Back To Search

Thomas I. Barnett

Special Counsel, Chief, Data Science, Analysis & Investigation
T 1(213) 683-6123
F 1(213) 996-3123

Thomas Barnett is Special Counsel, Chief, Data Science, Analysis & Investigation at Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Mr. Barnett is a widely-recognized eDiscovery expert and experienced litigator. He assists global corporations, law firms, and governmental entities with process and technology development and improvement in eDiscovery, document review, and information governance programs. Mr. Barnett frequently serves as a consulting and testifying expert on all aspects of eDiscovery, information and data management, and regulatory compliance issues in large complex litigation and enforcement matters. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the areas of advanced data analytics, predictive coding, and technology-assisted review.

As an industry innovator and entrepreneur, Mr. Barnett has helped found and lead transformative companies in the eDiscovery industry, created and implemented new service and product offerings related to optimizing legal review, eDiscovery, regulatory response, and litigation preparedness; he led a multi-country R&D effort that designed and brought to market one of the industry’s first predictive coding legal review solutions. Mr. Barnett was the founding member and senior executive in charge of the eDiscovery division of the largest business process outsourcing company in Asia. This company was an innovator in the area of complex analytical and conceptual data processing as well as predictive and iterative document review technology. His academic white papers on data analytics and machine learning are cited numerous times throughout the landmark 2012 Rand study, Where the Money Goes: Understanding Litigant Expenditures for Producing Electronic Discovery.

Mr. Barnett served as Special Counsel in the litigation department of another global law firm where he founded, created, and led the firm’s Electronic Discovery & Compliance Department. In that capacity, he built the team, developed and documented best practices, and oversaw the firm’s first-of-its kind practice. He also served as a consulting expert on client matters involving electronic data in civil discovery, regulatory and criminal enforcement, and internal investigations.

Mr. Barnett led a 75-person global consulting team for a major storage and information management company that designed and implemented records and information management programs and policies for public and private companies and governmental entities. The group also managed complex international eDiscovery matters involving civil litigation, regulatory, and criminal enforcement actions.

Mr. Barnett was an original co-author and a member of the editorial board of the influential treatise, The Sedona Conference Principles on Electronic Document Production. He was an original member and continues to serve on the Board of Editors of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) Project; he previously served on the Advisory Board of the Georgetown University Law Center Advanced eDiscovery Institute and was a Co-chair of the E-Discovery Certification Committee, the BNA E-Discovery Expert Witness Directory Committee, and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution.

Mr. Barnett’s work creating and leading the Paul Hastings Data Science team led to the firm winning the Financial Times 2015 Innovative Lawyers of the Year Award for New Business Models. The work of the Paul Hastings Data Science team received the award for leading Technology Incubator (not limited to law firms) in 2015 from The Recorder. Mr. Barnett is also a 2006 recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement.

Representative Matters

Mr. Barnett has advised clients and served as an eDiscovery expert in some of the nation’s largest civil, regulatory, and criminal matters in the financial services, banking, energy, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, automobile manufacturing, and tobacco industries.

Representative private civil actions, civil regulatory, and criminal enforcement matters include: Enron-related litigation and regulatory actions; securities and financial services industry litigation and regulatory actions; environmental litigation; pharmaceutical litigation; California energy litigation; tobacco industry litigation and regulatory actions; telecommunications industry bankruptcy proceedings; large construction litigation; medical device manufacturer litigation; multi-national oil company litigation; and antitrust litigation and HSR second requests.
  • Chevron Corporation v. Donzinger: Served as expert for Chevron on the issues of eDiscovery burden and the effectiveness and economic efficiency of utilizing various forms of data analytics and technology assisted review including predictive coding. Provided testimony via two expert affidavits. In accordance with Chevron’s memoranda of law supported by Mr. Barnett’s expert testimony, the court ruled that the (opponent) law firm had “overstated the burden of compliance, in terms both of the cost and the required time and has avoided engaging with options that give strong promise of reducing that cost and burden.”
  • Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Administrator of the New Jersey Spill Compensation Fund v. Occidental Chemical Corporation, Tierra Solutions, Inc. (et al.): Chosen and served as the sole eDiscovery expert for all parties by committee representing 300 corporate and governmental entities with responsibility for coordinating and gaining consensus on establishing protocols for handling all electronically stored information for the matter. Protocol was made part of court order.
  • Kaufman, et al. v. Sungard Investment Systems Inc.: Served as testifying expert in federal action on adequacy of production of electronically stored information. Testimony led to turnover of producing party’s entire database to requesting party.
  • In Re Flat Glass Antitrust Litigation: Served as consulting expert advising corporate defendant in federal action on all aspects of handling electronically stored information including identification, preservation, and collection of data in compliance with relevant legal obligations.

