Avalon will be regularly highlighting one of our expert eDiscovery clients in a spotlight blog. This way you don’t have to just take our word for it.
This spotlight is on David Lapresi, eDiscovery and Litigation Support Manager at Phillips Lytle. David's responsibilities include consulting with firm staff and clients to develop technology and eDiscovery plans for each case, and providing training to staff on eDiscovery related topics. In addition, he manages vendor and technology selections for the firm's litigation matters.
How have you seen eDiscovery evolve in your career?
Hard to believe I have been involved with eDiscovery for 20 years, but one thing is for sure, many things have changed. Law firms and corporations have definitely now embraced, not only individuals who specialize in eDiscovery, but also the technology itself. The technology has come a long way from image based database review platforms to platforms specifically coded for handling Electronically Stored Information (ESI). ESI is so rich with metadata and eDiscovery technologies leverage it for the users. The platforms are now more end-to-end some and handle the entire workflow for presenting ESI to attorneys. We are finally seeing technology do the heavy lifting and do more to empower the attorneys. We are taking advantage of this at Phillips Lytle. By embracing the new technology, our attorneys can quickly gain transparency into the documents earlier in the process, and have more independence with finding the documents they need.
In your opinion where are the biggest changes going to take place in the industry over the next 3-5 years?
I believe consolidation will continue not only with service providers, but also with solutions. We are already starting to see eDiscovery become a larger part of enterprise solutions. Now it is part of the overall document management systems, making it easier for corporations to issue holds, collect data, and export for review. Over the past five years we have seen bigger companies getting their foothold into this space either by developing systems or acquiring a software company to augment their enterprise suite of products. We will continue to see the development and adoption of cloud based solutions that were built from the ground up to handle the processing, review and production of electronically stored information. There will be less movement of data between these phases and the products will be fully enriched with all the functionality needed and not as modular as some are built now. Pricing will continue to decline as more competitors enter this space and the platforms become more widely used.
What are the critical discussion points to have with attorneys at the onset of a matter that help eDiscovery run smoothly throughout the case?
The real key, as the question states it, is to have these discussions at the onset, as early as you can. One of the ways to keep things focused is to ask what are they looking for, and what information they need to litigate this case. Those questions tend to lead to a broader discussion about the case and what will be important. It might sound simple, but things can become very chaotic if there isn’t focus on what is needed. Sometimes you might start collecting entire mailboxes, entire hard drives and shares, when it can really be more focused or targeted than that. There are many choices that are available throughout the lifecycle of a case. Once the scope can be determined, you gain a sense of the manpower and technology that will be needed. We all know the more data you collect the more effort it takes to find those documents you need.
What do you think is important when it comes to selecting an eDiscovery service provider?
It’s important to look at their security model they have in place for the handling, hosting and backup of data. Also, you need to really look at their service agreement and understand the redundancy they have in place and their key service objectives. For example, they may mention that they have a backup site, but how quickly can they recover if a major interruption occurs. This is usually stated as their Recovery Time Objective. (RTO). Another key service objective is to look their Recovery Point Objective (RPO). How much work will be lost if they have to recover from a prior period? So you will want to know how often they are backing up. One other item is to find out what is the turnover rate for their workforce. Some vendors have high turnover and this can lead to quality issues and a slower response to solving issues as they arise. They all make mistakes, but how quickly can they fix them and ensure they don’t happen again. A stable workforce provides a good foundation for their services and technology.
What has changed in how firms are approaching document review over recent years?
We are seeing more advanced analytics built into review platforms so that documents can be presented to reviewers based on priority. Today reviewers are setting their eyes on documents that are the richest in content to what they need to litigate the case earlier in the process, simply due to the fact that advance analytics are built into review platforms.
If you liked this blog article, you might also want to read our eDiscovery Spotlight Featuring John Cook, Barclay Damon
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