Hot Topics for 2014

In strictly avoiding making new year’s predictions in this space, in the last few years I have:

Upon further review, that last one treads a little close to the prediction line, so I’ll try to steer clear this year. Let’s focus on a few trends that are already hot as we kick off 2014.

Machine Learning.  Clearly, predictive coding was a very hot topic in 2013.  But the idea of using those technologies to deliver automated classification, sentiment analysis and even “predictive compliance” holds potentially even greater promise for the enterprise.  As our friend Chris Dale noted in a thought piece last year, there are far more documents impacted by an enterprise-based machine learning and classification system than one used just during eDiscovery.  (Note that Big Data – another hot topic – can be closely related to this issue).

Archiving and Backup.  Lawyers can no longer put off their technology education.  As part of that process, every in-house lawyer — and everyone who works with in-house counsel — must have at least a basic understanding of archives (whether for email, file systems or Sharepoint) and backup systems.  These systems hold key corporate data for retention and protection, implicate retention, compliance and privacy concerns, and may also require eDiscovery.  When legal has better knowledge of these systems, it also helps the organization to create policies and processes to more effectively manage the information in the first place.

Privacy.  Data privacy was also a hot topic during 2013.  And with tough state laws going into effect, the EU considering even stricter requirements and getting tough on the Safe Harbor, plus tougher enforcement in the US, there’s a lot to consider.

BYOD.  “Bring Your Own Device” is another issue that started strongly in 2013 and just seemed to get bigger.  Maybe that’s partly because it’s such a difficult and perhaps even unrecognized issue to solve (although we did have some thoughts on the process).  Thinking more about how BYOD impacts your compliance, privacy, data retention and eDiscovery processes is a big first step.

Happy 2014 and hope to see you all at Legal Tech.

About the Author: Jim Shook

James D. Shook, Esq., CIPP/US Director, Compliance Practice, Global Technology Office Dell EMC Jim helps Dell EMC’s customers understand and efficiently meet the legal and regulatory obligations for their data, focusing on cybersecurity, privacy, retention and electronic discovery. Along with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, he is an experienced commercial litigator and a former general counsel to technology companies. Jim publishes and speaks frequently about meeting challenges created by the intersection of law and technology, and has been an active member of The Sedona Conference’s working groups on electronic information (WG1) since 2004 and data security and privacy (WG11) since 2015.