ILTACON 2021 | Discovery, Information Governance and Retention: How Long Should This Go On?

Published on August 31, 2021

Amanda Cook

Amanda Cook is a detail oriented e-discovery practitioner who has worked in all stages of the EDRM lifecycle. Amanda is a passionate advocate for the use of electronic discovery to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Amanda's consultative and customized approach to client service has helped her clients achieve successful and cost-effective outcomes. Amanda is also fluent in translating technical jargon to legalese to plain English and back again.

Acorn’s Director of Legal Discovery Consulting, Amanda Cook, joined ILTACON 2021’s  “Discovery, Information Governance and Retention: How Long Should This Go On?” panel alongside Stephen Dempsey, eDiscovery Program Lead at The Chemours Company and Ricky Brooman, Director of Litigation Support Services at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP.

The panel expands on how information governance and a corporation’s established data retention and deletion process should apply to e-discovery, but that is sometimes easier said than done.

A key point Acorn’s Director of Legal Discovery Consulting emphasized was, “E-discovery can’t be an island…We can’t think of it on its own. We need to think about it proactively”. Further noting, state and international privacy laws, and the increasing prevalence of data breaches, requires an established, proactive plan for e-discovery data.

To start, we need to shift from a reactive to proactive approach. Amanda is often a recipient of the reactive decisions of what to do with the data. The problems arise when you are at the end of the case – maybe it was settled, maybe it was dismissed, or only a portion of the data is needed – but we have to do something with all of this data.

This is something that needs to be thought about at the onset and throughout a matter, Amanda explains, because eDiscovery creates a lot of data around the data. It’s not just the data itself, but it’s copies, emails about the data and work product, and communications surrounding it. All of this has to be a part of the analysis we are making when we are talking about what we are retaining and what is within the terms of our retention policy. Ricky Brooman notes “When you have a framework you understand what data you created across the EDRM, and can make informed decisions when you are ready to close it down”

Amanda further explains that you have to consider all the places this data might exist, where it’s being created, how it’s being created and how do we gather and track it through the full EDRM lifecycle so that we can dispose or retain of it at the end.

If there is one thing to add to your process, Amanda mentioned, it is documentation. Documentation is key and will prevent you from having to go back through emails 75 times to figure out what happened throughout your process. You want to easily be able to state that through whole process, we kept x,y, and z and here are the 5 reasons why. Through this you create a defensible process and procedure behind it.

View the whole session here.

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About Acorn 

Acorn is a legal data consulting firm that specializes in AI and Advanced Analytics for litigation applications, while providing rigorous customer service to the eDiscovery industry. Acorn primarily works with large regional, midsize national and boutique litigation firms. Acorn provides a high-touch, customized litigation support services with a heavy emphasis on seamless communications. For more information, please visit