GDPR Invites Collaboration, E-Discovery Panel Says

As reported on, analysts and attorneys specializing in e-discovery recently suggested the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may be worth embracing largely because it encourages collaboration among stakeholders and provides an opportunity to embed privacy into the discovery process.

That was the view of some panelists in a session titled “International e-Discovery and Data Protection,” held at Relativity Fest 2018, an annual event that focuses on issues in legal discovery.

“Eighteen months ago, there seemed to be a hostile attitude in the U.S. against the GDPR. … Now, people seem to accept that it’s a good thing, that privacy is a good thing,” said Karyn Harty, an Ireland-based partner at McCann FitzGerald.

According to the article, C-suites are embracing the GDPR. Said Harty: “Five to ten years ago, it would have been a data protection officer (DPO), if there was a DPO, and they would have had trouble getting the attention of the board.” But now, “the vast majority of our clients are really settling down into GDPR compliance.”

Panelist Heidi Stenberg, a principal with assurance services firm EY, said the GDPR has been a springboard for attorneys to collaborate more closely with the IT department.

“I think they have no other choice than to communicate effectively for this reason. It’s a higher stakes game now,” she said.

Stenberg also believes the new law has inspired technology developers to work with attorneys to develop innovative solutions for cloud storage.

“They’re looking through that lens and looking where to store that data … thinking about it from start to finish. I think perhaps that was missing previously,” she said at the session, according to

Panelist Johnny Lee, of Grant Thornton US, said the law is motivating attorneys to work more creatively with litigation support professionals and pursue together a key goal of e-discovery – “to shrink the haystack before you search for the needle.”