It’s great how a question from someone in the industry can lead me to find a resource I didn’t know existed (which, of course, leads to a blog post topic). In this case, it led me to identify a list of Diversity Questions for eDiscovery Suppliers, courtesy of the Electronic Discovery Institute, while also causing me to realize that eDiscovery is lacking studies on diversity trends.
It’s that last point that jumpstarted my research effort on this topic. Last week, Zelda Owens of Owens Williams & Associates LLC reached out to me and asked if I had seen any data regarding diversity trends in the eDiscovery industry. If anyone would be likely to be aware of any studies on diversity trends in eDiscovery, it would probably be Zelda – in addition to being a terrific speaker, thought leader, consultant and coach in our industry, she has also been at the forefront of diversity in eDiscovery in her leadership positions at Women in eDiscovery and The Masters Conference (among other organizations). So, if Zelda wasn’t aware of any, I was somewhat doubtful that there were any good studies, but I decided to do a little research anyway to see what I could find.
And I did find an excellent four-page report from The Sedona Conference® titled The State of Diversity and Inclusion in eDiscovery, authored by Kimberly J. Duplechain and Daryl Osuch. The report does have some telling diversity numbers regarding the legal and technology industries in general (noting that both industries “have struggled to achieve diverse and inclusive workforces”), but it also notes that “there is a dearth of comprehensive studies or surveys of diversity and inclusion in eDiscovery”. Well, darn. I was unable to find any either — if anybody knows of a diversity study with eDiscovery specific data, please let me know.
But one of the resources mentioned in that report was the Electronic Discovery Institute (“EDI”) and how it has expressed its commitment to fostering diversity in eDiscovery through its Diversity Pledge and its implementation of the EDI Diversity Mentorship Program Charter. EDI’s Diversity Initiative page contains the Diversity Pledge, information about the Mentorship Program, a list of companies that are Diversity Pledge Signees (which includes two eDiscovery Today partner companies – HaystackID and Cobra Legal Solutions) and the resource that is referenced in the title of this post: Diversity Questions for eDiscovery Suppliers.
The Diversity Questions for eDiscovery Suppliers is a single page PDF document with a list of 21 questions “developed by the EDI Diversity Initiative to assist clients entering the E-Discovery RFP process with prospective service providers. The questions are intended to shape the conversation regarding diversity within an organization and ensure that any potential candidates prioritize the advancement of diverse viewpoints in accordance with the goals set out upon by the EDI Diversity Initiative and its signatory organizations.” Examples of the questions include:
- Does your Company have a supplier diversity program?
- Indicate whether your company’s executive leadership includes women or minorities.
- Does your company have a designated individual responsible for leading your diversity initiatives?
And so forth. It’s a terrific checklist for diversity that I didn’t know about – and if I didn’t, maybe you didn’t either! Certainly, eDiscovery suppliers should take note of it! Thanks, EDI, for a great program and a great resource! And thanks, Zelda, for asking the question to lead me to it!
So, what do you think? Were you aware of the Diversity Questions for eDiscovery Suppliers? If not, now you are! 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.