Highlights from the NorCal eDiscovery & IG Retreat 2016

The 2016 NorCal Retreat was held at the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, marking the fifth anniversarynorcal2016_cliffs of the Ing3nious retreat series (originally under the name Carmel Valley eDiscovery Retreats).  As always, the location was beautiful and the talks were informative.  Two of the speakers had books available: Christopher Surdak’s Jerk: Twelve Steps to Rule the World and Michael Quartararo’s Project Management in Electronic Discovery: An Introduction to Core Principles of Legal Project Management and Leadership In eDiscovery.  My notes below provide some highlights from the sessions I was able to attend (there were two simultaneous sessions most of the day).  You can find more photos here.

The Changes, Opportunities and Challenges of the Next Four Years
The keynote by Christopher Surdak covered topics from his new book, Jerk (jerk is the rate of change of acceleration, i.e., the third derivative of position with respect to time).  After surveying the audience and finding there was nobody in the room that didn’t have a smartphone, he listed the six challenges of the new normal: quality (consumers expect perfection), ubiquity (anything anywhere anytime), immediacy (there’s an app for that, instantly), disengagement (people buy the result–they don’t care where it came from), intimacy (customers want connectedness and sense of community), and purpose (support customers’ need to feel a sense of purpose, like paying a high price to be “green”).  He then described the four Trinities of Power that we’ve gone through over history: tools, dirt (land), analog (capital), and digital (information).  Information is now taking over from capital–the largest companies are Apple, Google, and Microsoft.  Much of the global economy is experiencing negative interest rates–the power of capital is going away.  He then described the twelve behaviors of Jerks, the disruptive companies that come out of nowhere and take off:

  1. Use other people’s capital – Airbnb uses your home; Uber uses your car
  2. Replace capital with information – Amazon is spending money to create retail stores to learn why you go there.
  3. Focus on context, not content
  4. Eliminate friction
  5. Create value webs, not value chains – supply chains slow you down when you have to wait for a step to complete.  What someone values will change tomorrow, so don’t get locked into a contract/process.
  6. Invert economies of scale and scope – concierge healthcare and doctor on demand are responses to unsatisfying healthcare system
  7. Sell with and through, not to
  8. Print your own money – Hilton points, etc.
  9. Flout the rules – rules are about controlling capital. Fan Duel (fantasy sports) refuses cease and desist because there is more money in continuing to operate even after legal costs.  Tesla sells directly (no dealerships).   Uber has a non-compliance department (not sure if he meant that literally).
  10. Hightail it – people with unmet needs (tail of distribution) are willing to norcal2016_keynotepay the most
  11. Do then learn, not learn then do – learning first is driven by not wanting to waste capital
  12. Look forward, not back – business intelligence is about looking back (where is my capital?)

Dubai is legally obligating its government to open data to everyone.  They want to become the central data clearinghouse.  You can become an e-resident of Dubai (no reporting back to the U.S. government).

How About Some Truly Defensible QC in eDiscovery? Applying Statistical Sampling to Corporate eDiscovery Processes
I was on this panel, so I didn’t take notes.

Analytics & eDiscovery: Employing Analytics for Better, More Efficient, and Cost-Effective eDiscovery
I wasn’t able to attend this one.

Can DO-IT-YOURSELF eDiscovery Actually Deliver?
This was a software demo by Ipro.  Automation that reduces human touching of data improves quality and speed.  They will be adding ECA over the next month.

Behind the eDiscovery Ethics Wheel: Cool, Calm, and Competent
I wasn’t able to attend this one.

“Shift Left”: A New Age of eDiscovery – Analytics and ECA
I wasn’t able to attend this one.

When the Government Comes Knocking; Effective eDiscovery Management During Federal Investigations
Talk to custodians–they can provide useful input to the TAR process or help you learn what relevant documents are expected to look like.  Do keyword search over all emails and use relevant documents found to identify important custodians.  Strategy is determined by time frame, volume, and budget.  Don’t tell the government how you did the production–more details tends to lead to more complications.  Expectations depend on the agency.  Sophistication varies among state AGs.  Different prosecutors/regions have different expectations and differing trust.  The attorney should talk to technologists about documenting the process to avoid scrutiny later on.  Having good processes lined up early demonstrates that you are on top of things.  Be prepared to explain what body of data you plan to search.  Only disclose details if it is necessary for trust.  Describe results rather than methods.  The FTC, DOJ, and SEC will ask up front if you are using keywords or predictive coding.  If you use keywords, they will require disclosure of of the words.  When dealing with proprietary databases, negotiate to produce only a small subset.  Government uses generic template requests–negotiate to reduce effort in responding.  In-place holds can over-preserver email (can’t delete email about kids’ soccer practice).  Be aware of privacy laws when dealing with international data.

