personal resolution is to spend more time with family, learn how to cook, or get to the gym a little more, we all have resolutions we want to focus on in the new year. Things are going to run a little differently today on the ESI Report as we hear from a handful of litigation professionals who will tell us their 2015 professional resolutions in the field of e-discovery. I hope you enjoy this special edition of the show, and let’s get started with our first guest. Our first guest is Josh Zylbershlag from New York city, and he’s with Paul Weiss. Josh, take it away.
Josh Zylbershlag: Thanks Michele, my 2015 e-discovery resolution is to continue to grow and enhance the level of electronic discovery consulting services we offer to our lawyers and clients. I plan on doing this by focusing on 3 key areas. First, as electronic discovery professionals, we have moved past the days of getting a CD of documents and putting them in a database. Today, we need to be prepared to advise internal and external clients on a variety of subjects, and must provide solutions that take into account: client needs, legal requirements, risks, and technical limitations. Doing so requires a level of training, education, and mentorship that is higher than ever before. In 2015, I plan to continue to focus on this area. Another key contributor to enhancing electronic discovery service, is demanding an emphasis on proper reporting and workflow during the e-discovery process. While the technologies that support this have existed for quite some time, it is critical that these tools are used in a deliberate and thoughtful way. Reports must be analyzed, and understood, and any red flags must be addressed. Similarly, the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has never been more true in the field of electronic prix. As data volumes continue to grow, and timelines continue to shrink, the patience required to carefully analyze reports and develop thoughtful workflows has become of paramount importance. This patience and concentration will continue to be a duty that my team and I will emphasize in 2015. Lastly, by focusing on the continuing standardization of processes and user experiences across platforms and service providers, I hope to see a significant enhancement in delivering quality to our customers in 2015.
Michele Lange: Thanks Josh. Our next guest is Ralph Losey from Jackson Lewis in Orlando Florida. Ralph.
Ralph Losey: Hi, I’ve got two resolutions; one kind of personal, and the other one pure e-discovery. The first one kind of personal – I know every e-discovery specialist faces this problem – I resolve to let people finish asking me the question before I give the answer. I know, we all get the same questions over and over, but I’m going to let people finish the question, so that’s my first resolution. The second one is I’m going to stop using the word recall unless I also say range, and I’m only going to say recall range. And if you haven’t seen the movie The Giver, where they talk about precision of language, that’s one of the rules – you really should, it’s a great novel. But anyway, precision of language is important when you talk about recall, and the reality is that my blog writes about now, there is no such thing as an exact recall value, only a recall range. So those are my resolutions for 2015, Michele.
Michele Lange: Thanks, very interesting. Our next 2015 New Years’ resolution guest is Anthony Diana from Reed Smith in New York city. Anthony, what’s your e-discovery resolution?
Anthony Diana: Thanks Michele. So my resolution for 2015 is to help clients proactively manage high-risk data that’s in the organizations, and that could be data that’s stored in enterprise, stored as third party suppliers or vendors, or data that’s produced in litigations and investigations. One of the things we see is organizations have vast amounts of information but only a certain percentage really carry significant risk for the organization; and that could be privilege information, personally identifiable information, that is subject data to privacy laws and regulations, business sensitive information like research and development or data that’s subject to nondisclosure agreements. So in 2015, I want to meet my clients’ needs to use technology, people, and process to develop cost-effective ways to manage enterprise data risk.
Michele Lange: Sounds like it’s going to be a great 2015. Our next guest is David Yerich from UnitedHealth Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. David, tell us about your 2015 e-discovery resolution.
David Yerich: Hi Michele, my goal for the new year is taking meaningful action. For me, this is about creating the time for all of those important but non-urgent items that get neglected. I believe addressing these items presents the best opportunities to make meaningful progress towards my goal. On the personal side, I’m going to work to stay more meaningfully connected with my family and friends by using my cell phone to actually talk and not text with them. On the professional side, my goal is to identify at least two meaningful changes that will continue to increase the value of our team’s work. These changes could be to remove unnecessary steps, add new processes, implement new technology, or likely some combination. So in early 2015, we will take a step back from the everyday hustle, gather the team, and review exactly how we perform our daily work. Brainstorm, then collectively, determine the best opportunities, and make those the focus in 2015 to accomplish the meaningful changes. Thank you, and best wishes in meeting your 2015 goals.
