I had planned on taking a break this week because I hope that all of you are too busy with loved ones to read blogs. Even mine. Sitting at my desk waiting for an expert scoping call I realized that responsible professionals lucky enough to be able to work remote have had nine plus months of quiet home time. So this is my 2020 retrospective, professional and personal.

 

Professional – eDiscovery/Information Governance

  • Six months of work stoppages and project pauses hurt financially. It also gave me time to get the eDiscoveryJournal.com developed and launched. Even with billable hours frozen I managed to support client emergencies and keep projects alive though the pause.
  • September saw courts kick back into motion with new remote protocols. It was a busy month and I heard the same from many of you. Remote collections, crazy security investigations, Zoom/Teams call after call and a realization that discovery can be postponed but not denied.
  • Mass layoffs, furloughs, early retirements and other downsizing of remote employees posed unique challenges to clients and peers using Good Karma calls to explore solution approaches.
  • I find myself advocating for clients to step back and reconsider their overall content management lifecycles considering the new ‘remote corporate normal’. Long standing preservation, collection and retention models do not work well with a remote workforce.
  • The massive adoption surge in M365, Teams, chat, etc. has pushed me to invest hundreds of hours exploring and testing their preservation, search and collection tools. The rapid pace of MSFT development has caught many clients off guard and made M365 expertise more important than ever. The majority of client data sources now lives in the Cloud or on custodian mobile devices. Raw custodial exports have exceeded reasonable size, deadline time or budget limits. Selective retrieval requires validated tools and documented criteria definition workflow.
  • The pandemic and new pricing models pushed many corporate/firm clients to invest in RelativityOne or other cloud-based eDiscovery platforms. That has had me deeper in migrations, templates, protocols, training and actual matters than I ever expected again. My decade as an analyst taught me to look at the forest. 2020 sent me back to planting trees and harvesting lumber.

Personal

  • Two family members in chemo had us quarantining before the pandemic really hit home. That has kept us reasonably safe, if socially isolated. Being able to support family and friends through hard times puts things back in perspective.
  • My lovely partner finally had to take over our spare bedroom as a home office for her jobs. This year has been good for us and our menagerie of pets and rescue fosters.
  • We finally made progress on the punch list left over from house construction back in 2016. Rooftop pergola, solar panels, emergency generator, workshop bench/cabinets and more.
  • eDiscovery tends to consume our personal time and hobbies. 2020 gave me time to dust off some skills and remember how much I enjoy them. You should start seeing links to some of my photography on Instagram.

 

While I am glad to put 2020 behind us, it is important to recognize that it has changed how we live, work and practice eDiscovery. This is our opportunity to challenge traditional practices and tackle big initiatives. We now have the tools and motivation to clean up our digital landfills and make discovery a business process instead of a fire drill. I am excited about 2021 and I hope to keep up my unfiltered perspectives.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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