With the growing popularity of chat tools inside organizations comes challenges with the collection of collaboration data.  Martin Tully provides insight on these challenges and how they relate to information governance.

At least one of the panels coming out of Thursday’s installment of ILTACON 2021 likely required very little in the way of introduction after more than a year of remote working. Nevertheless, the “Better Together? E-discovery with Teams and Other Collaboration Platforms” session wasted little time establishing just how prevalent chat tools have become inside organizations—and the challenges they pose to information governance programs.

It doesn’t help that legal professionals seem to be caught between two different extremes when it comes to how much collaboration data they expect to reasonably glean from a collection. Martin Tully, a partner at Redgrave, noted that the debate reminded him of the conversations that surrounded social media 10 years ago.

It was either ‘this is completely out of scope, don’t even ask for it.’ Or ‘I need all of it, every time, for everybody.’ Neither one of those answers are correct,” Tully said.

Still, it’s not as if most organizations don’t have plenty of collaboration data floating around. The panel launched with some statistics pulled from German database company Statista, which showed the number of daily users in Zoom meetings grow from 10 million in December 2019, to 200 million in March 2020, to 300 million in April 2020.

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Still, that’s not the only place where e-discovery and legal professionals should expect to find themselves negotiating over collaboration data. Tully at Redgrave noted organizations need to understand what they are committing to when they establish ESI protocols with opposing counsel during litigation.

Oftentimes, whether a company is able to produce a given piece of information may depend on minute details such as what version of a given collaboration platform they are leveraging. Tully pointed out that the data accessible on Slack, for instance, depends on what iteration of the tool is being used.

You don’t want to commit to things that you can’t actually do,” he said.

Still, if organizations can’t agree on how much collaboration data they can or should be expected to collect, where does that leave e-discovery productions moving forward?

It’s all about relevance and proportionality. Is it relevant? … Do you really need this in order to get to the thick [of the case]? Proportionality arguments continue to be made very effectively and I think we’ll continue to see more,” Tully said.

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