Next-Gen Communications and eDiscovery – Are you getting everything you expect?
What Is Your Morning Paper Telling You?
One morning, I walked out onto my front porch and picked up my newspaper. Yes, a newspaper – actually printed on paper.
As a kid, my first job was delivering newspapers, and I’m pretty sure I can still fire one from the sidewalk to my porch with a reasonable level of accuracy. Today, however, an entire generation ignores this “old-fashioned” news medium in favor of their phones. News arrives in real-time, and not just in print but also with related video, delivered right to your pocket whenever you need it.
I unfolded my paper and scanned its front page to find a story* about new tools rapidly displacing email communications at work. The irony was not lost on me.
Work Communications Mean Everything Used to Communicate at Work
It wasn’t that long ago when communicating at work meant typed memos, telephone calls, faxes (remember those?) and – get this – people talking to you in person. Then email came along with the promise of liberating us from distractions. We could communicate asynchronously instead of playing phone tag. Ah, the good old days.
Today, younger generations have abandoned old-fashioned email in favor of alternative communication platforms: Chatter, Snapchat, Skype, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Waze, Allo and more.
King among them (at the moment) is Slack. It’s the preferred means of communication and collaboration for many companies. You can send messages to individuals or to groups of people. You can drag and drop files and make voice and video calls. It’s quickly becoming the de-facto standard, and companies such as Microsoft and Facebook are jumping on the bandwagon to compete.
Litigation, Communications, and Discovery
In litigation, both sides request information to prove their case – documents, data, and physical evidence. And when making a request for production from the other side, limiting requests to just emails is now like asking for only the filed memos. A focus solely on an outdated form of communication will leave a great deal of critical information untouched.
But it’s more than just including these new communication methods in discovery requests. These newer technologies present issues for lawyers using traditional eDiscovery and litigation tools. Collecting, viewing, and producing these new messaging tools require a great deal more skill. Most eDiscovery tools were built to analyze email and office documents. Slack and other work collaboration tools are different. “Classic” eDiscovery tools just haven’t kept pace with these new data sources.
We are in the midst of a technology (r)evolution, and the volume, complexity, and diversity of information sources that may be relevant to a legal matter are expanding at an unprecedented rate.
The Internet of Things and the Next Wave of Communications
At Precision, we’re committed to staying current on technologies that are likely to hold valuable legal information, and we continue to hone our expertise in locating, extracting, and processing this data. We are striving for “a better, more proactive approach to discovery.”
More encouraging is that we’re also developing exciting new software technologies designed to address the volume, complexity, and diversity of these new information sources. These next-generation eDiscovery tools will help us answer the challenge in an efficient, timely and cost-effective manner.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I grab a cup of coffee and finish reading my newspaper. I can only hope that I don’t find an article telling me that coffee is on its way out, too.
*“Drowning in a sea of email-killer messaging apps” by Michelle Quinn. San Jose Mercury News on November 4, 2016, http://phys.org/news/2016-11-sea-messaging-apps.html