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eDiscovery Summit Recap: What We Learned

With the 2013 Symantec eDiscovery in Government Educational (EDGE) Summit now behind us-and participants still buzzing about several of the presentations-I thought it might be helpful to recap some of the key insights covered, especially for those unable to attend.

First and foremost, our panel discussion on the future of predictive coding in the public sector was unquestionably one of the event's highlights. During this session, we learned from the Honorable Andrew J. Peck-a United States Magistrate Judge, "law and technology" expert, and the first to address the use of predictive coding in eDiscovery-about the need for FOIA and litigation technology in light of shrinking budgets and staff shortages in government. In particular, we learned that predictive coding can cut litigation costs in half by reducing attorney fees. (After all, the average lawyer can only manually review 50-60 documents per hour, and cases can often have upwards of 1 million.)

However, we also learned that predictive coding is only one tool in the litigator's "toolbelt," and that more traditional capabilities like keyword search, concept search, discussion threading, and clustering are still important complementary pieces-at least for now, since most predictive coding tools are still very new to the field of law, and thus lack transparency (providing very little if any information about the underlying statistical methodologies they apply).

As Judge Peck once proclaimed, if 2012 was the year of predictive coding, 2013 or 2014 will be the year of information governance (IG). But at the Summit, we learned that IG encompasses an array of areas related to backup, security, storage, archiving, and eDiscovery, to name a few.

We also heard from Paul M. Wester-Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration-on complying with President Obama's August 2012 record keeping directive. We learned that key dates include: December 2013 (for developing and beginning to implement transition plans), December 2016 (for managing all email records in an electronic format, and December 2019 (for managing all permanent electronic records electronically).

We also learned that to meet these records retention requirements, agencies are turning to solutions like Symantec's Enterprise Vault and Enterprise for automating their records retention.

These are all important issues that warrant close watch over the coming months, so please stay tuned to this blog for the latest information, insights, and events. In addition, if you'd like to learn more about predictive coding and technology-assisted review (TAR), you can download a free copy of "Predictive Coding for Dummies" at