Navigating eDiscovery in the Chat and Collaboration Era

Written by Jeanne Somma 

In today’s digital age, the importance of having an eDiscovery solution for chat and collaborative data cannot be overstated. As highlighted by LocaliQ’s 2024 statistics, each Internet Minute is a whirlwind of digital activity, with millions of interactions taking place across various platforms. This incessant flow of data underscores the burgeoning challenges faced by legal and compliance teams in managing, searching, and analyzing the vast expanses of digital communications. 

The Digital Deluge: A Snapshot 

Imagine the digital universe as an ever-expanding galaxy of information. In just sixty seconds, this universe witnesses millions of messages exchanged, thousands of videos uploaded, and countless bytes of data created across social media, search engines, and communication apps. According to the Internet Minute, every 60 seconds there are: 

  • 16.2 million text messages 
  • 231 million emails 
  • 6.3 million Google searches 
  • 174,000 apps downloaded 

The scale of data generated is staggering, presenting a complex maze for eDiscovery professionals to navigate. 

The increase in chat and collaborative platforms poses significant challenges for legal data reviewers.

The eDiscovery Imperative for Chat and Collaborative Data 

The explosion of digital communication platforms has transformed the way we interact, collaborate, and conduct business. From instant messaging apps (e.g. iMessage, WhatsApp, WeChat) to comprehensive collaborative suites (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Google Drive), these tools have become the backbone of modern communication, carrying significant implications for legal discovery processes. The nuanced, informal nature of chat and collaborative data presents unique challenges for eDiscovery, requiring specialized solutions capable of understanding and processing such data efficiently. 

Why Standard eDiscovery Tools Fall Short 

Traditional eDiscovery solutions, designed for emails and documents, struggle to cope with the dynamic and fragmented nature of chat data. Conversations sprawled across threads, embedded files, and the transient nature of certain communications necessitate advanced eDiscovery technologies. These technologies must not only capture the essence of conversations but also maintain the integrity of metadata, ensuring legal admissibility and relevance. 

The Advantages of Chat-Specific eDiscovery Solutions 

Comprehensive Data Capture: Advanced eDiscovery solutions for chat and collaborative platforms are adept at capturing a wide array of data types, from text and emojis to shared files and links, ensuring no piece of relevant information is overlooked.

Context Preservation: They excel at maintaining the context of conversations, crucial for understanding the nuances and implications of digital communications. This involves reconstructing threaded conversations and preserving the chronological flow of discussions.

Efficient Data Processing: With the ability to handle massive volumes of data, these solutions streamline the review process, applying sophisticated algorithms to identify, categorize, and tag relevant information swiftly.

Enhanced Search Capabilities: Leveraging AI and machine learning, chat-specific eDiscovery tools offer powerful search functionalities, enabling legal teams to pinpoint relevant data with precision and speed.

Legal Compliance and Risk Mitigation: They ensure that data handling and processing meet the stringent standards of legal compliance, reducing the risk of data breaches and ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive information. 

Real-World Impact 

The application of chat-specific eDiscovery solutions has had a profound impact on legal proceedings and compliance investigations. By significantly reducing the time and resources required to sift through mountains of digital communications, these tools have enabled legal teams to focus on strategic analysis and case preparation.

Courts are ruling that chat data is mandatory in productions taking for example Benebone v. Pet Qwerks, et al.: where the Court granted the defendants’ motion to compel production of Slack data, finding that, “Requiring review and production of Slack messages by Benebone is generally comparable to requiring search and production of emails and is not unduly burdensome or disproportional to the needs of this case – if the requests and searches are appropriately limited and focused.” 

Looking Ahead: The Future of eDiscovery in the Digital Era 

As digital communication continues to evolve, so will the challenges and complexities of eDiscovery. The future will likely see the emergence of even more sophisticated eDiscovery solutions, equipped with enhanced AI capabilities, deeper integrations with communication platforms, and advanced privacy protection features. These developments will not only augment the efficiency and effectiveness of legal discovery but also shape the legal landscape in the years to come. 


The imperative for chat and collaborative data eDiscovery solutions is clear. In an era defined by digital communication, the ability to navigate, analyze, and manage this deluge of data is crucial for legal success. As technology continues to advance, embracing these specialized eDiscovery solutions will be key for legal professionals aiming to stay ahead in the fast-paced digital world. The insights provided by LocaliQ’s statistics not only illuminate the scale of online activity but also serve as a compelling reminder of the digital challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. For more information on this new approach to eDiscovery, read our full whitepaper “Equipping eDiscovery for Data Disruption”

About the Author 

Jeanne Somma is the Chief Client Officer and General Counsel at Lineal. She has over a decade of experience in the legal industry, with strong expertise in eDiscovery, analytics application, and consultation regarding defensible uses of technology in document review and production.  

Jeanne is a licensed attorney and has studied law both in the US; receiving her LLM in International Business and Trade from Fordham University School of Law and her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law; as well as abroad at both the University of Sydney Law School and the University of Nairobi School of Law. She is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.  

Jeanne writes and speaks frequently on topics such as best practices for incorporating analytics into discovery workflows, developments in the laws around data privacy and cross-border discovery, and strategies for reducing cost and improving efficiency in discovery.  

About Lineal 

Lineal is an innovative eDiscovery and legal technology solutions company that empowers law firms and corporations with modern data management and review strategies. Established in 2009, Lineal specializes in comprehensive eDiscovery services, leveraging its proprietary technology suite, Amplify, to enhance efficiency and accuracy in handling large volumes of electronic data. With a global presence and a team of experienced professionals, Lineal is dedicated to delivering custom-tailored solutions that drive optimal legal outcomes for its clients. For more information, visit