What Music Production Can Teach Us About Legal Technology

This past weekend, I binged the AppleTV+ series Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson. There are six episodes, and each one focuses on a different aspect of music production.

One of the recurring themes of each episode is how new technology changed music. The LinnDrum shaped pop; the 808 shaped hip hop; the distortion pedal shaped heavy medal; autotune shaped dance music.

Nearly every episode poses the question… does technology make music more human or less human? One man’s exciting innovation is another man’s existential threat. Time and time again, the answer was the same: it’s not up to technology to make or break music. It’s how musicians choose to use it. That is why I thought this series about music production would make excellent fodder for a discussion about legal technology.

A lot of legal tech is designed to achieve the same goals as different kinds of music tech. Some of it is meant to automate repetitive tasks, like a drum machine. Some of it is meant to reduce human error, like autotune; digital forensics tools expand the types of data we can collect for an investigation, the same way a synthesizer expanded the kinds of sounds that musicians have at their disposal. eDiscovery platforms can help you sift through existing data to build a case, similar to how sampling software lets producers turn bits and pieces of old records into new tracks. Some tech is more like Apple’s Garage Band program: its primary purpose is to make the job just plain easier, so that less specialized professionals can do work that once required highly technical, specially trained experts. 

All of this technology opens up a whole new world for legal teams. It’s not only a world that allows them to do business as usual in less time for less money; It’s a world where we get to redefine “business as usual” altogether, similar to how so many machines have revolutionized music.

One of the most interesting things about Watch the Sound is how the show features interviews with engineers who designed groundbreaking music technology. Usually, these engineers had no real agenda to change how music sounds. Instead, they just wanted to make it quicker and easier for people to make music that fit traditional norms of “good.” The sounds that are now considered calling cards for different types of tech– from Prince’s use of drum machines to T-Pain’s use of autotune– didn’t exist yet. It took those other visionaries getting ahold of the tech for real innovation to happen.

Roger Linn recorded acoustic drums and programmed them into his drum machines.

For example, Roger Linn designed the Linn-LM1, a favorite drum machine of Prince, and later the LinnDrum, which was used across the ‘80s pop landscape in songs such as “Maniac” by Michael Sembello and “Take On Me” by a-ha. Linn was the first person to record acoustic drums and program them into a drum machine. He made his machines this way because he felt other options on the market were too synthetic-sounding.

Yet… one of the most iconic beats ever made with one of Linn’s machines is on “When Doves Cry.” Prince achieved this sound by purposefully programming the drums to be out of tune. The beat is so iconic largely because it doesn’t sound like a human drummer.

Prince’s music is remembered today in part because he didn’t just use the drum machine as a cheap shortcut to bypass human drumming. He saw drum machines as an exciting new frontier of sounds that were previously unknown to human ears.

The best eDiscovery project managers approach their jobs in a similar fashion. They’re able to not only get through discovery more efficiently, but repurpose technology for other types of work. A lot of tech that was initially designed to help clients through complex litigation is now being used for other big data conundrums that require reviewing lots of data and sorting it into different buckets. Cyber breach review and data remediation come to mind, but I’m sure that list of alternative purposes will continue to grow as the world continues to create more and more data.

Particularly skilled eDiscovery professionals push the limits of existing technology. Prince didn’t wait for Roger Linn to pre-program the drum setting he wanted; he took a machine and did something new and unexpected with it. We’re seeing this in legal tech as well, particularly with highly customizable programs such as Relativity. At Contact, our team developed Vu™ to help less-experienced Relativity users access the wealth of analytics data that already lives within the platform.

Of course with innovation often comes push back. Throughout the history of music, whenever new technology expanded the library of sounds that musicians could put on a record, there was inevitably someone complaining about how the new technology was “cheating” or “not real music.” Potential for progress often comes hand in hand with potential for regression.

Indeed, Watch the Sound also rightly points out how some aspects of music can only be done by humans. An episode about autotune mentions how sometimes the most emotive vocals aren’t 100% on pitch 100% of the time, and autotune can do more harm than good.

At one point, Mark Ronson plays a raw Lady Gaga vocal and says “there is no plugin in the world that can make you do this.”

At every turn, music producers have to make choices about when and how to use technology, and when to let human musicians do what only humans can. Does distorting a vocal drain it of all the emotion and humanity… or does it capture the angst and confusion that a song is trying to capture?

This is how legal teams need to work. Not only are their certain types of thinking that only humans can do… I’d wager there’s certain types of thinking only attorneys can do. No matter how advanced technology gets, there also needs to be someone at the helm making smart decisions about what work has to be done by an attorney, and what’s best left to technology.

That person needs to not only know that technology can help, but how it can help. It’s similar to how a skilled music producer doesn’t just have technology; they know what kinds of microphones and studio spaces give them the recordings they want; they know what other kinds of sounds can come from different instruments or other machines; they know how to mix it all together into a final song that works. They know when less is more, and when more is more. The best ones can harness technology in unexpected ways and make something like “When Doves Cry.”

The future of legal tech belongs to people who look at it the way Prince looked at drum machines: not to be a cheap imitation of humans, but to redefine our notions of what’s possible.

Managed Review vs. Unmanaged Review: Which One’s Right For You?

Complex litigation cannot happen without document review. Document review cannot happen without reviewers. This raises a lot of questions that most lawyers never learned about in law school: Which reviewers do you hire? What parts of review can be trusted to technology, and what parts absolutely have to be done by humans? What work requires actual attorneys, and what work is better left to other litigation support professionals? 

There’s a myriad of considerations that go into these decisions depending on the case at hand and the capabilities of that particular legal team. One of those decisions is “who should make all the other decisions?” When legal teams are either spread too thin or simply want someone with a different realm of expertise, managed review services can be a great for attorneys and their clients.

What eDiscovery Review Teams Do vs. What Lawyers Do

Lawyers are good at a lot of things. They tend to be good researchers, and good at drawing connections between seemingly unconnected pieces of evidence. Unfortunately, those relevant pieces of evidence don’t just show up at a lawyer’s doorstep all wrapped up with a bow. Usually, they’re hidden somewhere in a massive pile of data.

If your legal case is a jigsaw puzzle, most lawyers could probably put that puzzle together just fine if there are relatively few pieces and they all come in the same box. Now, imagine the pieces of the puzzle that you want to make are in a box with thousands of other pieces that make up less relevant pictures. What happens when you’re not even 100% sure you have all the right pieces to make the picture you want to make? Can you find other pieces along the way that might make other helpful pictures?

