Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The 10th annual Masters Conference for Legal Professionals was held on October 18th & 19th at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Advanced Discovery was a sponsor of the event, which featured many speakers from the ten-year history of the event including Mary Mack of ACEDS, George Socha of EDRM fame and now with BDO, David Horrigan of KCura, Ralph Losey of Jackson Lewis, and Mike Quartararo of Stroock.
The agenda covered a wide range of topics from cybersecurity to project management to analytics. Attendance was good, which was no easy task given the number of conferences being held in DC every week. In fact, a cybersecurity event just down the hall drew several attorneys I knew who are active in ACEDS and were torn on which event to attend.
The first day started with a well-attended session by Mary Mack and eDiscovery guru Helen Bergman Moure, which was Part One of the CEDS Online Exam Prep Seminar. This session guides attendees through all the steps of the eDiscovery process and prepares them for the CEDS Certification exam. It also showcases the expanded partnership between ACEDS and the Masters Conference involving educational offerings. More details on that relationship can be found at: https://www.aceds.org/news/309717/ACEDS-and-Masters-Conference-Expand-Partnership.htm.
Next on the agenda was a panel I moderated called Future of eDiscovery: Riding the Analytics Revolution. Although the time was shifted due to a scheduling problem, the session was described as a look at how big data plays a role in litigation for many law firms and organizations. The focus was on having the ability to cull down your data earlier in the litigation cycle, which enables your firm or organization to work more efficiently and competitively.
Since technology is increasingly playing a key role in helping firms and organizations effectively identify and manage the data most important to their litigation, the session focus was to discuss the emerging trends around analytics in eDiscovery, and how a firm or organization can implement best practices to ensure the highest quality results at a lower cost than traditional document reviews.
I was joined by panelists Jeannine M. Kenney of Hausfeld, Sunil Ohri of Stein Mitchell, Guruli Zivad of Wilmer Hale, and Tracy D. Drynan of Drinker Biddle. And, despite the scheduling mishap, there were numerous conversations on the subject in the hallway, during the lunch and throughout the day. Analytics is a major issue for litigators in deciding their ESI technology and information on the subject is much in demand.
The next session of interest was an expanded lunchtime session called 10 Years Back, 10 Years Forward: The Evolution of Automation in eDiscovery. This was an SRO event with panelists Bill Dimm, Bill Speros, David Horrigan, Doug Austin, George Socha, and moderator Mary Mack, having a rousing discussion on the progress of eDiscovery technologies during the last decade and predictions on innovations for the next ten years. As expected, a discussion of TAR was prominent and led to many audience questions. And, at the end of the allotted time, the panel presented their high-level aggregate recommendations for the future of how best to work with ESI.
Other panels on day one showed the conference’s emphasis on large firm issues with two sessions on cybersecurity: Cybersecurity, eDiscovery, and Your Outside Counsel: What you don’t know CAN hurt you and Cybersecurity Bridging the GAP between Cybersecurity and The Legal Community. Additionally, a session on information governance was offered called Benefits and Challenges in Creating an Information Governance (IG) Program, along with two sessions on project management: Spanning the Gap: Discovery Counsel and Project Management and Legal Project Management, the latter featuring PM guru Michael Quartararo.
A happy hour at the end of the last session was followed by a dinner benefiting the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. At the dinner, awards were given for a number of different activities and two Advanced Discovery employees were among the honorees. You can see more about the awards by Monica Bay of CodeX at https://law.stanford.edu/2016/10/25/masters-conference-honors-lost-friends/ and about our own award winners at: http://www.advanceddiscovery.com/blog/2016/10/advanced-discovery-employees-honored-at-the-10th-anniversary-masters-awards-gala/.
Day two continued the large firm emphasis with sessions such as The Five Forces Impacting Corporate eDiscovery, Explore today’s best practices for investigations, ranging from internal investigations to highly complex regulatory investigations, and Revealing the New Privacy World of the EU/US Privacy Shield and the GDPR. Cybersecurity also continue as a focus with Latest Cybersecurity Trends in Government and Cybersecurity: An In House Perspective.
As the day concluded, a more general theme was struck with FRCP: Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: The Early Returns moderated by the always effusive Ralph Losey and a Judges Panel moderated by the Hon. Ronald J. Hedges (ret), now of Dentons.
All in all, a show with excellent content that could use a bit more logistical refining. Founder and Chairman Robert Childress has his hands full herding all these ediscovery cats but still manages to produce a 2-day program that has great speakers with great content and high educational value. It was and is a conference well worth attending and one Advanced Discovery is proud to sponsor and support.
Senior eDiscovery Consultant
Tom O’Connor is nationally known as a consultant, speaker and writer. In his consulting work, Tom specializes in working with law firms and their corporate clients to manage their electronic discovery needs. As senior eDiscovery consultant for Advanced Discovery, he assists clients in database design, implementation and training. He also addresses specific eDiscovery issues such as retention policies, litigation holds and document exchange protocols. Tom speaks at major legal conferences and writes for both the Advanced Discovery blog and national legal publications.