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[Original post by Stephanie Forshee of]

New apps and technology tools are changing the way companies do business and conduct discovery. But making sure these technologies are compliant and secure means combatting a “major disconnect between legal and IT,” according to Brett Tarr, legal counsel for Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Tarr, who heads the Las Vegas company’s e-discovery function, was among the panelists who spoke about “Using Emerging Technology to Execute Forensic Collections From Slack, Jira, HipChat and Other Cutting Edge Data Sources” during ALM’s Legalweek 2018 in New York.

“IT and legal speak different languages and have different priorities,” Tarr said during the discussion Tuesday afternoon.

Regardless, it is crucial for companies such as Caesars “to get the right people to the table,” including both IT and legal departments, Tarr said. From there, the two functions have to  evaluate how the technology could affect security and privacy and whether or not that level of risk is acceptable.

“It’s not about eliminating risk, it’s about managing risk and optimizing risk to get the best outcomes,” Tarr explained.

Though there are risks with any new app or technology, Tarr said, there are certainly benefits such as mobility, centralization of data and the ability to easily communicate with others. Companies need to be sure they know exactly what they’re collecting and which technologies their employees are permitted to use.

Calculating whether risks of any particular technology outweigh the benefits is an individual decision, he noted.

Like Tarr, Ruth Hauswirth, special counsel at Cooley, who also appeared on Tuesday’s panel, stressed how important it is for in-house lawyers to understand the types of data they are collecting.

She cited a case involving United Parcel Service Inc., as an instance in which a company had insights into its data and could use it to its advantage in court.

In Solo v. United Parcel Service, the plaintiff requested data on package-specific details for a period dating back to 2008. UPS’ lawyers, Hauswirth said, were able to come back and tell the court exact costs associated with fulfilling the request and why it would be too burdensome. Data collection for discovery was ultimately limited to a six-month period.

“They knew where their information was, how much it would cost. It was not just speculation [that] this is too difficult, this is too burdensome,” Hauswirth said. She explained that in this case UPS agreed to search for six months of time and revisit the request based on the information that came back for that period.

“When you’re making an argument in the discovery context, know your data,” Hauswirth said.

Stephanie Forshee

Stephanie Forshee

Stephanie Forshee is based in New York. She covers retail, fintech and in-house legal departments.