eDiscovery Daily Blog

Ten Years Later, The Impact of the Zubulake Case is Still Huge: eDiscovery History

It’s hard to believe, but ten years ago this past Monday, the verdict was rendered in the Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC case. Let’s take a look back at the case and see what Laura Zubulake is doing today.

The Zubulake case is certainly still the most famous case from an eDiscovery standpoint – if you work in this industry, you’re probably already fully aware of the key decisions issued by Southern District of New York Judge Shira Sheindlin and their huge impact on discovery of electronic data. If you’re not fully aware, you should be. Three years ago, we took a look back at the case and its landmark decisions here.

Today, the eDiscovery industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and still growing at a double-digit rate per year, according to estimates. Part of that is due to the explosion of big data, but obligations for managing discovery of that data was, in part, shaped by the Zubulake opinions. A recent blog post by Robert Half Legal lists “eDiscovery professional” as a legal career that didn’t even exist ten years ago. That seems to be more than a coincidence.

In 2012, Laura published a book titled Zubulake’s e-Discovery: The Untold Story of my Quest for Justice, previously discussed on this blog here, here and here. The book provides the “backstory” that goes beyond the precedent-setting opinions of the case, detailing her experiences through the events leading up to the case, as well as over three years of litigation. Our colleague, Jane Gennarelli, also collaborated with Laura on a nine part case study regarding the Zubulake case that we covered on our blog in 2013 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

So, where is Laura Zubulake today?

Today, Laura is a licensed salesperson with Sotheby’s International Realty in their Southampton, NY office.

Looking back on the case, Laura remembers April 6, 2005, the date of the jury verdict, as a day of personal vindication and justice. “Never did I imagine that the Zubulake opinions would be relevant ten years later”, she said. “I never envisioned the opinions transforming the practice of law, influencing amendments to the FRCP, and becoming the subject of law school lectures. And, never did I dream that my case would provide the foundation for a multi-billion dollar e-discovery industry that created thousands of jobs and also provided the foundation for Information Governance”.

While real estate has become Laura’s “day job” she still keeps up with and speaks about developments and trends in eDiscovery and Information Governance. “I can especially relate to current debates about servers, email retention policies, email preservation practices, and whether deleted emails can be restored or not”, she said. “And, lately, I’ve been following the breaking news about the email practices of politicians at the highest level and allegations of gender discrimination in Silicon Valley with particular interest.”

Overall, Laura is satisfied that her quest for fairness and efforts to right a perceived wrong made a difference, even ten years later.

So, what do you think? What do you think the impact of the Zubulake case has been for you? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.