Michele Lange: Thanks so much David. Our next guest, coming to us from Dallas, Texas, is Danny Thankachan from Thompson & Knight. Danny.
Danny Thankachan: Thanks Michele. For 2015, my team and I are focusing on improving the attorney experience when working with litigation support and electronic discovery. This requires a comprehensive reanalysis of our internal processes, as well as the careful investigation of the benefits of managed services, with an emphasis on the key advantages that service providers can bring. These include review storage cost due to economies of scale, improved efficiency with overflow staffing, and investments in web-based dashboards and self-documenting workflows that law firms are not equipped to develop for themselves. We want to minimize emails and phone calls for status updates and thus promote self-service interaction. However, improving the attorney experience isn’t all just one-sided with the burden only falling on litigation support. Working with our I.T. trainers and attorney development group, we are investigating the benefits of incorporating the learning plans developed by LTC4; that is the Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition, and its upcoming e-discovery component into our practice. We also perceive substantial benefits to deploying the Casey Flaherty Legaltech Audit, in inspiring our attorneys to achieve higher levels of technical efficiency. As attorneys gain confidence in their technical competency, their experience in using the sophisticated tools available to them will also improve.
Michele Lange: Sounds like it’s going to be a great 2015, thanks Danny.
Danny Thankachan: Thank you, very busy.
Michele Lange: And now we have a global new years resolution coming all the way to us from London, England.
Daniel Kavan: Thanks Michele, my name is Daniel Kavan from Kroll Ontrack in London, England. My personal 2015 resolution is to keep up the long-distance running all through the Winter and beyond. But my e-discovery, or e-disclosure as we call it here, resolution, is also to do with running. It’s to make sure that the brand new Kroll ontrack document review center here in London is up and running smoothly in the new year. It’s a very exciting time for me and my colleagues here in Europe. We expect it to be a busy year of document review.
Michele Lange: Thanks so much Daniel. A New Years’ resolution from Stamford, Connecticut. Cliff Nichols from Day Pitney is our next guest. Cliff, what’s your e-discovery New Years’ resolution for 2015?
Cliff Nichols: Hello Michele, in 2015 my e-discovery resolution is to use predictive coding on every document production that I receive from opposing counsel. The small investment of time it takes to have an expert review a small sample of large document productions can meet tremendous dividends. It even works on smaller productions even if you plan to review all of the documents by humans. You can skip the random sample and just turn predictive coding on and let it run in the background. Then you sort and code the documents as you normally would, but you get the benefit of predictive coding with prioritization and suggestions a you go through the documents. This helps with speed and consistency. Now because accurate text and metadata is required for predictive coding dysfunction at its best, that leads me to my next 2015 New Years resolution, to seek a detailed agreement in writing on the form of document production in each and every case. Whether it’s a stipulated court order or just a written acknowledgement of a conversation between parties, these agreements demonstrate cooperation and could help to avoid significant and costly disputes.
Michele Lange: Thanks Cliff, it sounds like it’s going to be an exciting 2015.
Cliff Nichols: I certainly hope so.
Michele Lange: Our next New Years resolution for e-discovery is coming from Boston, Massachusetts.
David Baldwin: Hi, I’m David Baldwin and I’m the litigation support manager at Choate, Hall and Stewart in Boston. My personal New Years resolution is not to make resolutions, but if I had an e-discovery resolution, it would definitely be the resolution to give up; and by that, I mean to give up the idea that I have any control, really, over what’s going to happen to us here. I mean I may have the best of plans and I may have an idea about how my day is going to go or what I want to get done, but I have learned that I better not get too attached to it. And I have no control over what telephone call is going to come in or what case is going to suddenly need attention when I thought I was going to be doing something else. So I have found that the only intelligent response is to prepare myself for that in advance and just learn to deal with what’s coming up and forget about what I had in mind. So that’s the only way I can hang on to my sanity because I certainly can’t hang on to my agenda.
Michele Lange: David I love it, e-discovery is certainly full of lots of ups and downs and unknowances from day-to-day.
David Baldwin: Yeah, I mean every day is a demonstration of that; I really have given up trying to predict it.
Michele Lange: I love it, I love your anti-resolution, or your non-New Years resolution for 2015. Have a great New Year.
David Baldwin: Thank you!
Michele Lange: So, Sue Kaiser, our next e-discovery resolution, from Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio. Happy New Year, Sue, and tell us your e-discovery resolution for 2015.
