As we put 2020 behind us and look forward to 2021, we reflected in an interactive virtual discussion forum on the key IG learnings from the past 12 months and the insights and actions we now need to be taking to make the most of the opportunities and challenges on the road to recovery in 2021.
We’ve seen the different ways governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the results in managing the pandemic. Similarly, organisations have had to adapt to the changes and, in particular, to faster digital transformation. Robust governance of organisations and of information has never been so important. Increased cyber risks and the importance of access to real-time and accurate data for decision-making, both at the board level and throughout the organisation, are now critical issues.
Our expert panel included InfoGovANZ Advisory Board member Andrew King, founder and Strategic Advisor of E-Discovery Consulting, where he independently advises law firms on legal technology and eDiscovery. Andrew is an expert in all aspects of the electronic discovery process and has considerable expertise in the project management of major eDiscovery projects in data/document intensive disputes and litigation.
Andrew is one of the architects of the New Zealand High Court discovery rules and has over 15 years of experience managing and advising on discovery projects for law firms, government agencies and corporate organisations. Prior to establishing E-Discovery Consulting, Andrew worked for 10 years at multinational law firms in London and for over two years at a leading New Zealand law firm.
Andrew is the founder of New Zealand's premier legal technology event - LawFest NZ, which provides a platform to encourage greater adoption of technology by lawyers and their firms. He is also committed to industry development and raising awareness of eDiscovery and legal technology through his NZ E-Discovery Blog.
- For some, the disruption of COVID-19 was the catalyst for change that many resisted for so long. Those that were reluctant to innovate or invest in technology now appreciate why they need to and the value of investing further going forward.
- Overnight, technology became a lifeline as everyone had to work differently – and remotely. Barriers to change quickly disappeared, as many were forced to make changes within weeks that previously may have taken years to implement. Unsurprisingly, many that had not previously innovated or leveraged legal technology struggled, with some battling to even enable their staff to work from home.
- Even though some courts closed, or transitioned virtually with eDiscovery, those that had access to cloud solutions were able to seamlessly conduct eDiscovery, with remote review being possible wherever your location. The experience of COVID-19 has demonstrated how essential it is to have access to your eDiscovery tools, no matter where you are physically located.
- While 2020 reinforced why we need to innovate and leverage technology, the focus for 2021 is how we can go about this. As the pandemic accelerated the rate in which firms have been adopting technology, there is now the opportunity to continue the adoption – and clients will now expect this!
- The volumes and sources of data will continue to evolve, so it is important to adapt with this and not be tied to traditional practices. The adoption of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools will present new data sources and challenges for the eDiscovery process.
Considerations for leaders
- With today’s proliferation of data volumes in eDiscovery, it is important not to focus solely on the technology itself, but to be smarter in how eDiscovery is approached, together with continuing to refine and improve how you approach the process. This requires considerably more work earlier in the discovery process to prevent the cost and burden from spiralling out of control. The time invested at the outset could save you thousands down the track and lessen the burden.
- Remain curious and open to change and always look at how you can do this better.
You can read the insights from the rest of our expert panel in our InfoGovANZ Key Learnings from 2020 – Action and Insights for 2021 Report. The report was developed from a virtual forum discussing the impact of COVID-19 and IG implications for organisations on data, access to information, trust, transparency and accountability, cybersecurity, global privacy regulatory developments, eDiscovery, ethics and artificial intelligence.
You can also watch the recording of the 28 January 2021 webinar here.