Last week, at the autumn conference of General Counsel Network (GCN) in the Hague, GCN picked the perfect location for this event: not only is The Hague the city of international law and peace, GCN was also able to arrange the historical headquarter of the Dutch courts: the “Raad voor de Rechtspraak”, overlooking the Dutch parliamentary buildings. GCN provided an inspiring program with more than enough time to network.
First, there was a presentation by Duco Oranje and Lincoln Frakes of the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC), who will start January 1st 2019, providing dispute resolution services to (international) organizations. Mr. Oranje provided an overview of the benefits of the NCC compared to other dispute resolution platforms such as the ICC or general arbitration services. Subsequently, Mr. Oranje explained the common practice of eDiscovery in other jurisdictions to the audience and emphasized the relevance of such discovery services for the NCC. Traditionally, eDiscovery in Europe is primarily concerned with handling regulatory requests and internal investigations; Mr. Oranje made it very clear that eDiscovery will definitely become more important to European companies in arbitration and litigation as well.
Later in the afternoon, the workshop “Prepare yourself for Information Requests” focused on the broad spectrum of different shapes of information requests and the role of eDiscovery. Answering regulatory requests, subsequent internal investigations, litigation, arbitration, patent investigations, dispute resolution, GDPR's Right to be Forgotten Requests, you name it… all resulting in large scale fact-finding missions in electronic data, which is exactly what we call eDiscovery. Most corporations are not prepared for such Information requests, let alone a full-blown eDiscovery. This leads to last minute outsourcing of the whole process in the light of pressure and tight deadlines. As a result, control over both the process and cost are lost. During the discussions, it because clear that corporations are more reluctant to hand over all their data to 3rd parties. Security is obviously an important reason, but also the fact that changing a law firm in case of a conflict of interest, or active participation in a settlement process in is much harder without full access and control of the data.
For all the above reasons, taking back control over the eDiscovery process and data is a priority for any organization dealing with regular information requests. This no longer requires a huge upfront investment in software or a complex IT project: these days a wide spectrum of SaaS-based eDiscovery solutions is available which use volume-based pricing. In such a model you only pay when you upload data. All processing and enrichment is done automatically and you can provide secure access to your legal and financial advisers when needed. In addition, you will stay in control, you can participate in the process and you can consolidate all eDiscovery data in your own, secure and encrypted environment.