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Slack app on an iPhone. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

First, paper discovery gradually morphed into e-discovery. For the last 15 years, 95% of e-discovery is email and attachments and, more recently, text messages. For years, business litigators have had to deal with the evidence abyss of email at the server and mailbox level, and challenges associated with run-amok email mailboxes and forever retention policies. While litigators are still struggling to tame the endless volume of email discovery, businesses have a new method of communicating and getting work done. This new technology represents a sea change for the way litigators frame and conduct discovery.

It is imperative that litigators understand a new technology that is employed by millions of business users, namely, workplace collaboration tools. Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangout are all examples of this technology. Commercial litigators that reckon with and understand how workplace collaboration tools work will know where the evidence lives, while the uninformed search for emails that do not exist.

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