It would be impossible for any one person to make their chosen puzzle in such a scenario. Instead, you need a coordinated team of people going through documents and coding them as relevant. These reviewers aren’t usually the ones making calls about big picture legal strategy, but they know what kinds of puzzle pieces to look for so that those other attorneys can actually put a picture together.

Finding the right pieces in that unruly pile is a separate skillset from actually putting the pieces together once you have them. Plenty of lawyers have great experience in both these areas, but it’s not a given, and there’s no shame in asking for outside help when you need it.

How Remote Review Services Can Help

Remote review and managed review services allow for legal teams to scale as needed in order to take on larger, review-heavy matters. Smaller teams who don’t have enough man power internally can staff up for one matter, and then scale back down afterwards.

Document review services isn’t just about when you need more reviewers, but sometimes just different reviewers. Maybe you have documents in a foreign language that no one on your staff speaks; maybe you have a matter outside your normal realm of expertise, and need reviewers with different legal specialties.

Either way, lets you take better care of your clients without having internal hires for every possible scenario that your clients might throw at you (which isn’t realistic for most law firms.)

Remote review is a great option for most law firms, but it comes with challenges of its own. Someone has to decide which reviewers are best suited for your matter. Someone has to decide how many reviewers you need to meet a deadline; those reviewers have to report to someone on a day-to-day basis, and that person needs to have an intimate understanding of the whole case, your overarching legal strategy, and whatever technology you’re using to assist human reviewers. Even after you agree on answers to all those questions, someone should be reevaluating them on a daily basis as new information comes to light. Of course, all these challenges multiply if you’re leveraging remote review for multiple cases.

So that brings up a follow-up question…. Who should be that someone?

How Managed Review Can Help

In an unmanaged remote review situation, a client is still on the hook to answer questions from reviewers as they come up; the client need to clearly communicate to reviewers what they’re looking for, and make sure there’s consistency among how these different people code documents.

Unmanaged review does cost less money, but there can also be dire consequences if this point person is already spread thin and not able to give review management enough attention. What happens if an attorney gets caught up in court and can’t answer reviewers’ questions? What if they don’t notice that more reviewers are needed until it’s too late? What if they aren’t routinely assessing progress often enough, and don’t realize a pivot in legal strategy is necessary until review is 99% done and there’s still no “smoking gun”?

This is why the biggest law firms that are dealing with complex litigation on a regular basis typically hire dedicated discovery project managers apart from their regular attorneys. They know that discovery can require near constant attention, and oftentimes it’s just not possible to give it that attention while dealing with all the other demands of being a lawyer: writing briefs, going to client meetings, court dates, etc. Such firms also know how mismanaging discovery can have dramatic impacts downstream. Therefore, investing in constant vigilance at every step of the process will pay dividends later.

Managed review means you are not only temporarily hiring reviewers, but someone to manage them. Clients get to meet with one point person, describe their legal strategy and what they’re hoping to find in review. That point person turns around and handles all the other emails and meetings with the review team. Project managers can catch issues early on and bring them to the client’s attention.

How Do I Decide Which One Is Right For Me?

There’s different reasons someone might go the managed review route over unmanaged route. One might be that they simply don’t have attorneys with that discovery project management skillset. With managed review, a firm that cannot justify hiring discovery PMs internally can still have the same level of vigilance as a firm that could.

Another reason might be that even if attorneys are perfectly capable of managing review themselves, their current caseload just doesn’t allow them to give it the attention it needs. By letting someone else answer more of the emails and sit in on more of the meetings, that attorney can focus on other things that a discovery PM couldn’t do, such as deposing witnesses or writing briefs.

Of course it’s going to depend on many factors specific to your case which can’t be addressed here, but generally the key factors that should shape your decision are:  

  1. Do you have discovery project managers internally? These could be either dedicated personnel or attorneys who have experience managing review.

  2. Do those people actually have enough room on their plate now to take on the responsibilities of managing this review?

If an unmanaged review situation is likely to result in either a) an attorney not having enough time to give all their matters the attention they deserve or b) review being managed by someone who’s never done it before and may not understand the intricacies of it, the managed review route is often best.

How eDiscovery ALSPs Can Build a Better Future for Clients

For better or worse, eDiscovery ALSPs are playing an increasingly important role in complex litigations. That means the choice of who you pick for an eDiscovery vendor is becoming increasingly important too.

On paper, most vendors are essentially the same. They’re all offering to do the same work. Oftentimes price is the main thing differentiating Litigation Depot from Discovery Warehouse. That makes choosing harder, yet it’s still too important a decision to take lightly.

Since oftentimes the question of “can this vendor do the work I need done?” ends up as a draw, it’s important to look at other factors as well. One of the questions we like to raise at Contact is “how will this vendor’s work leave me better off than I was before?”

The way eDiscovery ALSPs approach their work can affect the way legal teams approach matters in the future. Yes, even matters where that client doesn’t re-hire the same service provider. Today, we wanted to give a general overview of the things that future-oriented service providers do differently compared to those that are only focused on one specific matter.

1. Spot vulnerabilities

Every case is different. That means the kind of data that is relevant can vary from case to case. Most vendors will rightfully start by looking for information that is relevant for the case they were actually hired for.

But… what about all those other cases that may or may not have happened yet? A vendor that is too laser-focused on the matter at hand might miss vulnerabilities that could be exploited later. Oftentimes, if you’re going through large chunks of data for one particular matter anyway, it’s more efficient to look for other potential vulnerabilities while you’re at it vs. two totally separate searches for two totally separate matters.

2. Establishing deletion & retention policies

One of the most important pieces of any information governance program is a consistent policy for deletion and retention. If your team does spot vulnerabilities, what do you do next? Deleting data that might be needed later could have disastrous consequences. Retaining literally everything could make future matters just as difficult to manage as this one, if not worse. It can also lead to privacy concerns and potential issues of non-compliance as more and more jurisdictions pass personal data protection laws.

A good eDiscovery service provider can help you make those calls, and give you the insight you need to keep making them later. By helping you delete the things you can, you’re better able to organize the data you do have to retain. Sometimes, the right deletion policies can even prevent future litigations from happening in the first place. 

3. Make data more accessible to the people who need it

One of the reasons legal teams might choose to a hire a vendor in the first place is because they simply don’t have access to the data. This is especially true in cases with a large forensics component, where deleted data needs to be recovered. The nice thing about such a case is once that data is made reviewable once, it doesn’t need to be made reviewable again (at least if you’re doing it right!)

