I recently interviewed Ashish Prasad, Vice President and General Counsel for HaystackID, who is widely regarded as among the leading experts on discovery in the United States. We covered so much with regard to eDiscovery trends that we couldn’t fit it all in a single blog post. Part One of my interview was published Monday, here is part two.
You lead the corporate consulting practice at HaystackID. Putting aside challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic for a moment (which are unique themselves), what do you think some of the biggest eDiscovery challenges have been for corporations in recent years?
Before the pandemic – and also after the pandemic – some of the biggest challenges facing corporations with respect to eDiscovery have been excessive costs, insufficient quality, and inconsistency of results. Over the past decade, most large corporations have moved toward centralizing and managing their eDiscovery functions, with defined processes and with approved preferred service providers. This has allowed corporations to reduce the costs of processing, hosting, and review. It has also allowed them to improve the quality of services that they receive from law firms and service providers with respect to eDiscovery, which has led to greater consistency in eDiscovery across all corporations’ matters.
We want to see corporations have a process that is utilized in every eDiscovery matter that arises. Obviously, the process must be tailored as required to the needs of that matter. Companies that do not have an eDiscovery process which has been implemented and documented in a manual or playbook, have higher costs and risk, because every matter that becomes significant in size is treated sui generis, with the strategies subject to the particular strategic decisions of the counsel in that matter.
With regards to the pandemic specifically, how do you think the pandemic will ultimately impact the legal profession and how it will impact the eDiscovery industry in particular?
It is hard for me to gaze into the crystal ball and say how the pandemic will impact the legal profession, but I do have more visibility into how it will impact the eDiscovery industry. One of the biggest impacts will be much more extensive utilization of remote work. On the collection, processing and hosting side, the work of project managers and analysts will be done even more remotely than it is being done now. In my view, this will often lead to an improvement in terms of services to clients, because service providers and law firms will be able to find and hire the best people for their eDiscovery roles, regardless of where the best people are residing. eDiscovery roles that were previously limited to candidates in the region of a physical office are more often going to be filled by people who may live hundreds or thousands of miles away from the physical office.
With respect to the document review side of eDiscovery, during COVID the entire document review industry has moved to a remote model. There is a wide variety among service providers in terms of their utilization of appropriate security and workflow processes around remote review, but over time, those review providers with lesser workflow and security processes will improve.
I think that remote review is here to stay and will be new normal after COVID. There may be some level of return to in-person review at review centers, but I think that the utilization of remote reviewers, which has gone up so dramatically during COVID, will continue to go up and up in the coming years, just like the utilization of remote workers in all other aspects of our national economy will continue to go up and up in the coming years.
We’re not done yet! The third and final part of my interview with Ashish Prasad will be published on Friday.
So, what do you think? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.
Wonderful to learn of another opinion tipping the scales toward continued remote work. It just makes more sense, and should be more cost-effective.