Sue Kaiser: Hi everyone, again, I’m Sue Kaiser, I’m a practice support project manager with Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio. Anton Chekhov said that wisdom comes not with age but from education and learning. My resolution each year is to continue learning and educating myself on new technology so I can fully understand its impact on all stages identified within the EDRM. E-discovery can be demanding because each of us bring a unique view to the use and application of various systems and softwares. To learn about, and more importantly to understand various pieces of information and perspective, is the challenge of our profession. And as each new year begins, I renew my pledge to keep learning in order to better serve the firm and its clients. And I want to take a minute here to wish everyone a happy 2015.
Michele Lange: Thanks, Sue. Happy 2015 to you and good luck on your New Years resolution.
Sue Kaiser: Thanks very much.
Michele Lange: Shannon Capone Kirk from Ropes & Gray in Boston, Massachusetts. Tell us what your 2015 e-discovery New Years resolution is.
Shannon Capone Kirk: Probably the number one on my list is continuing or trying to be better at being more involved externally in having a larger dialogue with the bench and with counsel that may have opposing views on this issue; but really diving into and answering the question of, “Why are we engaging in such lengthy ESI protocols now,” when it comes especially to federal court actions. And I would hope that we could take a step back from that and get things back to a rational level and not so detailed in ESI protocols especially where it comes to document review. I think we need to allow producing parties to have and continue to have a greater control over that issue.
Michele Lange: Shannon, thanks so much for joining our listeners on the ESI Report and sharing your 2015 e-discovery New Years resolution.
Shannon Capone Kirk: Yep, no problem!
Michele Lange: And now for another New Years Resolution on the ESI Report; go ahead, Joel Bothof.
Joel Bothof: Hi, I’m Joel Bothof, I’m an e-discovery specialist at Medtronic in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and for 2015 my resolution is to help our organization as we implement a new email retention policy. This is a huge change for us, it certainly will reduce the volume of email and the costs associated with that, but will also be a very big culture shift in how employees use and store their email and in turn that impacts how we as an organization will treat that email and collect it when it’s needed for a litigation matter for review.
Michele Lange: Joel, that sounds like an awesome New Years resolution. Best of luck to you and Medtronic on implementing that new system.
Joel Bothof: Thank you very much and happy new year.
Michele Lange: Our last guest on the ESI Report, our special edition New Years Resolution show, is James Sherer, from Baker Hostetler in New York city. James, tell us about your 2015 e-discovery resolution.
James Sherer: My 2015 resolutions center around a better and perhaps more intelligent use of data and the related tools we have available. Personally I have a growing family, I’m getting more and more used to managing data associated with preschool applications, vaccination records, and daycare schedules. And I’m moving each day away from a post-it note-based approach. I’m gradually moving towards solutions that consistently make sense, and moving away from a day by day decision making process, whether it’s scanning a paper application emitted by my computer, or making sure I leave my work papers at home, or vice versa. Professionally, I have the same mindset, aside from the daycare component, where I want to help my clients use automated tools and processes to increase their consistencies in ways that are appropriate for their business and their processes. For example, while technology-assisted review has been among the buzz topics over the past few years, I’ve seen a change from a black box type approach to one of the many tools that clients can use, alone or in tandem, to appropriately deal with their discovery obligations. Better-informed clients are better partners in this process and getting them familiar with the sensible, creative, and appropriate approaches, that are the best fit to their challenges, is something that I want to continue in 2015.
Michele Lange: James, thank you so much for that, that’s an awesome way to wrap up the ESI Report. Happy new year to you.
James Sherer: Thank you very much.
Michele Lange: Well that wraps up another edition of the ESI Report; thanks to everyone listening and thanks to all the e-discovery professionals who shared their 205 New Years resolutions with us. If you want to reflect on the past 12 months of e-discovery and take a look at predictions for the future, check out Kroll Ontrack’s 2014 e-discovery trends report, where over 500 law firm and corporate e-discovery professionals were surveyed. To access the trend report, go to ediscovery.com. Here’s to a great 2015. Until next time, I’m Michele Lange, signing off for the ESI Report.
Advertiser: This was another edition of the ESI Report, sponsored by Kroll Ontrack. Be sure to follow Kroll Ontrack on Facebook and Twitter, or learn more about Kroll Ontrack software and services at www.KrollOntrack.com.
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