Another challenge can be clients who are overly reliant on outside counsel or other eDiscovery vendors to handle their data. The data exists, but the client wouldn’t know where to find it. Some of the more unscrupulous vendors of eDiscovery like it that way. However, a future-oriented vendor will work to make sure the right people can access their data and easily find the data they actually want while still accounting for all the necessary privacy and security challenges.

4. Standardize workflows

Complex litigation can be overwhelming. Quite frankly, it’s usually still pretty overwhelming even when you do have a good vendor at your side. However, knowing there’s a standard operating procedure whenever major litigation comes up can make a world of difference.

While it is true that every case is different, it’s also true that a few basic fundamentals of discovery rarely, if ever change. Knowing where to start and who’s responsible for what can go a long way.

By having data that’s well organized and accessible to the right parties, it’s much easier to hit the ground running when a litigation comes up. You can quickly and easily check to see if any of the relevant data from prior cases is going to be relevant this time around; you might have a list of places to check for ESI that isn’t immediately accessible; perhaps a shortlist of what vendors to call for what type of work.

This means that your organization can maintain consistency even as employees leave and new ones come on board.

What do you wish more ALSPs would help you with future eDiscovery matters? Let us know in the comments!

Why Mobile Data eDiscovery Is Different Than Email eDiscovery

It’s 2021, which means it’s highly unlikely that this is the first blog post you’ve read saying you need a mobile data eDiscovery plan. Most of us get that by now.

However, you can’t always take the same technology and approaches you’re currently using for email and superimpose them on mobile data. It just doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, it can be hard to wrap your head around just how different texting and email really are until you’re neck deep in a project.

Today, we wanted to walk through some of the main things you need to account for while collecting, processing, and reviewing mobile data. By understanding the differences between these channels, you can not only ensure that you’re including mobile data in your eDiscovery strategy, but that you’re doing it right.

“Texting” is actually 3 different things that LOOK like 1 thing.

Generally speaking, emails are emails. After the initial collection, it doesn’t really matter much if those emails came from Macs or PCs, or if the company ran their emails through Microsoft 365 or Google Drive. Emails can be imported into a review platform, and reviewers don’t really have to care that much about where they initially came from.

What a layperson thinks of as “texting” is actually a combination of as many as three different types of communications: SMS, MMS, or iChat. We act like they’re the same thing because generally, our phones make them look like one thing. I don’t have a separate app for sending SMS messages vs. MMS messages. My phone doesn’t yell at me when I reach the character limit for an SMS, it just automatically converts it without me having to think about it.

During data processing, these messages that seem identical on the front end often get sorted out into different buckets on the back end. That means that if custodians were iChatting, lost wifi, and then switched to SMS, that single conversation may get ripped apart and reviewers have to piece it back together.

When you’re identifying potential sources of data, it’s important not to just ask about “texts.” If possible, try to figure out how texts break down into SMS, MMS, and iChat. The best mobile data eDiscovery technology can thread these messages together, and depending on how many phones you’re collecting, it might be worth that investment. At the very least, making sure you know how texts break down into SMS, MMS, and iChats helps you better assess how long review should take.

Mobile Communication Has No “Subject Line” 

Most work emails have a subject line; generally, emails in that same conversation also have that subject line. Sure, sometimes conversations naturally flow away from that initial subject, but at least it’s a valuable starting point that helps discovery teams understand what messages belong together, and which ones might be duplicates; this is the basis of how review platforms utilize email threading.

Not only does texting lack a “subject line,” it’s also a place where users simply don’t even try to sort their conversations out into multiple threads the same way. Earlier today, I frantically texted my mother about a jacket I left at her house, and within minutes she was asking me to text her a recipe for banana cake.

Those two conversations coexisted in the same thread, with messages right on top of each other. That’s just how a lot of us text. I pity any review team that would have to go through my phone and find messages relevant to their case with so many less relevant messages randomly scattered across my conversations. (On the bright side, they might get a nice banana cake recipe out of it!)

Threading messages into conversations is one of the most important things that any good review platform does for reviewers; it’s even more important when users aren’t naturally “threading” their conversations together by default.

Mobile Communication Usually Requires More Redactions

On a related note, professional communication is more likely to co-mingle with personal communication in text messages compared to email. That’s especially true in companies where employees still use their personal device for company business. With email, we tend to have a dedicated work account apart from our personal email account. Users understand that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in their work emails. That’s not always true in mobile, particularly at companies that don’t issue company-owned phones or have clear Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies.

What if that thread where two work friends texted about trade secrets also mentioned things like doctors’ appointments or included pictures of their kids? Legal teams need to be able to redact irrelevant personal information in order to protect custodians’ privacy. That irrelevant personal information rarely shows up in emails, so redacting isn’t a concern to quite the same extent.

Some review platforms support redactions more easily than others. A cumbersome redaction process might not be the end of the world when you’re primarily dealing with emails, but it can seriously hinder progress when there’s a lot of mobile communication and redactions are needed more often.

When there’s a lot of mobile data in your eDiscovery project, it’s important to consider how technology and user behavior shapes this data. This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of the reasons why texting and email are different, but we hope it’s enough to get your wheels turning. What kinds of stumbling blocks have are tripping up your mobile data investigations? Reach out today and let us know!

Curious to know more about how Contact Discovery attacks mobile data investigations? Check out MobileRev™!

Contact Discovery’s MobileRev™ solution turns text messages into near-native images for review

What Do You Do When eDiscovery Tech Support Isn’t Enough?

There’s a pressing legal matter at hand. Deadlines are fast approaching. The last thing you want is to be stuck waiting on a response from tech support. Unfortunately, this is becoming an all-to common issue with eDiscovery platforms.  

Too often, software companies overstate the simplicity of their products. While it may be perfectly true that an end user finds a program intuitive and easy to use, that doesn’t necessarily equate to easy maintenance behind the scenes. When legal teams are too quick to buy these allegedly silver bullet solutions without anticipating that extra maintenance, it can lead to friction that slows down discovery.

