Economic globalization is driving an increasing amount of activity in Asia, taking U.S.-based multi-national corporations to the Far East and into highly charged legal and compliance environments. This, intersecting with regulatory activity stemming from the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act is driving increased e-discovery in Asia.

FTI Technology recently surveyed attorneys at corporations and law firms in Asia to determine key challenges and trends in the industry. The study has been covered within the legal and IT industries by Law Technology News,, InsideCounsel and others, likely sparking valuable discussions among key stakeholders about how best to tackle the issues as the need for e-discovery in Asia increases.

Speaking about the significance of the study’s findings, Veeral Gosalia, one of our senior managing directors, said, “Most lawyers I know are always thinking ahead to future potential challenges for their company or, if they are with a law firm, for their corporate client. For those U.S.-based lawyers thinking about future challenges, this study presents an opportunity to learn from Asia-based lawyers on the key challenges, trends and best practices in conducting e-discovery in Asia.”

Key takeaways from the study include:

High rate of regulatory activity:

Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited regulatory investigations as the biggest driver of e-discovery in Asia. These are a result of the ongoing enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, as well as Asian regulators and company-driven internal compliance reviews. Further, increasing cooperation among regulators from different countries is expected to cause a greater number of investigations and e-discovery in more countries.

Privacy and confidentiality are the biggest challenge:

Managing data privacy laws and confidentiality concerns is the single biggest challenge identified by respondents, with 79 percent citing privacy or data protection as a specific risk expected to emerge from new Asian regional laws. When asked to rank challenges in running a review project, the top response was finding the appropriate technology that could support the intricate workflow needed to meet local data privacy or state secrecy regulations.

China poses unique challenges:

Almost 40 percent of those surveyed said new laws in China will impact the management of electronic data in legal review. One of the most impactful pieces of legislation will be the Law of the People's Republic of China on Guarding State Secrets, which is broad and vague and requires documents to be reviewed and cleared of secrecy concerns before leaving China.