Six Different Perspectives on the eDiscovery and Investigative Processes

Posted on April 12, 2010


At last week’s eDiscovery and Law Enforcement event hosted by ZyLAB in Amsterdam, more than 120 legal, eDiscovery and law enforcement specialists from Europe gathered to discuss the trends and challenges of information management in the context of conducting investigations and eDiscovery.

The presentations were phenomenal and each speaker offered tremendous specialized insight into the information management challenges they have overcome in their own organizations. I have summarized their perspectives here so that a broader group of investigators, law enforcement officials, forensic accountants, and defense and in-house attorneys may benefit from their collective experiences.

To learn more about each of these discussions please go ahead and contact me and I will help you to liaise. Additionally, you can review the videos of selected presentations (as soon as they are available) from here:

  1. THE REGULATOR: The analysts Team Leader at the Operational Intelligence, European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) from the European Commission (EC), explained how large-scale investigations, with enormous information collections, are implemented and how OLAF can find entities and facts without knowing they existed before the start of an investigation. An important issue for law enforcement agencies to consider is the internal workflow of all data and, of course, data protection regulations. OLAF has addressed these issues and applied ZyLAB’s search and text-mining technology to solve cases that would otherwise not have been solved. As a result, internal and external fraud is prosecuted and valuable EC resources are protected.
  2.  THE FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT: The Manager Forensic Investigations, Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services and Forensic & Dispute Services showed how Deloitte is able to find “smoking and loaded guns” in large collections of data. The credit crisis, more aggressive regulators, fraud, and white collar crime are all drivers for an (internal) investigation. But many questions arise: How and where to capture the data? How to manage these large amounts of data?  How to reduce data as soon as possible to avoid costly investigations and legal reviews? Today’s complex questions call for an integrated platform for collecting, processing, indexing, searching and case-building in large collections of sorted and unsorted information. There is a need for differentiation of technical skills and investigative skills, but also for professional support, process management and case management. It is essential to have guaranteed availability and absolute security. All of this can only be realized with a scalable and flexible platform. Deloitte uses the ZyLAB eDiscovery and Production System.
  3.  THE FORENSIC PROFESSOR: One of the most intriguing talks, “What can we learn from Kafka, the Matrix, Freud and Bill Clinton?” came from Professor Bob Hoogenboom, Forensic Business Studies, Nyenrode Business University.  Prof Hoogenboom warned of many fallacies resulting from the uncontrolled application of new technology in the field of intelligence and law enforcement. Specifically: while it may be possible to skate on this ice, it is not always acceptable to do so; the fallacy that correlation must equal causality; and the fallacy that if it is new it is better. Great examples from Kafka, the Matrix, Freud and Bill Clinton were shared with the audience. When applying new technology, we must be more suspicious than ever before, recognize and avoid cognitive dissonance, jig saw theory, incorrect group think, intelligence to please, tunnel vision and evidence manipulation.
  4.  THE CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: Rob van der Hoeven, Partner Fraud & White Collar Crime, Dispute Resolution, Nauta Dutilh explained how one can integrate discovery and litigation when under investigation by regulators or the police, in order to avoid critical errors. He provided ideas on becoming prepared for regulatory probes, understanding the role of  external counsel during or after a visit, and remembering the importance of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege.Additionally, Rob explained the importance of defining up front the goal of the investigation, who will be conducting the investigation, and what methodology will be followed.
  5.  THE US eDISCOVERY SPECIALIST: Jan J.H. Joosten, partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP discussed the specifics of discovery and electronic discovery in United States litigation. During his presentation, “Discovery and eDiscovery: What is it? Why is it there? How is it done? What are the limits?” Jan stressed the importance of (e)discoveries and the sanctions for non-compliancy. He also offered suggestions for developing a winning litigation strategy under the new federal rules of civil procedure, and he provided several real world examples.
  6.  THE eDISCOVERY TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIST: I, Prof. Dr. Johannes C. Scholtes, Chief Strategy Officer for ZyLAB, explained the importance and role of advanced technology for eDiscovery, investigations, compliance and information governance. Advanced technology can help us to automatically categorize information, translate, derive relation networks, and natively search multi-media. The ongoing information explosion forces us to re-think how we manage and process information. Manual reviews are no longer possible, but the good news is that there is a lot of proven technology available to help. For example,  ZyLAB is constantly developing and integrating such new technology into the ZyLAB Information Management Platform.

This was definitely one of our most informative and dynamic conferences! Every eDiscovery, investigation, and organization faces unique challenges in terms of managing vast amounts of information. Likewise, each stakeholder (from regulator to attorney) has a different perspective on the situation. I hope these summaries provide you with a list of important things to consider for your own work. Feel free to send me an e-mail if you would like further information or contact the speakers for more information.