Naturally, legal teams look to their tech support at whatever company made the software. Oftentimes, support staff is doing the best they can, but they can only do so much. If a software company is pouring money into sales and marketing efforts, but not scaling IT support at a fast enough pace to accommodate those extra users, it usually leads to frustration all around. As more and more venture capital flows into eDiscovery from people who don’t actually have any real experience in discovery, that industry-wide growing pain is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

eDiscovery vendors have an important role to play here. By bridging the gap between end users and software companies, service providers can help alleviate some of the strain on tech support, making it more helpful to those who do need it. Meanwhile, legal teams can increase the functionality of their existing software, solving their problems for (usually) far less money than investing in new software.

But why isn’t this program as easy to use as the salesperson said it would be?

Different people mean different things when they say “easy.” A lot of the latest eDiscovery solutions are far more intuitive than ever before, which is great! That tends to be what most companies will focus on in their sales and marketing efforts.

However, ease of use doesn’t automatically translate to ease of maintenance.

For example, my brother and I own two different cars, specifically a 2007 Honda Accord (me)  and a special edition Toyota 86 (my brother). My brother’s car handles really well. He can make tight turns at high speeds in a way I can’t. He can accelerate faster. The driving experience is all-around better in his car than mine (presuming you can drive a stick shift of course).

There’s a flip side to this. My brother has to put premium gas in his car; mine takes unleaded. It’s easier for me to find mechanics who keep the parts my car needs in stock. If my brother has an issue, it’s more likely that his mechanic would have to special order the part he needs, thus keeping his car in the shop longer. So while the “user experience” in his car is better, my car is easier and cheaper to maintain. Sometimes ease of use and ease of maintenance coexist, sometimes they don’t. It’s just important to recognize that they’re not the same thing, and one does not necessitate the other.

eDiscovery is an ever-changing field, which means many software programs require regular updates. The more intricate the software is, the more intricate those updates are likely to be, and they can take a while to install. How do you get them done while still making sure a discovery environment is ready to go when reviewers need it? In some cases, the Contact team will run patches at midnight, if that’s what it takes to avoid disruptions to our clients’ regular workflows. By providing crucial, ongoing support to a discovery environment, service providers can step in and offer ease of maintenance to compliment the software’s ease of use.

Why would I need an eDiscovery vendor if I can do most discovery in-house?

We’ve found that technical maintenance of eDiscovery environments can still be a common stumbling block, even for organizations that are fairly capable of handling most other aspects of discovery. That makes sense if you think about it. Plenty of people can drive a car, but don’t know how to change their own oil.

One of the misconceptions such organizations have about “service providers” is that you only need them if you plan on significant outsourcing. A firm that has their own software license and qualified project managers doesn’t need to spend money on costly vendors unless there’s an abnormally large sum of data at hand.

However, retaining a vendor to manage a discovery environment can be far less expensive than paying a vendor to actually do your discovery work for you. It’s similar to how owning your own car still requires you to pay for gas and upkeep, but you’re not going to spend as much as you would if you took a taxi every time you had to go somewhere.

Most lawyers already know that paying for litigation costs far more than the hours it would take to review contracts and close loopholes before they’re exploited; discovery software maintenance works the same way. It’s more economical to stay on top of updates and patches than it is to put out fires as they happen.

“Tech support can be great for solving one particular problem in the here and now,” says Zack Schanz, Director of Project Management at Contact Discovery Services. “It’s not really built to maintain your environment and prevent problems before they happen. They also don’t have the same knowledge of a client’s environment that we do because we’re in that environment every day.”

“You get a lot of brains for the price of one,” says Scott Keeble, Director of eDiscovery Operations at Contact Discovery. “We have more regular communication between our team members compared to an average tech support line, where maybe Joe is handling this ticket but has no direct communication with Jane who handled your last ticket, just a brief summary in the report. We’re able to quickly reach out to each other and say ‘hey, what did you do last time?’ and get to solutions quicker.”

“Can’t I just have my regular IT team take care of this for me?”

Well, it depends. Yes, technically any IT department could learn to manage an advanced eDiscovery software environment. However, they’re also managing other IT functions too. Your company’s email system; the billing and accounting software; the contract management platform; any other databases your organization needs to function properly; the underlying hosting and internet that all those other things rely on to work.

All of those things need routine updates; All of those things can be potential sources of data breaches if you’re not on top of maintenance. All of those things can become slow and dysfunctional if they’re not supported by the right infrastructure. A good IT team can juggle all those programs and keep technology running smoothly for everyone else.

However, there’s a misconception among non-IT people that once you “work in IT” it’s easy to simply add more programs to your plate. The truth is IT is just like any other job: the longer your list of responsibilities gets, the harder it can be to do all of them well.

We recommend consulting your IT department before any major commitment to a new discovery platform (or any software solution for that matter). They’ll know what they can and can’t handle, what resources they might need for implementation, and they’ll be able to better predict how steep the learning curve will be.

If your internal IT people are already spread pretty thin, a vendor can help. A team of dedicated discovery professionals that are focused on your review software frees up your regular IT department to stay on top of all their other responsibilities. Plus, they can apply their discovery experience with other clients to your technology in a way more generalized IT personnel can’t.

Still Have Questions About How Service Providers Can Keep Your Discovery Programs Up and Running? We’re all ears.

4 Questions to Ask During an International eDiscovery Project

eDiscovery is often unpredictable. The variables only multiply when you introduce an international component. Knowing what questions to ask is crucial, and the sooner you get the answers to those questions, the better off you are. By anticipating those additional challenges ahead of time, you can build the right strategy that sets you up for success.

1. What are the laws that govern data privacy?

One of the first things you’ll want to consider is likely pretty obvious already: different countries have different laws! Sometimes an organization can simply hand over the personal data of its employees, but you certainly shouldn’t take that for granted. Sometimes, an organization’s ability to transfer that data in the first place is limited by local policies.  

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most famous of such regulations. The GDPR establishes standards of what data organizations can store on an ongoing basis. Compared to the U.S., there’s much stricter standards governing the level of consent that an organization must get from the employee in order to keep their information on file, or more importantly, share it with a third party. Organizations can incur hefty fines if noncompliant.

However, even if your project falls outside the purview of the GDPR, you still can’t assume that you should approach data the same way you would domestically. Jurisdictions all over the world are still hashing out their data privacy policies. Japan has their Act on the Protection of Personal Information, with new amendments set to take effect in 2022. Stateside, the most well-known is also have the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), but we’re already seeing other states use that as a blueprint for their own rules. Virginia’s governor signed the Virginia Comprehensive Data Privacy Act earlier this year, and it will go into effect in 2023. A similar bill was also introduced in the New York State Senate.

