The Stressed, Insane, Relentless and Unforgiving World of Second Requests – Part 1

Friday, November 3, 2017

Perspectives from eDiscovery Industry Insiders – Part 1 of Our 4 Part Series, STRESSED

Second Requests have two things in common: a seemingly unlimited number of documents and an exceptionally limited amount of time.  In this four-part blog series, four of our most senior team members, all with multiple Second Request experience, will share their unique, behind-the-scenes perspectives on the stressed, insane, relentless and unforgiving world of Second Requests.

Stressed: It’s the key emotional state typically evoked with Second Requests.  While requests for additional information during an M&A process don’t occur often, I can usually tell something important is happening when a client comes to me with the news.  It’s in their voice … “Canaan, are you sitting down?” 

Even companies we’ve not worked with before have a hard time keeping a poker face when it comes to Second Requests.  RFP turnaround times are non-existent – sometimes only 24 hours.  Once we heard over a weekend that we had won the bid.  The new client expected our kick-off call organized and the team ready to start the project on Monday.  It was and we were.

That’s because the stakes for our clients are enormous.

We know that if our client doesn’t respond on time to get clearance by a specific date, the deal might not happen.  That can mean strategic ramifications for their business, on top of the possibility of a significant break-up fee.  And oftentimes our clients are financing the deal – and every day that the deal is on hold pending clearance, is a day with financial impact.

Our job: get the job completed quickly and without error.  That encompasses sending the team out in the field to forensically collect the required data, engaging our Relativity experts to minimize document and data overload with Technology Assisted Review (TAR), and finally having our managed review team power through the most likely responsive documents with an attention to detail expected and demanded by our clients, their counsel – and the regulatory authorities.

It is, in some ways, like planning a wedding.  You set the date and work backwards to fix the relevant milestones for all the parties involved.  And, it’s going to happen before you know it.  The recipe for success is to get the best experienced planner whose gotten parties to the altar multiple times.

When a client asks for our assistance with a Second Request, my first objective is to ensure that he or she knows we’ve done this before, and have a proven Second Request playbook, as well as dedicated antitrust Expert Advisors, professional and technical resources, and tried and tested operational workflows to ensure we hit the desired deadlines.

My job, where the client’s counsel is concerned, is to let them know that we are an extension of their team.  We are there to facilitate their response, and to coordinate in a manner that reduces their workload – and stress.

My job, where our internal team is concerned, is to ensure they have the right marching orders and understand the milestones – all with a clear understanding of the Second Request’s scope.

All of this happens by assembling the right team from across our organization.  The good news is that we have a depth of talent from which to choose.  That gives me and our clients the flexibility to partner with experts who have relevant expertise, including prior experience with Second Requests, the specific regulatory authorities involved, and the client’s industry.

While my preference is for the first meeting to be face-to-face so that there are no surprises, tight deadlines oftentimes mean a conference call so everyone can get together quickly – and with minimal cost.  Given our company’s scale and scope, engagement happens seamlessly, much to the relief of our clients.

When we hang up after that first call, they know I am transitioning them to a well-managed, seasoned team of professionals who will deliver on time, on budget – and with the quality one would expect and demand from a company like ours.

That keeps my clients happy, and that’s why I continue to get those “Canaan, are you sitting down” phone calls.

Be sure to check our Insights page for Part 2 of our Series, “Insane”, from Warren G. Kruse II, Vice President, Data Forensics.



Author: Canaan Himmelbaum, Esq., Vice President, Client Executive Services

Canaan Himmelbaum serves as Vice President, Client Executive Services for Advanced Discovery. In this role, Canaan leverages his years of experience working in-house as Litigation and eDiscovery Counsel at Glanbia, PLC where he worked on large scale eDiscovery, litigation and M&A matters.

Canaan’s extensive in-house career allows him to successfully manage the collection, review and production of documents for clients.  He has developed protocols for such matters as subpoena analysis and review, document review, preparation of witness files and outlines, chronologies of key documents, witness interviews and preparation of witness memoranda. Canaan advises and consults with clients on eDiscovery and risk management, including planning and budgeting, internal investigations, class actions, recalls, and information governance.  Other areas of expertise include antitrust, Oil/Gas/Energy, FCPA and healthcare fraud.

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