Norton Rose Fulbright recently released the results of their 9th annual litigation trends survey.  The Fulbright survey reflects information collected from 392 in-house attorneys; including 82% identifying themselves as general counsel and 14% as head of litigation. Additionally, the companies responding to the survey represent virtually all industries, include entities of all sizes, and are almost evenly split between public and private.

Notably, the survey addressed several key areas of workplace privacy.  Specifically:

  • Privacy & Data Protection: Nearly one-third of all respondents encountered issues involving privacy and/or data protection in disputes or investigations in the past 12 months. Issues arose most frequently in the context of collecting data from company equipment and from employees’ personal equipment. Companies were also concerned about the use of third-party vendors to collect and process data.
  • Cloud Computing: One-third of responding companies utilized the cloud. Of those companies, a third have had to preserve or collect data from the cloud in connection with actual or threatened disputes or investigations.
  • Employees & Social Media: About one-fifth of all companies responding had to preserve or collect data from an employee’s personal social media account in connection with a dispute or investigation. But only 9% of U.S. companies reported having to actually produce, as part of discovery, information stored on social media.
  • Mobile Data: 41% of U.S. companies have had to preserve or collect data from an employee’s mobile device for a dispute.

We have previously addressed each of the issues above, and highlighted many of them in our Top 14 for 2014.  We can expect as technology continues to grow and advance that its reach will continue to extend into the litigation arena, and companies will need to be proactive in addressing these issues.