There are fairly decent odds that between the time of this writing, and the time that you find this blog post in your internet meandering, some government somewhere has enacted or amended a privacy law. Make sure your team does their homework and is compliant with all relevant regulation.

2. How will we translate communications in other languages?

There are all sorts of ways in which language barriers can make discovery harder, but one of the hardest ones is translating relevant information into English for U.S. attorneys.

“[Machine] translation apps struggle with slang and can misinterpret the provided content,” says Jamente Cooper, Lead Forensic Analyst at Contact Discovery. “The data itself is still in commonly used databases or files but understanding the content as it was intended is still a daunting task.”

In a perfect world, you’d have actual humans who know the language in question doing review. This is your best shot at understanding how a native speaker might’ve intended their words.

In the imperfect world we actually live in, that’s not always possible. Oftentimes the most practical solution is something in the middle that utilizes technology and human knowledge. Maybe one or two reviewers actually know the other language, but English speakers can review digitally translated content and refer any trickier conversations to their teammates who can read the source language.

Before you start collection, start formulating your game plan for how you’re going to handle data in languages other than English. You’ll likely have to start looking for qualified reviewers earlier than you usually would to account for the extra challenge of a foreign language.

3. What apps are common in this market?

There are a few old standbys we go back to over and over again in the discovery world: emails; the word docs and pdfs that get attached to emails; in more recent years, text messages and other mobile apps have reached a similar level of prominence. However, messaging apps can vary in popularity depending on where you are on the globe.

During an international case you simply can’t take it for granted that custodians are communicating the same ways they would domestically. WhatsApp for example has a global userbase of over 2 billion, but only 75 million in the states. That means roughly 2/3 of the app’s users lie outside the United States. One study of Android devices showed that WhatsApp is the most popular chat app in 58 different countries. A Japanese-based app called LINE is virtually unheard-of in the U.S. but incredibly common in its home nation and some other Asian markets.

Every case is different, and you never want to confine yourself to business-as-usual data types without covering all your bases, even domestically. However, the possibility of overlooking an important data source goes up when you’re in a foreign market that has latched onto different communication channels.  

4. How much data is there?

So yes, this is a common question regardless of where you’re doing your discovery project. However, you might be surprised at how much the sheer quantity of data changes when there’s an international dimension to your case.

In the U.S., we generate a lot of data. Personally, I’ve worked in U.S.-based offices where people commonly used email to communicate with coworkers who were literally in the same room. Many people see it as more polite to send an email or Slack message so that their teammate can get to the issue on their time rather than call someone or pop into their office without prior warning. The U.S. has also normalized talking about work outside regular hours, and using channels outside official company email accounts. 

The result is piles and piles of data. In some ways that makes cases easier since your odds of finding relevant information go up when everything is so well documented. However, identifying and collecting that data becomes that much more daunting.

When discovery goes abroad, the social norms of how people communicate are different. In some places, it might be unthinkable to send work-related texts on a personal device. Maybe conversations that Americans would have over email instead happened over the phone. It could be a total waste of resources to collect lots of devices assuming that there’s more relevant data than there really is.

As important as it is to think of differences in the laws and technology, don’t underestimate how these kinds of alternative social norms can put a wrinkle in discovery. Do your research about how people tend to communicate, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Are there any challenges you’ve faced in international discovery that you think more people need to be aware of? Let us know in the comments!

3 Things That Are Wasting Your Legal Budget

Virtually everyone across all industries is currently trying to “do more with less.” The legal world is no different. More and more attorneys want to know what investments will actually get returns, and many have become skeptical of pay models that once seemed infallible.

The best legal budgets that “do more with less” are a perfect calibration of technology investments, internal functionality, and strategic outside partners. At Contact, we pride ourselves on helping legal teams find the right balance that works for them. There are certain challenges we encounter over and over again, and today we’re letting you in on some of the common stumbling blocks that result in overspending.

1. Too Many Vendors

There’s often money to be saved by reducing the total number of vendors that you rely on to help you with litigation. Almost any vendor will offer you better pricing on services if you buy more from them. It also mitigates risk to limit sensitive data to as few people/organizations as possible.

The thing is, no managing partner or general counsel wakes up one day and says “I’d like my sensitive data scattered across as many vendors as possible.” So why is it such a common problem?

One issue could be misunderstanding which vendors are capable of what services. If you hired eDiscovery “R” Us for a processing job last month, but no one thought to ask if they also had forensic services, you might go to a separate vendor for this month’s collection. Meanwhile, you could’ve gotten a better deal by bundling forensics and processing together at eDiscovery “R” Us.

Another issue could be overestimating the need for “specialized” vendors. Many vendors position themselves as “specialists” but it’s not always clear if they’re adding more value than more generalized vendors who can do the same job. Such specialists certainly play a valuable role in the eDiscovery industry; however, it can be incredibly difficult for lawyers to decide if a specialist is necessary for a given matter.

Still another issue could be poor communication between team members who are all hiring vendors. Ideally, you don’t want different lawyers each blasting their own unique network of vendors for each new matter. What if Tom, Dick, and Harry each have their own internal investigation? You might be able to get a better deal by buying legal technology services “in bulk” from one vendor rather than letting Tom, Dick, and Harry each pick their favorite from their own address books. 

We recommend having some kind of system that allows all attorneys to pull their vendors from the same pool, and routinely weeding out the ones that underperform or are overpriced. There are even tech solutions such as Contact’s M8™ that are specifically designed to help you with this. It’s also good to have eDiscovery expertise either internally or in a trusted consultant. This expert can help determine if you need to bring in specialized vendors or if giving the entire job to one comprehensive vendor is the better move.

2. Investing in outsourcing rather than training.

As the old adage goes, “give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

Oftentimes, your internal team is capable of more than you think, they just need the right training. This is especially true as long as law schools focus on the theory and history of the law but devote relatively little time to teaching lawyers how to use technology.

It’s a waste of money to buy technology your team never adopts, but it’s also a waste of money to pay vendors to do things you could do internally. The best way to walk the fine line between these two forms of malinvestment is usually some combination of the right technology paired with proper training on how to use it.

Sometimes legal teams choose to switch to more modern technology, but grossly underestimate the growing pains of that transition. Don’t make that mistake. Understand that there will be an adjustment period, and give your team the requisite empathy. Ask them what resources they’ll need to become confident on the new solution and act on that intel. Maybe you’ll want to plan training workshops, or temporarily hire some extra support staff that can be on-call to answer your team’s questions. 

