Legal innovators gathered in New York last week for a day-long legal technology conference with personalized knowledge sessions for law firms and in-house legal teams. Topics covered ranged from transforming an internal team from a cost center to a cost savings center, balancing risk and innovation, navigating data privacy and successfully manage emerging and long-term eDiscovery challenges.
Here is a sample of some of the incisive commentary and practical guidance provided.
Tackling Cross-Border and Modern Data in eDiscovery
An expert panel of speakers discussed the data privacy regulatory and compliance considerations that arise from managing the intricacies of eDiscovery across borders.
Dera Nevin, former head of data policy and strategy at The Blackstone Group, said planning is an essential first step in global data management. She recommends knowing where your data resides and aligning it with the common litigation issues you face. When it comes to managing e-discovery for a cross-border matter, consult each jurisdiction’s privacy officer or attorney, so as not to expose yourself to contractual claims if you transfer data.
Modern eDiscovery data management was another hot topic. Sandra Metallo-Barragan, e-discovery advisor at Proskauer Rose, emphasized that expanding data types requires additional attention and said it is important to know that employees’ professional and personal lives are intertwined and that while some conversations happen over email, others can take place on LinkedIn or elsewhere. . Now more than ever, legal teams need to be aware of the data sources used.
Jennifer Altman, associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, expanded on this point further, saying that data has become invasive, most data systems are siled, and it is not easy to bring data sources together. . Yani Indrajana Ho, associate general counsel at LG, noted that lawyers within a company are in a position of power when it comes to data management, and it’s important to think ahead before your next case: know the where your data is and how to recover it. At 200-year-old Con Edison, Deputy General Counsel Tayo Kinnane explained that there are still many old paper records, but with the increase in data and types stored electronically, they now have a strong data retention policy which is essential. to their information governance approach. She also said Con Edison created a cross-functional team to identify what systems and applications are used, what data is produced and how to protect and mitigate the data held. A parallel effort is the IT team’s focus on streamlining the number of applications employees use in their work activities.
When it comes to reducing the data you hold, Harry Halikias, head of cybersecurity at the New York Public Library, highlighted this point from a data security perspective and his organization’s efforts to not not hold personal data: “…we practice data privacy by design. If we don’t have it, it can’t be stolen.
Balancing cost management and legal innovation
Cost reduction remains a constant goal of corporate legal teams. During one of the team’s internal discussions, Andrea Webster, associate director of innovation and legal operations, suggested ways that corporate legal teams can start realizing savings, including:
- Analyze current legal processes and consider outsourcing core business
- Explore the use of alternative fee arrangements (AFA) for external consulting firms
- Use cloud-based solutions that can reduce the cost of an on-premises solution
- Prioritize employee training and development so they can use technology effectively from the start
- Take control of outside counsel expenses through open communication with your law firm(s) about how they can consider reducing costs in areas such as e-discovery by evaluating alternative technologies.
Transform a legal team from a cost center to a cost savings center
In another discussion among the in-house legal team, Elizabeth Rancourt-Smith, director of legal operations at Tilson, highlighted the importance of legal operations to an organization, as it helps reset the over-reliance on doing the things according to proven methods. path. “The law is based on precedent; thinking about the future does not come naturally to lawyers. But it makes sense in business to be forward-thinking.
Tyson Roy, Director of Legal Innovation, Assistant Vice President and Senior Counsel at Liberty Mutual, spoke about the importance of cross-team collaboration, storytelling, and encouraging people to take smart risks to improve the way work is done. In a regular Innovation Hero blog he shares with Liberty Mutual employees, innovation successes and failures are highlighted, a rare phenomenon in the corporate world.
Allison Morpurgo, managing director and deputy general counsel at UBS, said her role has evolved to focus not only on selecting the right external counsel, but also on better utilizing lawyers and providing them with easy-to-use technology to to reduce expenses. . “We know we succeed when lawyers are willing to try new technologies instead of relying on old ways of working,” Morpurgo explained.
Navigating Data Privacy and AI Generation
Generative AI was also on the discussion table. Jennifer Driscoll, an attorney at Robinson+Cole, called it the next wave of legal research. Still, data privacy concerns loom. Model development requires detailed data, and if that data includes personally identifiable information, be careful. She also cautioned against using solutions like ChatGPT and reminded everyone that a prompt cannot be removed and that if an associate enters case details, they may waive attorney/client privilege.
Driscoll also spoke about evolving data privacy regulations in Europe that will likely soon impact the United States, with Europe’s AI law currently under negotiation. “Once this is published, other jurisdictions will follow,” she predicts.