For the past 3 months, some of the most advanced thinking I have heard in the industry has centered around how data security and governance impacts our responsibilities in the legal and eDiscovery field. ILTA 2014 reinforced my thinking that the future of eDiscovery is dynamically intertwined with privacy, security and governance. The most engaging conversations I heard in Nashville did not concern eDiscovery alone, but rather was framed very closely with privacy, security concerns under a governance umbrella. I believe that this mashup will only continue to become more critical to law firms and service providers, and over the next 12 months eDiscovery and legal will become increasingly aligned with privacy, security and governance to the betterment of all.

This is already happening at an increasing rate with the achieving corporate leaders I speak with.

This momentum is being driven primarily by an accelerating corporate awareness around cyber security, information security and potential data breaches. This concern over risk to the business is becoming a forceful catalyst that is bonding and propelling privacy, governance, and discovery into a powerful change agent. This convergence is changing the way that companies and law firms are prioritizing projects and it is becoming a highly influential factor in the allocation of funding and resources.

I would go as far as to say that data security and risk concerns now trump cost-based decisions more often than not.

This change is significantly reshaping the way discovery is considered and how eDiscovery products and services are consumed and purchased. This new framework will also have a very real impact on the type of skills, competencies, and experiences that firms will look for when filling their executive leadership roles over the next 5 years.

We are already beginning to see the early winners and losers of this shifting market landscape especially with the continued flight of top law firms and corporations to various managed discovery solutions and the evolution of hybrid information governance-discovery roles at both corporations and law firms.

So what does this mean for your career? It means that the demand for talent that understands the interdependence of privacy–security–governance and discovery will be on the rise. And by talent—I’m considering both legalists and technologists in the corporate, law firm and vendor space.

There’s very little experiential knowledge in this new, evolving category. There are very few people who even know where to start the conversation, and those experts all agree that we need more experienced, professionally intelligent boots on the ground. This lack of experiential knowledge and call for an educated market is very similar to 2004 when we saw the explosion and skyrocket of eDiscovery.

This new career category is about executive leadership, change management, and the ability to figure out a new and evolving market landscape. Those that will succeed in this shifting landscape will have the ability to successfully read and respond the signs coming from the boards. The resounding message is that today’s boards are consumed with concern over their exposure to and risk for data breach and the resulting reputational damage. How will today’s leaders and tomorrow’s executive leadership respond to that concern?

The keys to success will be nearly identical to those of 2004 when the demand for eDiscovery talent exploded onto the career landscape. Those who possess and display the key attributes of business savvy, professional intellect, intellectual curiosity, political IQ and social IQ that we outlined in our Talent Assessment Guide will be the most likely to make the pivot and succeed. Successful professionals will be those who know how to learn from other industries, and apply that learning to legal, advocate for a vision for their organization and follow through on the execution of the details.

To discuss how this will impact your career and help you obtain the building blocks for success, The Cowen Group will be launching a Fall Executive Dinner Series focused on this topic of the convergence of privacy, security, governance, and discovery. In an effort to elevate and accelerate the critical executive thinking around this topic, we will provide an exclusive venue for these important peer-to-peer to discussions to take place. For an invite to our executive dinner series, please drop me a line at

2014 Q3 Executive Dinner Series

Monday, September 15
Palo Alto
Wednesday, September 17th
Los Angeles

2014 Q4 Executive Dinner Series

Tuesday, October 7
New York City
Wednesday, October 22
Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, November 4
Tuesday, November 11
San Francisco

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