The Next Generation of Litigation Technology: Looking Beyond eDiscovery
I wasn’t able to attend this one.

Top Trends in Discovery for 2016
Gartner says 50% of employers will require employees to BYOD by 2017.  Very few in the audience had signed a BYOD policy.  Very few had had a litigation hold on their personal phones.  Text messages are often included in a discovery request, but it is burdensome to collect them.  Wickr is a text messaging app that encrypts data in transit and the message self-destructs (much more secure than Snapchat).  BYOD policy should address security (what is permitted, what must be password protected, what to do if lost or stolen–remote wipe won’t be possible if you have the carrier disable the phone), ban jailbreaking, what happens when the employee leaves the company, prohibitions on saving data to the cloud, and they should require iOS users to enable “find my phone.”  Another trend is the change to rule 37(e).  There is now a higher bar to get sanctions for failure to preserve.  If an employee won’t turn over data, you can fire them but that won’t help in satisfying the requesting party.  It is too soon to tell if the changes to the FRCP will really change things.  With such large data volumes, law firms are starting to cooperate (e.g., telling producing party when they produced something they shouldn’t have).  Cybersecurity is another trend.  Small service providers may not be able to afford cybersecurity audits.  The final trend is the EU/US privacy shield.  The new agreement will go back to the courts since the U.S. is still doing mass surveillance.  Model contract clauses are not the way to go, either (being challenged in Ireland).

Through the Looking Glass: On the Other Side of the FRCP Amendments
I wasn’t able to attend this one.

norcal2016_receptionBest Practices for eDiscovery in Patent Litigation
For preservation, you should know which products and engineers are involved.  It is wise to over-preserve.  You may collect less than you preserve. There is more data in patent litigation.  Ask about notebooks (scientists like paper).  Also, look for prototypes shown at trade shows, user manuals, testing documents, and customer communications.  Tech support logs/tickets may show inducement of infringement.  Be aware of relevant accounting data.  50-60% of new filings are from NPEs (non-practicing entities), so asymmetric.  In 2015 the cost of ediscovery was $200k to $1 million for a $1 million patent case.  In the rule 26(f) meeting, you should set the agenda to control costs.  Get agreement about what to collect in writing.  Don’t trust the person suing you to not use your confidential info–mark as “for attorney’s eyes only,” require encryption and an access log.  It is difficult to educate a judge about your product.  Proportionality will only change if courts start looking at the product earlier.

Everything is the Same/Nothing Has Changed
What has really changed in the FRCP?  Changes to 26(b)(1) clarify, but proportionality is not really new.  The changes did send a message to take proportionality and limiting of discovery seriously.  The “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” part was removed.  The judiciary should have more involvement to push proportionality.  The responding party has a better basis to say “no.”  NPEs push for broad discovery to get a settlement.  There is now more premium on being armed and prepared for the meet and confer.  Need to be persuasive–simply saying “it is burdensom” is not enough–you need to explain why (no boilerplate).  Offer an altnorcal2016_golfernative (e.g., fewer custodians).  One panelist said it was too early to say if proportionality has improved, but another said there has been a sea change already (limiting discovery to fewer custodians).  The lack of adoption of TAR is not due to the rules–the normal starting point for negotiation is keywords.  Proportionality may reduce the use of predictive coding because we are looking at fewer custodians/documents.

It’s a Social World After All
I wasn’t able to attend this one.

The day ended with an outdoor reception.

2 thoughts on “Highlights from the NorCal eDiscovery & IG Retreat 2016

  1. Matthew

    Bill – Thanks for the summaries of conferences. Being in Australia, we rarely get to attend these kinds of events (and our domestic ones don’t have the same breadth as the US), and so its great to get your insights.

    Matthew

    Reply

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