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2017 Electronic Discovery Symposium for Government Agencies

Benchmarking study and symposium brainstorming activity results

Deloitte has been proudly hosting the Electronic Discovery Symposium for Government Agencies for 10+ years. We bring together some of the most distinguished thought leaders in eDiscovery and the government sector. Our primary goal is to provide government practitioners with the information and tools needed during the eDiscovery litigation process in their current eDiscovery environment with an eye towards preparing for the future eDiscovery landscape.

2017 eDiscovery symposium results

During the course of the symposium we take the pulse of federal eDiscovery practitioners with our annual Benchmarking study of electronic discovery practices for government agencies. We also host a brainstorming exercise where we discuss eDiscovery pain points and solutions in the federal space. This provides attendees a collaborative environment to share ideas, challenges, and solutions with each other.

The survey

For more than 10 years, Deloitte’s federal eDiscovery practice has surveyed attorneys, paralegals, records managers, and IT professionals within the federal government regarding their experience in eDiscovery. Over time, a picture has emerged of the challenges facing government agencies as well as the varied ways government agencies are managing their eDiscovery workloads.

Our 2017 survey results revealed agency counsel indicated they feel adequately supported by IT when it comes to dealing with opposing counsel on electronic discovery matters. As such, confidence swells when it comes to feeling adequately prepared to discuss eDiscovery with opposing counsel.

Brainstorming activity 

During the annual brainstorming activity at our 10th Annual Electronic Discovery Symposium for Government Agencies, we asked, “If you could be granted one wish by your eDiscovery fairy godmother at your federal department or agency, what it would be?”

Explore the brainstorm results below.

2017 benchmarking study of eDiscovery practices for government agencies

Confidence swells when it comes to feeling adequately prepared to discuss eDiscovery with opposing counsel.

Do you feel adequately prepared to discuss matters regarding eDiscovery with opposing counsel?

39% of respondents have their email in the cloud. Surveyed agency counsel feel increasingly supported by IT with technical support when dealing with opposing counsel on eDiscovery matters.
Surveyed agency counsel feel increasingly supported by IT with technical support when dealing with opposing counsel on eDiscovery matters.

When dealing with opposing counsel regarding electronic discovery, do you feel that you have adequate technical support?

Compared to a year ago, how confident do you feel about your ability to manage eDiscovery in your cases?

How effective is your agency in dealing with the challenges of eDiscovery today?

How confident are you that, if challenged, your agency could demonstrate that their ESI is “accurate, accessible, complete and trustworthy”?

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are frequently used as a collateral method of discovery.

In your opinion, how often is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request used to bypass the legal discovery process or serve as a fact-finding mission before litigation is filed?

How often do you see discovery documents that have already been produced in response to a FOIA request or other type of government request?

Use of predictive coding remains static in year-over-year results.

Have you used predictive coding in any of your cases?

What is your biggest concern about using contractor support for any phase of eDiscovery?
Government agencies are dealing with a variety of data types.

Have you had to preserve or collect data from mobile sources such as text messages, email, photographs, videos, or other data from smart phones or tablets in any of your cases?

Have you requested data from mobile sources such as smart phones or tablets from opposing counsel in any of your cases?

Have you requested social media data from opposing counsel?

Have you produced social media data from opposing counsel?

Have you requested video or audio data from opposing counsel?

Have you produced video or audio data to opposing counsel?

eDiscovery challenges

What are your top three challenges identifying ESI?

Rank the following challenges with regard to handling, processing, reviewing, or producing ESI.

What issues are driving upper management to explore more advanced electronic discovery solutions?

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What’s your eDiscovery wish? Brainstorm results

Here are the top 10 items on your discovery wish list and suggestions for improvements and change:

1. More, more, more!

  • More funding and support
  • More resources
  • More certainty in the budget process
  • More spending flexibility
  • More authority and budget to hire full-time personnel and contractors to accomplish mission as data explodes


2. Proactive information governance/records management

  • Better data organization
  • Centralized data management system to make search easier
  • Proactive records management
  • Automatic email inventory and archiving
  • Mandatory records management that is user friendly and consistent
  • Records storage and retention policies to support defensible deletion

3. Cloud migration

  • Adequate resources to complete migration
  • Additional storage space and ease of records retrieval
  • Experienced cloud vendors who understand agency needs and expectations
  • Strategic upfront planning

4. Designated Discovery unit

  • Consistent tool application across the agency
  • Dedicated discovery attorneys and support staff
  • Shared services for technical services and data processing
  • Technical expertise to bridge the gap between Legal and IT
  • Centralized litigation support and discovery management to provide services across agency

5. Establish processes to meet discovery requirements

  • Agency-wide litigation hold processes that address various issues—when to lift, what to save/store
  • Integrated litigation, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and congressional inquiry responses
  • Better guidance on handling data

6. Interagency discovery centralization throughout the federal government

  • Compatible systems to share information, e.g., email, and documents
  • Shared services across the government for consistency and cost efficiency
  • Government-shared discovery cloud sandbox/solution
  • Standardization of forms across federal landscape

7. Effective eDiscovery training and education

  • More hands-on training that is focused and concise
  • IT bootcamp for lawyers
  • Understanding of tool capabilities
  • Better education on how discovery tools and processes can help litigation and other information requests
  • Updates on new legal developments and technical innovations

8. Right tool for the right job

  • Tier 1 tools with Tier 1 resources
  • Better upfront assessment of the right tools for agency needs
  • Tools to collect and handle new data formats—texts, instant messaging, social media
  • Access to analytics and predictive coding

9. Effective agency—wide information request tracking system

  • System to facilitate communication and notification when one arm of the agency responds to an information request on the same matter (litigation, FOIA, congressional inquiry)

10. One integrated platform that incorporates relevant data

  • One system to search and pull records throughout agency and predictive coding

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eDiscovery services for federal and state government

Deloitte’s Government Sector discovery practice has provided secure litigation support and discovery management services to federal and state agencies since 1994. We cover the full spectrum of discovery services. Our team of professionals applies innovative solutions to accomplish your mission. Deloitte has assisted legal, IT and records managers on hundreds of cases over the years. We have the knowledge and experience to tackle the toughest discovery and litigation support issues. We seek to deploy the latest technologies and tailor strategies to meet your specific needs.

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Explore the archive

Brainstorming activity: 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Benchmarking study: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

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