A global life sciences company announced the planned acquisition of a competitor, triggering a large-scale antitrust investigation by the United States government. The investigation, commonly referred to as a Second Request, entailed collecting 43 TBs of data, then processing, reviewing and producing only the relevant information to regulators within a three-month window.
Data was collected from more than 200 custodians across 19 different data sources. Many of these were cloud-based, “emerging data” platforms – including Box, Mattermost, Confluence and other team collaboration apps – that posed several unique challenges. First, these collaboration apps contained new facets of information that might be relevant to the matter. For example, in an email exchange between two people it is a straightforward process to understand who sent the mail, when it was sent, who received it, whether it was opened or forwarded and other additional details. Within emerging data sources, however, the relevant information can often reside in a dynamic, shared workspace for groups or teams, subject to ongoing edits and discussions. In these instances, a team member logging into a shared page on Monday may view dramatically different content than what another team member might view later the same week. Or dozens of other teammates may view the site across that week, with only a few making edits or comments, whereas others might have access to the site, but never log in. The myriad of potential scenarios, and the implications they pose for investigations and litigation, require a nuanced understanding of each emerging data source and the types of information that it contains.
From there, the second unique challenge was collecting the relevant data and ensuring all of the various facets of information – such as who reviewed the workspace, at what time and which version of the content was visible – were included in the collection and tracked through the entirety of the project. This was especially difficult because these platforms were not necessarily designed with e-discovery and data collection in mind, and each platform required a tailor-made approach to exporting data.
The third challenge was processing the numerous data sources into a format that enabled a meaningful review in context with other relevant information. This was especially important given that the company’s legal team would need to conduct review, but then relevant information would be produced to government investigators for review as well. A key concern was navigating the nuances of cloud-based emerging data sources in the context of production specifications that were based on legacy standards of email and documents saved on a local hard drive or network server.
The company and its law firm immediately turned to FTI Technology for our expertise with both Second Requests and emerging data sources. FTI Technology developed a custom solution to meet the unique needs of the matter, including:
- Data Identification: Working with counsel, the FTI team helped identify the various data repositories and platforms containing relevant information.
- Connect and Enrich: Once the 19 emerging data platforms were identified, FTI leveraged built-in tools and developed bespoke solutions to defensibly export and process 43 TBs of potentially relevant data, including key metadata critical to modern cloud-based data sources. This ensured a defensible workflow, while also enabling faster insights into the case and helping the legal team develop case narrative quickly
- Managed Review: Leveraging the predictive coding capabilities within the Brainspace analytics platform to winnow down the dataset and the emerging data that was processed for review in context with other materials, FTI’s managed review team conducted a swift review of the remaining data for production. The team’s efforts were further aided by deep experience reviewing emerging data sources and a nuanced understanding of its various facets, including shared links and short message systems
- Interfacing with Regulators: Given the new nature of these emerging data formats, the FTI team worked closely with the law firm to educate regulators on the process and ensure that all materials were defensibly collected and produced. In addition, FTI provided guidance to the law firm and regulators on what was and wasn’t technically possible.
- Custom Workflows: FTI worked directly with the government and cloud-based data providers to create completely novel data processing functionality that incorporated linked content and version history in a manner suitable to the agency’s needs.
Despite the extremely large volume of data and the challenge of developing new technologies and methods to collect from various data platforms, the entire investigation was completed and data was produced to regulators within the government’s deadline.
FTI’s bespoke approach and solutions delivered efficient and defensible data collection of more than 43GB from emerging data sources, processing of nearly 60GB of dynamic and diverse data and review of more than 6 million documents.
Served as an expert advisor to the client, law firm and government agency to explain and mitigate the technical and logistical feasibility of collecting, processing, reviewing and producing information from emerging data sources.