When I started covering this industry, we were very much in the midst of the eDiscovery surge. Everyone was talking about the latest and greatest advancements in solving ballooning discovery costs brought on by the glut of electronic data. Measuring bad jokes and lewd photos in terabytes had revolutionized the whole field of litigation and it was a fast-paced environment for anyone out there trying their hand at legal tech.
It’s not that eDiscovery — or “Discovery” as we probably should call it at this point — isn’t still a dynamic sector in legal technology. There’s hardly an advancement that can’t be applied to the discovery process. But folks in that space do sit on robust platforms just itching for new applications.
When I sat down with ActiveNav at the ILTACON show — or, more accurately, in the Global Legal Tech Affairs Penthouse — to catch up on their year, the first update I got was “if you think of ActiveNav as an eDiscovery player, then you’ve missed our foray into governance.”
And why shouldn’t that be a natural market for eDiscovery tech? The use cases for the platforms vendors have built are mostly known at this point. But moving back up the chain to aid companies in how they maintain their data is a the proactive step. Because, as CRO Dean Gonsowski told me, “Discovery is extracting what’s in the files — we go into repository and take action there…. do more analysis in situ.” Making this, in a sense, data mapping as a service. It’s the sort of work that can help a company have all its data accessible, without leaving it easily hackable or, at best, a regulatory exposure.
According to Gonsowski, a chief privacy officer he spoke to recently said data security was only a medium concern for the company before immediately adding, “For me it’s high but….” That certainly speaks to a problem with companies empowering the privacy officers. GDPR may not have gotten everyone squared away, but California’s privacy law might. And when companies do get sorted out on this, applying tech to governance is a pretty critical investment.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.