Extract from Elizabeth Pollock-King’s article “The Slack Explosion: Convenient Yet Complicated”
The proliferation of collaboration and chat tools such as Slack and Teams has, in some ways, been a wonderful gift, in that they make it significantly easier for people to communicate with each other in the workplace in a less formal, more natural way than email. This has been particularly useful — and even enjoyable — during the past two years, when most people were working remotely and missing the interaction of the office setting.
In the context of e-discovery, however, these chat platforms have raised significant new challenges. The informality of chat culture not only makes chat data harder to search, it also results in huge volumes of a new kind of data that must be processed in unique ways before it can be reviewed.
While most companies have this kind of data, to date, only some have started to see discovery requests for it coming in. That will quickly change, however — eventually, chat data will be a routine part of e-discovery. This means that you should start figuring out how to collect it now and proactively consider some of the most common issues it presents, so you’re better prepared when you get your first request.
The Challenges Presented By Chat Data
Because the use of tools such as Slack and Teams is constantly evolving and the inclusion of data from these tools is relatively new in e-discovery, the hurdles each company, firm, or review team encounters will be different. However, the following are some of the biggest ones you’re likely to encounter when you start down this path.