Survey: Ignorance About Cybersecurity at Corporate Law Departments Still Pervasive

Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr./Bloomberg

FTI Consulting on Tuesday released an “Advice From Counsel” report on eDiscovery, which found that only slightly more than half of companies interviewed are making efficient use of predictive coding.

For the survey, Ari Kaplan Advisors conducted 31 telephonic interviews with in-house lawyers from the Fortune 1000 on a confidential basis. Eight four percent of the participants work at companies with more than $5 billion in annual revenue, according to FTI. On an annual basis, 71 percent of the participants reported spending at least $500,000 on eDiscovery, and 14 percent reported spending more than $5 million.

Some key findings from the report include:

Many of the survey participants acknowledged that they have yet to implement even basic cyber security protocol:

  • Forty-eight percent said they did not have “any security requirements” for the law firms they work with. “That would be a great idea. It seems like such an obvious thing, but I have never really thought about it before,” one respondent told Ari Kaplan Advisors.
  • Forty-two percent of the respondents said they do not re-use [predictive] coding decisions made on documents for previous matters, such as privileged decisions.

The idea is that most companies face overlapping demands in their cases, but rather than re-collecting and re-processing data from the same custodian in each new matter could save money by creating multi-matter repositories of data. Alternatively, to isolate privileged documents, companies could create “a centralized coding template” to be used across multiple litigation matters.

Only 58 percent of the survey participants said they have implemented such efficient procedures. “We always reinvent the wheel,” the report quotes one anonymous participant as saying.

  • Apparently, the exact same number of participants have tried and use predictive coding: 58 percent of the participants said they do while 42 percent said they do not use it. “When the company uses predictive coding as part of its QC and privilege process, it does not disclose it. On all other occasions, it provides disclosure and discusses with opposing counsel,” said one participant.

To download the full report, click here.