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AccessData on Being Discovery Ready

Tim Leehealey from AccessData, a sponsor company at the marcus evans European Corporate Counsel Summit 2011, on preparing for European and US discovery requests. 

Interview with: Tim Leehealey, Chief Executive Officer, AccessData


“Discovery has become a weapon in many cases,” says Tim Leehealey, Chief Executive Officer, AccessData. “It is no longer a tool for finding facts, but a tool that counsel use against the opposing party.” Organisations cannot store all their documents, yet they must be ready to produce any data that is requested of them.

In an interview, Tim Leehealey, Chief Executive Officer of AccessData, discusses how European corporate counsel could prepare for European as well as US discovery requests, and how best to implement e-discovery solutions. AccessData is a sponsor of the marcus evans European Corporate Counsel Summit 2011, being held in Montreux, Switzerland 9 - 11 October.

US courts are more discovery inclined than European courts. How does this impact European counsel?

Tim Leehealey: Many companies in Europe have US subsidiaries or branches; therefore they have to be able to deal with discovery in a meaningful way.

This is challenging for European counsel, as they have to weigh this against the counter-laws in their own territory. Germany and France, for example, have privacy and workers’ rights laws that act counter to US laws to some degree. Counsel often find themselves in uncharted territory.

How could they prepare for this?

Tim Leehealey: Unfortunately, it is not a question of knowing everything. Counsel can be well versed in European privacy and American discovery laws, but it is the judge’s decision that rules the day.

The ground underneath counsel is constantly moving. Laws are not well written. All issues have not been explored. There is still a lot of interpretation that needs to be done. Counsel should be ready to perform discovery in a thorough manner, then allow these dynamics to play out. Discovery may end up irrelevant, but being unable to produce the data can result in a negative judgement.

It is not a matter of being prepared for the law, but for the individual trial.

What is the most challenging aspect of performing e-discovery?

Tim Leehealey: The most problematic dynamic of discovery is the misinformation involved. Many organisations are unaware that there are companies like AccessData that make software that will perform e-discovery tasks much faster and more consistently, and as a result they are paying their service providers much more than they should.

If I were to give one recommendation, I would advise organisations to run a proof of concept on e-discovery software before purchase. Some record retention products on the market are sold as discovery solutions, which are nowhere near as comprehensive as what counsel require.

Finding out that the software does not have the necessary technical capabilities in the middle of the case is not the right time.

Another very common challenge is actually organizational in nature. Most companies have very poor communication between corporate counsel and IT staff. The two groups look at data differently, understand e-discovery differently, and communicate differently, but in the end, they really need to work well together to be successful on a discovery matter. Bridging the gap between these two organizations should be a key focus of any e-discovery initiative. Both the software and procedures used by these two groups can accomplish this. If you can bridge that gap, you will be much better off.
Any final thoughts?

Tim Leehealey: Discovery has become a weapon that parties use against each other. To truly be ready counsel need to set up an end-to-end system that not only allows them to get to data wherever it may exist, but allows them to easily process and review that data.

Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian
Press Manager
marcus evans, Summits Division
Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the European Corporate Counsel Summit 2011

This unique forum will take place at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, Montreux, Switzerland, 9 – 11 October 2011. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on minimising the pensions’ deficit, adopting optimal asset allocation strategies, and exploring new investment horizons.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at 

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Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About AccessData

AccessData has pioneered digital investigations and litigation support for 20+ years and is the only company to have developed technology that spans the EDRM. “AD eDiscovery” addresses everything from litigation hold to early case assessment to generating load files. AccessData’s AD Summation legal review platform is the gold standard, having received 45+ awards since 1997. AccessData also offers premier litigation support services.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

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