Navigating the Future: ACEDS and Hanzo Illuminate Collaboration Data Challenges in the Legal Sector

12 December 2023

In the ever-evolving world of legal technology, the annual webinar co-hosted by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and Hanzo has become a beacon of insight and guidance. This year, marking the fourth collaboration between ACEDS and Hanzo, the webinar brought together a panel of seasoned professionals, each offering a unique perspective on the challenges and future of legal industry collaboration data.

Moderated by Maribel Rivera of ACEDS, and joined by esteemed panelists Sonya Judkins, CEDS (T-Mobile), Amy Sellars – CEDS (CBRE), Lawrence Briggi (IBM), and Dave Ruel (Hanzo), the webinar delved into themes such as the increasing reliance on collaboration tools, data management complexity, and the need for proactive legal involvement for managing tools and policies for legal compliance and effective ediscovery. The panel even discussed AI and its increasing importance for managing and interpreting large volumes of data.

Increasing Reliance on Collaboration Tools

During the panel discussion, the participants discussed the extensive use of collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack in legal and corporate settings. They emphasized the growing dependence on these tools for communication and the challenges in managing them. Larry Briggi of IBM noted, “Almost 40 percent are using multiple platforms,” indicating a growing adoption of platforms. Previously, Microsoft Teams was the primary tool for 79 percent of respondents. Dave Ruel from Hanzo commented, “Teams is still a dominant force,” but noted, “There’s a steadiness in how these [collaboration] tools are being used.”

Data Management Complexity and Retention Policies

The importance of having effective data management and retention policies for collaboration tools was a major theme. Concerns were raised about different retention periods and the challenges in managing data across various platforms. Sonya Judkins from T-Mobile emphasized the complexity and cost challenges associated with managing various platforms. “It’s challenging, and it’s expensive,” she remarked, highlighting the multifaceted nature of these tools in a corporate giant’s workflow. Amy Sellers of CBRE brought to light the often nerve-wracking aspect of custodial interviews in the context of data management.

Corporate Readiness for Ediscovery and Legal Compliance

The panel highlighted the need for corporate readiness in the face of legal requirements and the importance of integrating eDiscovery considerations into the deployment of collaboration tools. Sellars also noted that the mention of non-enterprise tools can be a source of significant concern, underscoring the intricacies of retention policies. Lawrence Briggi from IBM echoed this sentiment, pointing out the complications arising when groups implement applications without legal consultation. “This causes a lot of catch-up and problems,” he explained, painting a picture of the hurdles in aligning legal compliance with rapidly changing tech environments.

One of the focal points of the discussion was the challenge of data preservation and eDiscovery. Sonya Judkins of T-Mobile discussed the difficulty of selective preservation without proper dialogue, emphasizing the need for nuanced approaches in data handling. Maribel Rivera highlighted this complexity, noting the growing concern over managing different platforms and ensuring legal compliance.

Future Trends and AI in Legal Data Management

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal data management emerged as a pivotal topic. Amy Sellers remarked on the unpredictable nature of AI, stating, “AI doesn’t give you the same result each time,” but also acknowledged its growing necessity. Dave Rule from Hanzo expanded on this, illustrating how AI is helping bring relevance to the forefront in managing data from collaboration tools.

Looking to the future, the panelists painted a picture of a landscape filled with both challenges and opportunities. Lawrence Briggi’s words resonated with a sense of pioneering spirit, “We are pioneers here… future generations will thank us for figuring out these complexities.” Sonya Judkins’ remarks about the added complexity of attachments in messages in collaboration tools further underscored the evolving nature of eDiscovery.

In Conclusion

As the webinar concluded, it was clear that the journey through the terrain of legal tech is one of continuous learning and adaptation. The panelists concurred on several future implications, such as the need for enhanced policies around collaboration tools, the growing integration of AI in legal data management, and the importance of continuous legal education to keep pace with technological advancements.