FTI will soon announce the full results of our annual Advice from Counsel (AFC) study in partnership with legal technology expert Ari Kaplan. This will be the fifth year we have studied key challenges, habits and trends at Fortune 1000 corporate legal departments, and delved into discussions with these organization’s counsel and e-discovery experts to bring forth practical advice and insights to the industry.

During LegalTech, Sophie Ross, senior managing director of FTI’s Technology Practice western region, moderated a session providing a sneak peek into this year’s AFC findings. Sophie joined Ari, in addition to Marla Bergman, associate general counsel at Goldman Sachs and Anthony Knappen, manager of litigation discovery at Chevron to highlight some of the study’s key findings and insights.

Information governance was an overarching theme, pointing both to the importance of proactive planning and the difficulty organizations face in taking such plans into implementation. The panel agreed that teams within the legal and IT departments often feel overwhelmed by finding data and knowing where it resides. This shouldn’t be an impediment, however. The panel stressed that in order to appropriately delete and remove data, people must carve out the time to decide how to approach this problem, confront the policies and make hard decisions. The panel also discussed how IT often understands the cost and risk of retaining too much data, yet the process for removing it can often be limited by the corporation’s regulatory overlay.

More encouraging, however, is that the painful manual processes seem to be on the way out. Technology is emerging that can evaluate and maintain retention schedules on data, and IT groups no longer want to approach this growing issues with antiquated methods. To this point, Sophie gave the important reminder that such a huge task as implementing information governance strategies must be tackled in small steps, starting with the low hanging fruit.

The AFC results and the session confirm the fact that new retention strategies, the emergence of BYOD and social media, and the use of multi-matter repositories are all growing areas of focus for legal departments trying to proactively address information governance as part of their broader e-discovery strategy. All of the panelists agreed that budgeting and cost management is another huge challenge, as is determining how much crossover exists between information governance and e-discovery.