3. Paying lawyers to do things non-lawyers could do

Lawyers have hard-earned expertise and deserve to be compensated for it. The most efficient organizations tend to make the most of their attorneys’ knowledge and talent. They can’t do that when those lawyers are stuck sifting through spreadsheets or combing through the internet for trademark violations.

Efficient organizations let their lawyers focus on lawyering. If there’s enough grunt work to justify hiring more support staff, they do. That could take the form of an outside service provider, or bringing on more internal hires.

While it could seem counterintuitive to hire more people when budgets are tight, firms that give lawyers the support they need can usually afford to take on heavier caseloads and generate more revenue in the long run. In corporate settings, the legal department is less of a bottleneck when lawyers have ample support staff.

Every case is different, and there is a myriad of different reasons why you might not be making the most of your legal budget. It’s important to get to the root cause of such inefficiencies and come up with long term solutions that will work for you.  

If you have any other questions about how to make the most of your legal budget, reach out to Contact today.

Can eDiscovery Free Britney?

DISCLAIMER: This article revolves around an ongoing case where many specifics are sealed from the public. Much of it is speculation intended to educate, and should not be taken as any kind of legal advice. 

In 2008, one of the most famous people in the world was placed under a conservatorship shortly after having one of the most famous public breakdowns in the world.

That person was of course Britney Spears, and that conservatorship is still in place 13 years later. Over the last couple years, the legal arrangement has come under more public scrutiny, especially as it seems clearer and clearer that Britney herself is dissatisfied with the current arrangement. While most of the details of this court case are sealed from the public, it’s safe to assume that someone, somewhere is sifting through electronically stored information (ESI) looking for answers.

Some Quick Background

Conservatorships, or guardianships as they are referred to in some states, allow for the court to place another person in charge of a legal adult’s personal and/or financial affairs. They exist to protect those whose mental faculties may not be fit for high stakes decision making, such as elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or younger people with developmental disabilities.

As the self-proclaimed #FreeBritney movement has gained more traction online, more and more people are asking the question… “how can someone who spent much of the last decade putting out new music and performing regularly also be so incapacitated that she can’t be trusted to make decisions for herself?”

Different people have drawn different conclusions. Many in the #FreeBritney camp believe that Britney isn’t really sick enough to justify the conservatorship going on this long, but her father/co-conservator Jamie Spears makes too much money off the status quo to let his daughter have more autonomy.

According to a 2016 article in the New York Times, Jamie makes a yearly salary of $130,000 as conservator, and he also got to take home 1.5% of the gross revenue for her Las Vegas residency. In 2018, Billboard reported that gross revenue number was $137,695,392, which would make Jamie’s cut a little over $2 million.

On the other side of the coin, some close to Britney reject this as conspiracy theories spawned by outsiders who don’t know enough about Britney’s mental health or legal case for their claims to hold any water. They say removing the conservatorship could risk another potentially life-threatening breakdown a la 2007-2008. They point to the comparative stability since as evidence that the conservatorship is doing its job.

At the time of this writing, Britney’s team has not filed a petition to end the conservatorship altogether. However, it does seem clear that she wants her father removed from his role. Jamie Spears served as co-conservator from the beginning of the arrangement in 2008 until 2019 when his own health issues forced him to step aside. At this point, the courts appointed temporary co-conservator Jodi Montgomery, and Britney unsuccessfully tried to make this change permanent. According to Britney’s lawyer, “it’s no secret that [his] client does not want her father as co-conservator.”

So Why is The Britney Conservatorship Case So Complicated?

The conservatorship has been in place for 13 years, and technology has evolved at a rapid pace during that time. There’s also the fact that the case centers around someone who may have had varying levels of mental stability throughout those 13 years. Should Britney’s communications with other parties be taken seriously or not? It might take mental health expert witnesses to bolster either side’s case, and that’s an additional logistic concern for legal teams.

You also have to consider that (as far as the public knows) virtually everything Jamie did over these 13 years was technically legal. Britney’s team isn’t necessarily looking for evidence of a specific crime per se. Instead, they have to look for evidence that Jamie’s choices regarding Britney’s affairs were unjust enough that the courts should reconsider their previous arrangement.

Those unjust choices could take different forms. You could argue that Britney’s illness was bad enough that Jamie shouldn’t have approved the amount of work Britney did during this time frame. Since the conservatorship began, she’s put out four studio albums, done two world tours, and a Las Vegas residency consisting of 248 performances over 4 years. She was also in the process of planning and rehearsing for a second Vegas residency which was canceled in early 2019. One potential strategy is to argue that Jamie exercised poor judgement in letting someone so mentally ill take on such an ambitious workload.

You could also argue a case that directly contradicts that one: that Britney was well enough to be recording and performing regularly, but that she was so healthy in fact that the conservatorship should have been phased out long ago. Jamie shouldn’t be allowed to deprive a reasonably healthy Britney of rights that any other reasonably healthy adult is legally entitled to.

Either strategy would require a team to establish a multi-year narrative assembled from bits and pieces of data scattered across the digital landscape. The same is true if you’re on Jamie’s team. They’ll be trying to show that Britney really does still need a conservator, but that any work she did over the last 13 years posed a low enough risk to her mental health that a conservator could reasonably allow it.  

Such long-term patterns are often a far harder thing to prove than one clearly defined “crime.” That gives discovery teams far less specific parameters to guide their search for relevant data.

The Longer the Story, the Trickier Discovery Gets.

Britney Spears’s conservatorship began in 2008. Think of how we communicated back then. The first iPhone had only launched one year prior, and many people were still using flip phones. Camera phones were relatively new to the scene as well. Pictures weren’t always great quality, and phones weren’t always built with enough memory to also function as multi-year photo archives. While cloud technology had existed for decades, tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google were only just beginning to experiment with large-scale implementation.

That means that more conversations happened over regular phonecalls than text messages, and those are harder to capture. It meant people were more likely to delete messages and photos regularly since they didn’t have easy access to cheap cloud storage. It also means we didn’t have all the cloud backups that sometimes function as data safety nets in modern cases. These are all factors that any discovery team has to consider whenever a matter has gone on this long.

Alright, but what about her phone from more recent years?

Nowadays, the public has no way of knowing what kinds of electronic devices Britney has access to, or how much oversight other people have over her device usage. In 2019, TMZ claimed that Britney only had a flip phone and wasn’t allowed internet access. Whether that’s true or not, it poses some unique challenges for the discovery professionals on Britney’s case team.

