Corporate E-Discovery Forum on Social Media

A few weeks ago I had a unique opportunity to attend the Corporate E-Discovery Forum’s (CEDF) New York Forum. The CEDF is a non-profit organization that hosts and guides gatherings for its members, consisting of over 200 corporations and 400 individual participants, to encourage collaboration on E-Discovery issues. The forums give members the opportunity to discuss document retention policies and enterprise content management practices, litigation holds, preservation, collection, processing of electronically-stored information, cost and risk management, best practices to avoid spoliation and sanctions, and understanding plaintiffs’ strategies. Although vendors participate in the forums, they contribute equally with other members based on their experience (no sales pitches allowed).

Although there was a large turnout, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interaction achieved in the sessions. Board members Nicholas Bunin, Jeri Head, and Patrick Gibson did a great job introducing sessions and spurring conversation. The board places great emphasis on active communication as opposed to having a single presenter talking at the crowd.

This recent forum was all about social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – in corporate environments. Social media has obviously been around for quite some time, but in the corporate environment, policy makers are just getting comfortable with its use for business purposes. As a user, my first instinct is to question why this causes a problem; as a corporate investigator, I can tell you that social media can cause significant problems in the workplace and creates a whole new medium in which violations can occur. There are myriad new legal guidelines emerging around how corporations should regulate these tools in light of the current legal landscape. Regulatory agencies have also recently had their say on the diligent monitoring that must occur in the financial industry in relation to social media.

The forum had four main sessions during the day: Social Media and Reducing Risk, Practical Guide for Corporations to the Identification, Collection and Production of Social Media, Social Media Policy, and Social Media Dialog with Judges. While the guidelines of the organization prohibit sharing of content outside of the forum, I’ll just say that the day was well spent and I learned quite a bit. The next forum theme will be Cloud Technology, and will take place at the San Francisco Forum in June. The Corporate E-Discovery Forum would love to have new members participate and contribute to the discussions, and welcomes technical practitioners as well. If you’re a member of a corporate E-Discovery team, whether legal or tech, I’d highly encourage you join and participate!