Where in the World is Ediscovery?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 by Eric Robinson

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” That was the question for thousands of kids in the 80’s and 90’s as they searched the digital globe for the sneakiest villains in the computer game industry. Their goal was to locate and arrest Carmen and her partners-in-crime in some of the most exotic, international locations.

As an ediscovery professional working for a global legal technology provider, I often ask myself, “Where in the world is my ediscovery project?” Though I am not tracking cyber-villains, my goal is to solve various international ediscovery challenges and knowing where the project and data are located is critical.

In a recent article I co-authored, “The Complex Challenges of Cross Border Ediscovery Management”, appearing in Today’s General Counsel, my London-based colleague, Daniel Kavan, and I discussed the many complex challenges associated with international ediscovery. Below, I will touch on some of them and explain why the best practice for international ediscovery management is using a knowledgeable, global provider to help.

Global Ediscovery Differences

Ediscovery is approached differently in almost every country and these global differences are often overlooked. Knowing the country’s approach to ediscovery is integral to ensuring that the project goes smoothly. Additionally, simple logistical factors like time zones, for example, can be easily forgotten. If not taken into account in the beginning, logistical costs can add up quickly. These projects can take four to six weeks to complete and extra staffing to accommodate the time difference may need to take place.  Addressing these issues early can help make the project run smoother.

Local, Regional, and National Regulations

Even more crucial to an ediscovery project are local, regional, and national regulations. Regulations are emerging to be one of biggest challenges that global ediscovery projects managers have to consider. Most ediscovery professionals are aware of the European Union’s data privacy regulations. However, less known but equally important are the EU state regulations that need to be considered when managing an ediscovery project. Also, on the other side of the globe, new regulations are beginning to emerge in Tokyo, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and other areas in the region. Navigating these regulations is not an easy process so make sure to bring the appropriate resources to the table.

Language and Cultural Differences

Another challenge that global ediscovery project managers face are language and cultural differences. Simple intonation of a word or emphasis on a syllable can mean something completely different in another language. Similarly, a Western gesture can be offensive to someone of another culture. Having a person with knowledge of these differences can ease the ediscovery process and help establish collaboration of the team and also of the opposing party.

Partner with a Global Ediscovery Provider

Knowing these challenges and how to address them, can save your cross-border ediscovery project. The fact that Kroll Ontrack is a global company, with numerous data centers all over the world – U.S., U.K., Japan, and a new data center in Germany – helps ease my client’s mind when I take on an international ediscovery case. With the help of Kroll Ontrack’s global presence and worldwide knowledge, I can work to avoid many of the issues other global ediscovery project managers face.