Overcoming the hurdles of chat, data privacy and more in litigation, investigations and regulatory compliance
“Well, that was fun,” said no one ever in the midst of a global pandemic! But what can be said of 2021 is that we’re gradually returning to a new normal. Law firms and corporate legal departments have regrouped and are emerging stronger than ever. Globally we have faced new challenges and, true to the principles of human ingenuity, we have found new solutions.
With Legal Tech CE 21.4, we take this opportunity to look back at what we have learned over the last two years. It’s important to reflect on new legal tech, business trends and challenges that have emerged. Looking towards a more promising future, OpenText™ eDiscovery solutions continue to help organizations and their legal counsel face what’s to come, armed with the technology and know-how to be cost-conscious, efficient, and successful.
Some of the most important (and most challenging) trends of the past year include:
1. New communication channels add complexity to the eDiscovery review process.
The first digital shift was from paper and fax to email and text messages. Over the past few years, the explosion of ephemeral chat data, including Microsoft® Teams, Bloomberg, and Slack™, has taken the complexity of organizing, collecting, analyzing, and reviewing data from already overwhelming numbers of enterprise data stores to an entirely new level. Review teams now need to synthesize complex chat threads in addition to email and other forms of electronic communication—but piecing together the story and the facts from amongst disparate sources is often unwieldly.
How can review teams solve this challenge?
With more than 600 billion business chat messages generated in 2020 alone, the best end-to-end eDiscovery solutions offer ways to review and understand business communications that go far beyond email threads. OpenText™ Axcelerate™ tames chat review with efficiency and automation by making it easy to ingest chat data with a connector and pre-configured parser for Microsoft Teams, a pre-configured parser for Slack, and a generic parser for all other forms of chat data. In addition to intuitively displaying chat conversations, Axcelerate allows reviewers to break down chat histories by date to narrow the volume of chat data that requires review, and easily view all custodians involved in a chat thread with the chat participant panel. Axcelerate also provides administrators with the power to collapse chat threads to rapidly assess chat review requirements. Building on recent chat feature enhancements, Axcelerate CE 21.4 further enhances review efficiency by allowing reviewers to preview chat attachments so that they can quickly assess which attachments warrant closer review and which can be skipped.
2. Data privacy protection and response is more closely scrutinized than ever by both the public and regulatory authorities.
Compliance with increasingly prevalent data privacy laws which often impose strict timelines for responding to data subject access requests/subject rights requests (DSARs/SRRs) means that organizations must be prepared to identify, report on, redact and delete personal data to meet data privacy compliance obligations avoid fines and sanctions.
Several states have passed comprehensive data privacy laws, including California, Virginia, and Colorado, and U.S. federal legislation also protects specific types of personal information such as health records and credit information. In Europe, comprehensive data privacy law, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), requires companies to ask for permissions to share data and gives individuals rights to access, delete, or control the use of that data.
How can organizations support compliance?
Axcelerate CE 21.4 introduces Enhanced Regular Expressions (RegEx) to detect and protect personal, and confidential information. Enhanced RegEx protects data privacy and speeds review by auto detecting PII, PCI and PHI. In this latest release, Axcelerate’s pre-configured PII pattern recognition includes:
- Passport numbers
- Medicare numbers
- Taxpayer IDs
- Credit card numbers
- Email addresses
Axcelerate RegEx helps teams protect against inadvertent disclosure of personal information to opposing counsel in compliance with increasingly common and stringent data privacy mandates. Axcelerate’s RegEx enhancements also aid in redacting the PII of third parties while fulfilling subject rights requests and play a critical role in itemizing data exposed during breaches.
Example of Axcelerate RegEx pre-configured PII pattern recognition in action.
3. Reducing costs and maximizing internal efficiency remain key legal department priorities.
Over the past year, corporate legal budgets have decreased while unplanned, high-urgency work have increased. Corporate legal teams had to manage a host of new and novel legal issues (some related to the pandemic) with the same or even reduced teams, while under pressure to control runaway outside counsel spend and improve internal efficiency. Corporate law leaders assessed their technology strategy, moving away from eDiscovery point solutions to more comprehensive end-to-end platforms. Law firms had to adopt more creative service delivery strategies to remain competitive in an increasingly cost-conscious market—and reevaluate the way they deliver eDiscovery services to their corporate clients—from cloud-based eDiscovery technology to managed review, investigation support and data collection services.
How can legal departments reduce costs while increasing efficiency?
Enhancements to the Axcelerate platform over the last two years have helped legal teams find the critical facts faster, shaving hours off review tasks and lowering overall costs. Predictive search, Axcelerate Visualizer, a powerful visual data analytics dashboard, and powerful integrated text analytic tools, introduced in prior releases, all increase review efficiency.
Example of the OpenText Axcelerate Visualizer dashboard view.
Axcelerate CE 21.4 introduces additional enhancements to lower review costs and maximize efficiency even further. For example, Axcelerate’s enhanced document coding overturn reporting allows review managers to spot and correct inconsistencies early on and avoid significant rework later, expediting the review process and increasing Quality Control efficiency and accuracy.
Getting ready for what’s next
As the legal community seeks to rebuild, OpenText Legal Tech remains committed to helping organizations and their law firms simplify and streamline eDiscovery and investigations processes with advanced technology solutions and supporting services. Whatever the emerging challenges are—from new forms of electronic data to new and more onerous regulatory and compliance regimes—OpenText continues to innovate so that you can remain competitive and agile no matter what comes next.