Guest Blog – An Interview with William Wang of the AABANY

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Planet Data is proud to announce that we are the exclusive eDiscovery vendor partner of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) for 2015!

We recently had the chance to sit down with the organization’s President, William Wang at their Annual Dinner. William shared his thoughts on the AABANY, recent eDiscovery trends and new challenges the legal industry faces today.

PD: Congratulations! We understand your term as President of the AABANY began April 1, 2015. What goals do you have for its members?

WW: I am very excited to take on the challenge of being AABANY President in 2015-2016. AABANY has grown tremendously in the past few years and I follow the footsteps of many great past AABANY presidents. Our membership recently eclipsed 1,100 in our last fiscal year. In terms of goals, I will focus on increasing member engagement. While our membership has grown, I would like our new members to get involved with our committees, which are the backbone of our organization. With a diverse and engaged membership, we can continue to thrive as one of NYC’s specialty bar associations. We have big plans for our Fall Conference in 2015, which will be hosted by Cleary Gottlieb, and some special community events planned as well. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but this will be a very exciting and cutting edge year.

PD: A recent survey reported that law firms are seeing an increase in total case load over last year and that those cases are much larger than ever before. How does this affect the eDiscovery process from your point of view?

WW: I think the growth in the size of cases just makes an efficient e-discovery process that much more important. I’ve worked on enormous-sized cases where discovery takes several years because of the terabytes of data exchanged. If the process is run efficiently and appropriately, things can move at a much more palatable pace.

PD: Do you feel the upcoming FRCP rule changes will have any effect on discovery and litigation moving forward?

WW: Yes. I believe the new FRCP rule changes will focus on speeding discovery up, making sure e-discovery is proportionate to the needs of each case, and ensuring compliance with maintaining ESI. Hopefully, the process will be improved, with discovery being narrowly tailored enough to allow cases to proceed and not so broad as to bury matters in litigation for years and years. I do believe the FRCP is being modernized to reflect the unmistakable influence of ESI and eDiscovery in modern litigation.

PD: What are the common challenges you face when dealing with international cases with regard to privacy, language or data?

WW: (I don’t deal in international cases very often). The challenges I face are usually language and when clients come from foreign countries and their rules with respect to civil litigation are different. Translations can also be challenging, when you are dealing with handwritten notes scanned into PDFs. The collection of data is tricky of course, in foreign language, because you are really limited in what you can do with respect to search terms.

PD: Do you feel law schools are generally preparing future attorneys for the technological life they might eventually lead at a law firm?

WW: No, I think law students are not exposed enough to e-discovery. I think a class covering this topic as part of a basic litigation skills course would be great and needed.

PD: Please offer a few words of advice to tomorrows litigation attorney.

WW: Think strategically. You may be bogged down in a document review and you may be drafting basic responses to discovery requests, but always think about the big picture. The documents and data play a major role in strengthening or weakening your case through discovery. If you case is strengthened, your client gains leverage in settlement negotiations and of course at the summary judgment stage. Think big picture, and think about how certain search terms can accurately and efficiently net you the correct documents without getting you terabytes of useless data. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Think about the right custodians and search terms before delving deep into discovery. Go broad to capture what you need, but tailor requests narrowly in order to not be inundated with data. Good Luck.

PD: How much snow did you get while at Binghamton and was it more or less than we’ve had in New York City this year?

WW: It snows in Binghamton until May. People escape from hibernation around Memorial Day. It snowed on the first day of Spring in NYC!

PD: What was the first concert you ever went to?

WW: I didn’t go to a lot of concerts when I was young. I was more into sports than music. My first concert was in college. I drove with friends to Ithaca and Cornell University to attend A Tribe Called Quest concert.


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