On a snowy January afternoon, Honors Alum Ashish Prasad (AB 1989, Social Theory) returned to present at a Lunch with Honors, sharing his work in electronic discovery in legal practice.
For the past twenty years, the volume of computer data has caused an “electronic explosion.” Rather than hiring expensive law firms to research and provide admissible evidence required by “motions to compel,” firms such as Prasad’s eTERA Consulting provide document review and investigation. Now a $4 billion-a-year industry, with relative growth at 15% annually, Prasad had advice for his Lunch with Honors audience. “Don’t be afraid to pursue the legal profession,” he said, “but know the trends, be smart and have a plan.”
Currently, Prasad is on top of the trend, as Vice President and General Counsel of eTERA Consulting, an electronic discovery, document review and technology consulting company headquartered in Washington, D.C. and with capabilities throughout the United States.
Ashish is widely regarded as among the leading experts on discovery in the United States. He has served, among other things, as Litigation Partner, Founder and Chair of the Mayer Brown LLP Electronic Discovery and Records Management Practice, Founder and CEO of Discovery Services LLC, Executive Editor of The Sedona Principles: Best Practices Recommendations & Principles for Addressing Electronic Document Production (2004), Co-Editor in Chief of the Practicing Law Institute treatise Electronic Discovery Deskbook: Law and Practice (2009), and Adjunct Professor of Law at Northwestern University Law School.
In addition to having extensive experience in managing all aspects of discovery in litigation and investigations, and developing policies and procedures for electronic discovery, records management and legacy data management for corporations and law firms, Ashish has defended discovery compliance procedures before numerous courts and regulators. Over the past decade, Ashish has authored over two dozen articles, and given over 100 legal education seminars, on topics of electronic discovery before judges, practicing lawyers and industry groups in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“Technology disrupted how litigation is happening. An individual lawyer today has to be on top of things, managing the data, staying current,” says Prasad. The future is unknown; is it possible to teach computers what contract lawyers do, for example? Post-secondary education, he proposes, is a time to prepare one’s path through the study of economics, business, finance, and technology.
Ashish is active in a wide variety of charitable organizations related to children’s health and education, including serving as a Board Member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago, and Pratham USA. Ashish graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a Member of the Law Review, and the LSA Honors Program. Prasad graduated with High Distinction and High Honors in Social Theory; he says he still recalls his undergraduate thesis work “like it was yesterday.”
The thesis project was, he reflects, his “first deep exposure to high level and heavy research, powerful and impactful” that would follow him for decades. When asked what is on his bucket list, Prasad quickly replied, “Giving back, in a modest way, to this institution that has a special place in my heart.”