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Information Governance: Ask the Experts Series - How the FRCP amendments will impact our industry

JohnPepe on ‎04-18-2014 06:55 AM

This is the first post in an Information Governance blog series where we will “Ask the Experts” about emerging eDiscovery trends and topics.


We will focus on recent innovations in cloud technology, changes likely to come to the eDiscovery software space and how information governance is likely to change the way we think about preparedness in the enterprise. HP Autonomy has provided advanced eDiscovery solutions since the 1990’s, so we look forward to sharing our expertise throughout this series.


Changing the Rules – The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

In this first part of our blog series, we will focus on a topic that is ‘top of mind’ for the eDiscovery industry; the proposed FRCP rule changes. To shed some light on the impact of these proposed changes on our industry, we are going to sit down with our very own eDiscovery expert, Matthew Levy [i], who serves as vice president with HP Autonomy’s eDiscovery solutions group .


John:  Matt, we’ve been talking about these proposed changes for a while but most of the discussion has been about their impact on practitioners.

Matt:  That’s right, and it makes sense that that’s the case since the rules exist to guide how lawyers and their clients navigate the judicial process— not to inform software companies on their development roadmaps.  But, there are takeaways for companies like HP Autonomy as we consider what’s important to our users as the paradigm of litigation practice evolves.


John:  In your view, what changes are the most significant for HP?

Matt:  One important change relates to Rule 1: Not so much the new language of the rule itself, but rather the reference in the committee note to the concept of cooperation.  The note states, “Effective advocacy is consistent with — and indeed depends upon — cooperative and proportional use of procedure.”  It is the use of the word “cooperative” that has some commentators concerned.  The problem rests with the fact that the term is not defined and, indeed, practitioners seldom are able to agree upon what is effective and reasonable cooperation in their cases.


John:  It seems the challenge, then, for providers in terms of product strategy is to simplify and clarify the processes and technology our customers use to meet their discovery obligations.

Matt:  I agree.  Nobody expects us to reveal sensitive intellectual property (unless ordered to do so by a court and, even then, only within the confines of strict protections), but I believe it’s incumbent upon us to make our technology as accessible and understandable to our customers as possible.


John:  How does a product like HP’s eDiscovery OnDemand, which provides customers with the ability to push the buttons and pull the levers of an eDiscovery project, fit with your view?

Matt:  OnDemand is a great example.  I believe it represents a huge step towards customer independence.  When customers can operate with increasing independence it allows them to engage more openly and effectively with opposing counsel.  That’s just a small example.  Making advanced analytics and processes like meaning based coding more understandable and accessible will allow opposing parties to more intelligently and productively engage with one another about the conduct of discovery.


John:  But not all litigators like the idea of such cooperation.  In fact, some lawyers do not subscribe to the idea that cooperation is good for their clients.

Matt:  That’s true.  Some ascribe to the belief that a degree of transparency is appropriate, but not cooperation.  It’s a fine line.  The point, at the end of the day, is that the market and our product strategy need to continue to address the fact that even as technology enables customers to interact with data in increasingly complex ways, we also need to make that interaction as transparent and understandable as we can.


John:  Matt, we also talked about the proposed changes to Rule 26(b)(1) and how they seek to clarify the scope of discovery.  The commentators I’ve read generally applaud the Committee’s efforts in that regard.

Matt:  That’s my take as well.  The committee’s aim is to help parties better control discovery in furtherance of FRCP Rule 1 which seeks the “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”  The fact remains, however, that proposed changes to the Federal Rules won’t impact the continued growth of information and how companies struggle to manage it.  In addition to the growth of information, that information remains accessible in ways not previously available to us in the days, for example, of backup tapes.  Now, companies have more robust access to aging information for longer periods of time. 


John:  In your view, how does this impact what we do here at HP Autonomy?

Matt:  Going forward, the market will see increased demand for tools to identify, access, distill, and analyze these vast amounts of information in ways they can’t do now.  Yes, the tools at our disposal today are good.  But they will become even better—more user friendly and with improved analytics and presentation methods.


Future-proof your eDiscovery process

Visit our website to learn how HP Autonomy’s integrated eDiscovery and Information Governance platform can future-proof your eDiscovery process – no matter what happens with the FRCP.


Click here to learn more.


And, don’t miss my next post with our eDiscovery Deployment Experts where we’ll learn about the many types of deployment models and the details, benefits, suitability, and caveats of each




Read more from this author:

Information Governance: HP Autonomy announces new cloud-based eDiscovery offering

[i] Matthew Levy is a Vice President with HP Autonomy’s eDiscovery solutions group and brings over two decades of litigation experience and a concentrated background in eDiscovery. As a domain expert, he works with HP’s customers to develop and implement reasonable and defensible solutions to complex eDiscovery challenges, leveraging the strengths of HP’s technology. Matthew also works with HP’s engineering and project management teams to advance the company’s premium technology and service offerings. He keeps abreast of legal developments affecting eDiscovery and information governance and monitors best practices that affect HP’s approach to client support.

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About the Author


Delivering subject matter expertise in the area of financial services compliance and product marketing for HP’s eDiscovery and Supervision/Surveillance products. John has been a legal and compliance professional in the financial services industry for over 12 years. Prior to joining HP Autonomy, John was a compliance officer, auditor, and consultant for major banks, broker-dealers, investment banks, hedge funds, and asset management firms.

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