The first line of the first lesson is one I totally agree with:
“It’s said that major events don’t so much change our culture as they simply reveal what was already there.”
I feel like Jeff should have reminded himself of that first line when writing the rest of it, because yes, it’s true that way more people are using those tools now than just a few months ago, but those tools aren’t new. They were around, and people in many organizations were using them to conduct business. Many, many people were using SMS to communicate with coworkers and clients, collaborating with cloud-based tools like Teams, SharePoint, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc. Some of us have even been using Skype for years.
“When I stop and think about all of the different pieces of technology that I use to do my job today as compared to 4 months ago, I realize that list has grown exponentially. I’m not the only one. We have all had to change the way we interact with technology to do our jobs and to stay connected and that presents new opportunities in the discovery process. Each of the new pieces of software we use creates opportunities for data to be collected and stored. Whether it be Microsoft Teams, text messaging, WhatsApp, Slack, or Zoom, each communication system we use has the potential to contain discoverable information.”
These aren’t new sources of ESI, they are more likely to be huge sources now, but they always were sources. The legal world is just being forced to deal with them now the same way that many of us have been forced to use these tools while working from home. I don’t mean to pick on Jeff, he’s writing about something that has become all too real to many legal departments and law firms, the sudden realization that all of the people in an organization are using tools that store data in locations we’re not very familiar with. But, for the most part, there were people already using these tools, the legal folks just weren’t paying much attention. Now they have to get involved in this stuff because there’s no way you can claim not to know they are being used. So, here we are.
Kicking and screaming all the way. 😉