Ari Kaplan recently spoke with Chantelle Jalland, a London-based managing director for digital investigations and discovery with J.S. Held, a global consulting company.
They discussed how the approach to digital investigations and e-discovery has evolved over the past decade, the types of litigation matters in which alternative legal services are the most appropriate, and how generative AI will affect digital investigations and discovery.
Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your background and your role at J.S. Held.
Chantelle Jalland: I qualified as a solicitor in Australia and moved to the U.K. about 15 years ago. For the last 11½ years, I worked at Herbert Smith Freehills in its e-discovery department, serving teams in London, New York and Sydney, and helping them work more seamlessly and efficiently. I moved to J.S. Held in November 2023, and a big part of my role is to grow the digital investigations and discovery practice in EMEA by focusing on a wider range of matters with law firms and corporate legal departments.
Ari Kaplan: How has the approach to digital investigations and e-discovery evolved over the past decade?
Chantelle Jalland: It has changed significantly. Aside from eliminating most paper files in e-discovery, it is much easier to persuade lawyers to use technology-assisted review as a standard practice. They are more aware of litigation support practices and recognize the value of these tools. The question has changed from whether to use them to which tools to deploy, so our advice is
becoming more complex as we concentrate on the process and aligning the technology to optimize it.
Ari Kaplan: How do the differences in the litigation processes between the U.K. and the U.S., among other jurisdictions, affect the e-discovery approach in each region?
Chantelle Jalland is a London-based managing director for digital investigations and discovery with J.S. Held, a global consulting company.
Chantelle Jalland: I think that the processes between Australia and the U.S. are much more distinct than those between the U.K. and the U.S., which have several similarities. Of course, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the U.S. differ from the Civil Procedure Rules in the U.K., but fundamentally, people want to cooperate. A decade ago, there were more tactics in the U.K. associated with disclosure, but today, the parties recognize the value of collaboration and cooperation. When it comes to production, the focus is on risk reduction, a shared concern in the U.S. and the U.K. In Australia, however, they apply bizarre methods in disclosure exercises by converting all ingested data to PDF versions, which materially increases the total volume of data, which can be quite wasteful and leads to concerns about sustainability. Data storage costs money, and legal teams should minimize the set to what they need to reduce risk and expense. There is a shift in Australia, which is issuing production protocols that are more consistent with the processes in the U.K. and the U.S.
Ari Kaplan: For what types of litigation matters are alternative legal services the appropriate solution?
Chantelle Jalland: I cannot think of any matter where you should not consider the use of alternative legal services. They can save so much time and money that they can be a transformative option in litigation of any size.
Ari Kaplan: Have client expectations of legal technology deployment changed?
Chantelle Jalland: Yes, particularly since most clients are technologically savvy and are very familiar with many of the tools available to them. They are also demanding more value for their money and are thinking much more about the pathway to an outcome, rather than the number of billable hours required to obtain a given result. We need to approach litigation more efficiently and adjust our strategies to meet or exceed heightened client expectations. If you can provide answers more quickly and cheaply, or more effectively and efficiently than a peer, you will obtain a competitive advantage. It is, therefore, imperative to develop creative ways to deliver complex services, and technology is central to that paradigm because skilled teams can distinguish which technology to apply to what problems.
Ari Kaplan: How do you see generative AI affecting digital investigations and discovery?
Chantelle Jalland: Generative AI will affect both the e-discovery process itself through integrations within all of the common platforms and by changing the way lawyers address litigation. It is already part of or being integrated into a number of the leading document review platforms, so over the next year, we will see more experimentation and deployment. As it becomes more mainstream, we will see less reluctance to deploy it in a broad range of cases. Everyone seems to be using it in some form, and most people recognize common limitations, so we need not persuade teams to test it. It will become another tool but not a replacement for talented practitioners. As more tools help summarize case judgments and documents, it will free professionals to work on the more interesting aspects of their matters, rather than time-consuming tasks for which AI is better suited. Instead, they will leverage verified AI-generated summaries and concentrate on creative strategy and dynamic advocacy.
Listen to the complete interview at Reinventing Professionals.
Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change and introduce new technology at his blog and on iTunes.
This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.