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Streamlining the Preservation and Collection of ESI from Microsoft Teams in E-Discovery


By Ari Kaplan and Peter Callaghan


Ari Kaplan speaks with Peter Callaghan, the Chief Revenue Officer at Pagefreezer, a technology company that provides compliance and litigation support tools.


Ari Kaplan

Tell us about your background, your role, and the genesis of Pagefreezer.


Peter Callaghan

I've spent the past 30 years working with legal professionals in executive management roles to facilitate the adoption of new technologies driven by a desire to realize productivity gains and increased competitiveness. My role at Pagefreezer is as the Chief Revenue Officer, overseeing customer operations, marketing, sales, customer success, onboarding, and implementation. Our founder Michael Riedijk, moved to Vancouver, where he started Pagefreezer in 2009 after seeing a need for collecting website and social media data for legal and compliance purposes to protect integrity online and enable people to pursue justice in an ever-expanding digital world.


Ari Kaplan

How have enterprise collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams affected the way lawyers and legal professionals approach collecting and preserving electronically stored information?


Peter Callaghan

Email has historically been the one internal collaboration tool from which law firms had to pull information anytime for investigations or audits that required internal conversations, but that is no longer the only internal communication platform. Along with email, most firms have internal chat, collaboration, and file-sharing applications, with Teams being the most dominant. The collection process is often more complex than email. Teams, for example, has tight integration with Microsoft 365 and contains chats, channels, files, video recordings, and other items that make the collection of data more sophisticated.


Among other concerns, the varied ways in which users can interact, such as reacting with emojis reactions, or commenting directly on collaborative files, within Teams, makes it difficult to identify complete conversations with a basic search for a particular term. Ultimately, a large organization could have millions of potentially relevant data points to collect and process in order to tell a cohesive story.


Ari Kaplan

How does Pagefreezer help legal teams address key e-discovery challenges?


Peter Callaghan

There are really only two automated options when collecting ESI from Microsoft Teams. The first is Microsoft Purview for E-Discovery. The second is a third-party integration tool like Pagefreezer. Purview integrates fully with Microsoft and excels at finding data within that ecosystem, but searching for data beyond the Microsoft suite remains a challenge. For instance, targeted collections within Teams will return search hits, but not any surrounding messages in a related conversation, so linked files are not logically connected to their corresponding messages. Also, each message archive is exported as an individual message in a PST format so it can be read only in Outlook. And PDF exports of Teams data are unavailable.


That said, Microsoft has a strong ecosystem of third-party tools like Pagefreezer to support Teams, which legal professionals can deploy with limited training as it is very intuitive. Pagefreezer has built-in searches that are incredibly powerful and require fewer clicks than a typical Purview exercise. Files can be reproduced in several formats including PDF and third-party tools can often integrate with collaboration tools outside of Microsoft for collections or investigations, such as Slack or Workplace from Meta.  In addition to being much faster, Pagefreezer also ensures that information being collected and reviewed is accessible in a dynamic and user-friendly dashboard that helps organizations understand the context and intent of the files under consideration.


Ari Kaplan

With the increased use of AI, where is the balance between automation and human talent?


Peter Callaghan

We see AI becoming instrumental in the discovery and early case assessment process, and believe legal professionals will be the quarterbacks behind the use of AI. Legal professionals will be tasked with defining the direction, strategy, and goals behind the use of AI tools. We also believe that AI will assist legal professionals with locating key records from petabytes of data and we see legal professionals becoming prompting experts in this new world. As AI continues to evolve, there is an opportunity for it to help with case strategy and pulling archives of specific historical case rulings to help influence the direction of an argument.


Ari Kaplan

How do you see e-discovery evolving?


Peter Callaghan

We are in the midst of an evolution of terms in terms of AI, and the introduction of automation to a major portion of the discovery process. Large-scale e-discovery technologies are already integrating with OpenAI or are building their own propriety use of artificial intelligence within their platforms. We see AI offering legal professionals the ability to reduce the amount of human effort needed to review and prepare for legal action.


Some law firms are already creating their own in-house AI tools, which can improve aspects of their legal work while maintaining client confidentiality. AI continues to help legal professionals comb through vast amounts of data more efficiently and we envision less pressure on teams as these technological shifts will lead to fewer record capture requests. At Pagefreezer, we are routinely evaluating AI and what it can bring to our customers. Based on their feedback, we see a solid role for it in all our solutions.

 

About the Author

Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspectives, highlight transformative change, and introduce new technology at Reinventing Professionals.


Listen to his conversation with Peter Callaghan here:



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