Imagine collecting data from a device, but still having to wonder who really typed this message if not the primary custodian? If Britney’s phone usage really is highly regulated by her conservator, was she potentially able to communicate on other phones behind their backs? Could there be valuable ESI hiding on other devices we might not usually think to collect?

Then there’s the conversations that don’t involve Britney directly. The ones between her conservators and other members of her management team; the ones between conservators and medical personnel; the ones between her team and other relevant parties such as Caesars Entertainment, the company that signed her to the aforementioned Vegas residency.

It’s quite easy to imagine messages that are either proof Britney is a victim of conservatorship abuse or proof that Britney’s mental state is still unstable enough to justify continuing the current arrangement. It all depends on which side you’re trying to argue.

Maybe there’s a way for teams to cross-reference messages with medical reports or other custodians’ messages to give validity to Britney’s version of events. Maybe there isn’t. Either way, it’s not going to be easy. Legal teams have the difficult choice of what rabbit holes are worth their time and how far they should go before picking another strategy.

Good eDiscovery tells a complete story.

In eDiscovery, sometimes one single piece of evidence is enough to back up your side’s entire case. It’s also quite common that case teams have to build a case from the ground up. They find pieces of ESI that would never mean much individually. Sometimes these seemingly random puzzle pieces were scattered across multiple devices or were generated years apart from each other. It’s only when a skilled discovery team brings those pieces together that they have any legal significance.

This is a challenge for both sides in the Britney conservatorship debacle. Again, this case isn’t really about one isolated “crime.” That makes it really hard to imagine what a “smoking gun” would even look like.

Instead, this case is all about inner workings of both personal and business relationships over 13 years. There likely won’t be any single piece of data that can prove either Britney or Jamie’s version of events is correct, at least not by itself. Instead, teams on both sides have to string multiple data points together into a story that makes sense to a judge.

So how does an eDiscovery team come in handy?

There’s a lot of decisions to be made, and none of them have easy answers. First there’s the question of what documents you think are going to be most relevant. You oftentimes need a general idea of what your strategy is before you’ve seen all the data, that way you can convince a judge that the right documents should be included in discovery. Conversely, you might argue that certain documents that would be more helpful to your opposition than to you shouldn’t be included. 

You also have to weigh the odds that maybe you can find deleted or encrypted data that isn’t immediately obvious on the surface. Is it worth the resources to include certain devices in your search even when you know they might not give you anything useful?

There’s also the chance that as you get deeper and deeper into discovery, you may have to pivot to new strategies. Sometimes documents that you thought would be helpful aren’t. Even if everything is going according to Plan A, it takes a staggering level of precise coordination to turn a decade’s worth of communication between numerous parties into something that can be presented in court. Reviewers code documents as they go so that project managers can see trends emerge, even if those documents weren’t initially assigned to the same reviewer. 

All of these are areas where lawyers can gain valuable insight by consulting discovery experts. Service providers don’t just exist to take your data and give it back to you in a reviewable form; they can help you navigate the complex minefield of decisions that comes along with any case, and make sure your discovery strategy aligns with your larger legal strategy. They can also help you adapt as more information comes to light and the case inevitably evolves. Good service providers can keep the circus of discovery from driving you crazy before things get too toxic.

6 Document Review Metrics Every Lawyer Should Know

Document review can oftentimes be one of the most cumbersome parts of discovery. Separating relevant from irrelevant in a timely manner not only requires humans with specialized legal expertise, but someone at the helm who can keep track of it all. Whether you’re managing review internally or paying for outside managed review services, there are certain numbers regarding a matter’s progress that the attorney in charge should know at any given time.

1. How many documents do I have?

Yes, this seems pretty obvious but it’s still worth mentioning. The total number of documents in discovery is the metric that all other metrics are measured by. Oftentimes, countless other decisions stem from this number. How much will discovery cost? Should I settle because discovery is too expensive? How many reviewers need to be on this project to meet our deadline? There’s plenty of other variables that come into such equations, but there’s virtually no decision where the total number of documents isn’t part of that equation.

2. How many dupes do I have?

As important as the total number of documents is, it can’t be the only number you look at. That’s largely because it can sometimes be misleading thanks to dupes and near dupes.

A near-dupe dashboard within Contact Discovery’s Vu™ solution

Imagine we collect the phones belonging to both Jack and Jill. If Jack and Jill ever had correspondence with each other, then it’s likely those same threads exist on both devices. It’s a waste of resources to make reviewers read that twice.

Luckily, most eDiscovery platforms have gotten pretty good at recognizing dupes. In some cases, de-duping can make your pile of documents significantly smaller than what you initially thought. Since so many other strategic decisions will hinge on how costly review could be, you need to know this dupe number to have an accurate read on the scope of review.

3. What kinds of documents do I have?

Long gone are the days where discovery strategies were limited to emails and their attachments. Well at least, long gone are the days when good discovery strategies were limited to emails and their attachments.

Nowadays, “documents” can take the form of emails, text messages, Slack threads, and more. Those different communication channels can each pose different review challenges that hinder review progress if you’re unprepared.

For example, reviewing text messages can involve spreadsheets where iChat, SMS, and MMS are broken into different pages, and any attached images are another page. Reviewing communication this way without mobile-specific solutions to help can be significantly more time-consuming than reviewing the exact same conversation in email form.

Now, imagine 60% of your documents that need reviewing are text messages, but you’ve budgeted your time and money as though they were emails. This will cause major problems downstream when review progress isn’t happening at the pace you expected, and perhaps you need to hire a lot of extra reviewers at the last minute to meet your deadline. Your client is mad because the case is costing more than they initially thought. This could’ve been prevented if you’d known what kinds of data you had at the onset and how long it generally takes to review different data types.

4. How many documents are in other languages?

Documents in foreign languages are another curveball that can trip up large review projects. It’s hard enough to find attorneys with the right legal experience to be helpful to your case, but finding that attorney who’s also fluent in another language often proves even more difficult. Any precious time you spend tracking down qualified reviewers is time you could’ve spent reviewing documents.

Maybe non-English documents only make up a tiny portion of your total data, in which case you only need 1-2 reviewers who speak that other language, and the rest of your review team can review the English documents as usual. In other cases, you might need a team composed almost entirely of bilingual attorneys.

