Over the last several months, our teams here at FTI Technology have been fielding an increasing influx of questions about emerging data types. We’re often asked, “have you ever heard of, collected from, produced…” about an ever-growing list of emerging data types. This reason for this is that the massive proliferation of apps and cloud services in use at corporations today is beginning to creep into scope in e-discovery matters.
Legal teams are realizing that not only are emerging data types discoverable, but that they are inherently complicated to access, collect and format for review. Most are also realizing that they’ve never encountered a Slack message or Zoom video recording in previous e-discovery, and worry about how they will respond when new data sources show up in a future e-discovery matter. The result becomes a stressful game of “Never Have I Ever,” in which excessive e-discovery time, cost and risk are at stake.
In our e-discovery work with clients, we’ve encountered a wide range of new data sources, and are supporting clients with exploring workflows for collecting, processing, reviewing and producing unconventional data types. For example, one recent project involved a client that was using Zendesk for customer service interactions. Our team was responsible for leading the e-discovery effort to review data from the client’s Zendesk system and produce roughly 20GB of relevant files in response to a consumer protection agency investigation. Despite that no easy way has been developed to conduct e-discovery on Zendesk data, our team was able to create a workflow and respond in a matter of days. Our approach involved working with the agency to determine a data format that would satisfy its needs, exporting the files from Zendesk and reviewing them so they could be produced in a meaningful way.
Another client recently engaged our team to conduct back end work on hypothetical scenarios for Zoom discovery, including collecting emojis from Zoom chat messages. Additional data sources that counsel are beginning to ask for support with include:
This is a lot for counsel to handle above and beyond their standard e-discovery challenges. To help bring the scale of this issue into focus, and provide counsel with a playbook for winning at this new game in e-discovery, our team has begun developing a series of resources on emerging data types. These include whitepapers on the shifting data footprint and e-discovery on collaboration platforms, as well as articles digging into the nuances of platforms including Slack, Zoom and Teams. Check them out, and check back for updates—we’ll continue to share what we’re learning as we work to stay in front of the ever-evolving data landscape.