I love an educational case study and when it’s from someone I greatly respect, even better! Robert Keeling, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP, just published an article where he discussed the case that showed him the value of eDiscovery plans.
His article (The Case That Showed Me The Value Of E-Discovery Plans) was originally published on Law360, but is now available on the Sidley site here. In it, Robert discusses how, in October 2016, AT&T Inc. announced its plan to merge with entertainment company Time Warner Inc., a historic $85 billion deal that was widely publicized and combined two historic companies.
The AT&T-Time Warner deal was subject to the requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act a federal antitrust law that requires companies to provide the government with advanced notice of deals exceeding a certain dollar amount. Pursuant to the HSR, the U.S. Department of Justice issued what is known as a second request, which is similar to a large document request in civil litigation.
As I’ve discussed on this blog several times, eDiscovery for a second request is like eDiscovery on steroids – the time frame is compressed, and the document population requested (demanded?) is often huge and enterprise-wide. I can only imagine how it must have been for the second request for this unprecedented sized transaction.
Not only that, but the DOJ later filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November 2017, to try to block the merger. The DOJ claimed that the transaction would reduce competition and harm consumers by resulting in higher prices for access to a broad range of television programming. A six-week trial followed, but in June 2018, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in AT&T’s favor, holding that the deal was legal and that the merger could go through with no restrictions, and the deal closed just days later.
The length of the process was such that Robert stated that his new son when the merger was announced was a “chubby-faced, 20-month-old toddler headed off to preschool” by the time it was approved.
In the article, Robert discusses the role of eDiscovery played in AT&T’s complete win and his reflections on the value of eDiscovery plans that includes some of the most successful strategies that were employed and some lessons learned during the course of the project as well.
I’m a big believer in the value of eDiscovery plans and Robert’s five-page article does a great job of illustrating the importance of one – in possibly as challenging an eDiscovery project as you can get. Check it out here! Now, if we can just get him to work on his spelling of “E-Discovery”… 😉
So, what do you think? Do you have any case studies that illustrate the value of eDiscovery plans? 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.