It’s also highly dependent on what languages you need your team to know. Reviewers fluent in Spanish are probably going to be easier to find than reviewers fluent in Bulgarian. Either way, the sooner you figure out that you have documents in other languages, the better you can plan for that added challenge and manage your client’s expectations.

5. How many documents still need to be reviewed?

This is another one that might seem obvious, but it’s not necessarily important for the reasons you might think. “Can I get through X documents by my deadline?” is a pressing question on any lawyer’s mind, but an equally important question is “do I have enough information to make good decisions about what to do next?”

The Master Summary screen within Contact Discovery’s Vu™ solution

Ultimately, the reason we do discovery in the first place is so that lawyers and their clients can reach a positive outcome. What lawyers consider “positive” can vary widely depending on the truth that lies in those discovery documents. Sometimes there’s enough exonerating evidence to win a trial; other times, there’s enough incriminating data that a “positive outcome” is a favorable settlement.

If your team has only gotten through 10% of their documents, it’s probably not wise to make any major decision regarding the case. You just don’t have enough information yet to make a good decision, and you don’t want to close yourself off to other potential strategies that might become evident later.

If you’ve gotten through 80% of the documents, you still don’t have ALL the information, but you might have enough to be a little more strategic about how you approach that last 20%. What other information would be helpful to the case? Can you make educated guesses about which documents might hold that information?

Knowing how many documents still need to be reviewed is a lot bigger than just “Am I on track to meet a deadline?” It’s a number that tells you whether it makes more sense to start building a specific case strategy, or more sense to hang tight and wait for more information before you commit to a strategy.

6. How fast are reviewers getting through documents?

Most lawyers already want to know how many documents are still in review. What not as many lawyers worry about is the pace of specific reviewers. 

It’s important to know the current pace of progress, but it’s also important to know if you should just accept that pace or if other changes could accelerate things. Knowing how many documents one reviewer is getting through on a given day is a massive help for gauging whether or not progress could be happening faster.

There’s all sorts of reasons why Reviewer A might get through 20 documents a day, and Reviewer B might get through 10 documents a day. Maybe one reviewer is dealing with longer documents or that time-consuming mobile data we mentioned above. In that case, there might not be much to change that, your data is what it is.

Maybe Reviewer A is more familiar with the review platform you’re using, and an hour or two of extra training for Reviewer B would have them reviewing their docs just as quickly. Maybe you’ll see that reviewers are doing the best they can, but they’re still not working at a fast enough pace to meet your deadline and you’ll need to expand the review team to make it. It’s hard to glean these kinds of insights if all your vendor is giving you is one collective “documents left to review” number.


Knowing the numbers behind document review affects your ability to make good decisions quickly. Contact Discovery’s solution, Vu™, is designed to put these metrics back in the hands of the attorneys who need them most. You can schedule a demo to learn more.

3 Questions to Help You Get the Most Out of Your eDiscovery Vendor

Like it or not, legal tech vendors are often a necessary part of complex matters. There are different ways to go about engaging a vendor, and some approaches can prove more helpful than others. While it’s easy to get swept up in a major litigation or investigation, we like to think that in-depth conversations with vendors are never a waste of time. At least, it’s not if you’re doing them right.

There are certain topics you may have never thought to bring up with your vendor before, but you might be pleasantly surprised where you end up if only you ask the right questions. In that spirit, we’re spotlighting three questions that will help you get more out of your vendor partnerships and why we think they’re important.

1. How Have You Handled Similar Matters for Other Clients?

It’s common for clients to enter into a vendor contract with certain expectations. One of the issues with this is that a client’s idea of what a vendor should do is oftentimes heavily based on how other vendors have handled those matters in the past. That begs the question… If you were satisfied with how that other vendor did things before, why did you seek out a new vendor for this matter?

Asking your vendor “How have you handled similar matters for other clients?” is a great way to signal that you’re open to other solutions beyond the predictable ones you’re used to. A vendor rightfully won’t reveal any identifying details about those other clients, but they can usually give you a general gist of other options on the table. It also mitigates risk if you know they’ve actually implemented the proposed solution before.

Try not to approach vendors with a preconceived notion of how they should handle your project. Instead, describe the project and your goals in as much detail as possible, and ask them what they think makes the most sense. If they’re worth their salt, you’ll probably find their perspective valuable regardless of whether or not you go with their exact plan.

2. Can You Present Several Approaches to This Matter That Would Still Work?

Oftentimes, there’s no “right answer” in eDiscovery. Good vendors can offer several different plans with different pros and cons and then leave the choice up to you. Maybe Strategy 1 is a prudent strategy that conserves budget while maximizing efficiency and Strategy 2 requires a higher investment but would provide for a more thorough approach.

Sometimes vendors will pitch a discovery plan not because they think it’s the best strategy, but because they think it’s the strategy their client wants to hear. Asking for multiple plans can give your vendor the freedom to strut their stuff and come up with a more innovative,  unconventional approach without the fear of losing a more conservative client. If you let them pitch you the “safe” strategy as well as the unexpected-but-potentially-better strategy, you negate that risk for them. The ultimate choice will still be up to you.

It can also reveal a LOT about a vendor if they’re unable to come up with more than one way to approach a problem. When vendors are consistently looking to their clients for guidance, or trying to fit square peg clients into the same round holes, it calls into the question whether they’re truly “experts” in eDiscovery. On the other hand, a vendor who can give you several possible approaches probably knows how to think creatively about your case, and will be able to quickly adapt to your needs should you decide to switch up your strategy later.

3. How Will Your Plan Help Me With Future Matters?

Truly great discovery work doesn’t just leave you with a positive outcome in this specific case. It also helps you win future cases. When you know which information is most relevant and it’s stored in places where the right people can easily recall it, you don’t have to devote as many resources to discovery if a similar case comes up again.

Some vendors are content to just process your data, give it back to you, then move on to the next client. That’s not exactly wrong, they’ve done everything they agreed to do for you; however, they could’ve done even more and established a plan for the future if only you’d asked.

Some data might not be relevant for the case at hand, but might be helpful in the future. If a vendor knows that planning for future matters is a priority, they can point stuff like that out. You can keep it in a safe place in case anyone tries to bring another suit against you later. Maybe your team can look for potential vulnerabilities and recommend you close them before anyone gets the chance to litigate. All of it begins with you telling your vendor that you want a proactive approach.

What questions do you think case teams should ask their vendors? Let us know in the comments!