Selected Treatises/Books

  • Electronic Disclosure in International Arbitration, co-author, Juris Publishing, 2008
  • Internet Law and Practice, co-author, West Group, 2002 
  • Sedona Conference: Best Practices, Recommendations & Principles for Addressing Electronic Document Production, co-author, 2003
  • Sedona Conference: Best Practices for Electronic Data Management, co-author, 2004
  • Best Practices for Electronic Discovery, 2006
  • Public Disclosure Act Deskbook, Electronic Documents chapter, author, Washington State Bar Association, 2005

Recent Articles/Training Programs/White Papers

  • Lawyers Face Displacement — Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Bloomberg BNA Big Law Business, March 24, 2016
  • Change is the Keyword, Law Technology News; Legaltech News, January 2016
  • Will Computer Learning Replace Lawyer Earning?, Bloomberg, December 2015
  • Away with Words: The Myths and Misnomers of Conventional Search Strategies and the Search for Meaning in eDiscovery, International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, DESI section, 2015
  • Searching for Meaning, Not Words in eDiscovery, Bloomberg, March 31, 2015
  • Predictive Coding: Turning Knowledge into Power: a strategic approach to negotiating the scope of discovery, International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, DESI section, 2013 (with Michael Sperling, PhD)
  • When Obligations Collide: Compliance and e-Discovery—a recipe for risk, Corporate Compliance Insights, June 2013
  • Six Principles for Conducting Valid Data Searches in the Age of Big Data, white paper, April 2013
  • In Search of Valid Data Searches, CIO Insight, January 2013
  • The High Price of Privacy: A Looming Mess for Litigators, Forbes, July 2012
  • Predictive Coding, a Modern Necessity, The Recorder, Special Litigation Section, August 2012
  • Privacy Laws Cause Discovery Woes, Corporate Counsel; The Recorder, June 2012
  • What Happens on Facebook Stays on Facebook, Law 360, June 2012
  • Melding Humans and Machines in E-Discovery, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, May 2012
  • Faster, Better, Cheaper Legal Document Review, Pipe Dream or Reality? Using statistical sampling, quality control and predictive coding to improve accuracy and efficiency, peer reviewed paper for presentation at the 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, June 2011 (with Svetlana Godjevac, PhD)
  • Machine Learning Classification for Document Review, peer reviewed paper for presentation at the 12th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, June 2009 
  • Electronic Discovery Best Practices for Law Firms, 2007

Recent Presentations

  • Away with words: the myths and misnomers of conventional search strategies, Data Science Symposium (keynote address), Tokyo, Japan, June 2016
  • Away with words: the myths and misnomers of conventional search strategies, various venues, New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA, August and September 2015
  • International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, Using Machine Learning and Other Advanced Techniques to Solve Legal Problems in eDiscovery and Information Governance, San Diego, CA, May 2015
  • LegalTech West, Beyond Predictive Coding: Incorporating New Technologies into Your E-Discovery Program, Los Angeles, CA, June 2014
  • The 17th Annual eDiscovery & Information Governance in Practice Forum, Managing Big Data, Dark Data, and Risk, co-panelist, New York, NY, December 2013
  • International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law 2013, position paper: Predictive Coding: Turning Knowledge into Power: a strategic approach to negotiating the scope of discovery (Barnett and Sperling); Rome, Italy, May 2013
  • Japan External Trade Organization, A new approach to e-Discovery and Information Governance, New York, NY, November 2013
  • International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, presenting research paper: Similar Document Detection and Electronic Discovery (Sperling, et al.) Rome, Italy, May 2013
  • New York Law Journal webinar, New Normal: Big Data and the Future of Litigation, April 2013
  • Predictive Coding and Beyond: the future of big data analytics, TAR and the speed of review, CLE at numerous AmLaw 100 law firms
  • ePocalypse Now: Social Media, the 24/7 Work Week and the Cloud. Are we Doomed to eDiscovery Disaster? iConnect Thought Leadership Webinar Series, July 2013
  • New York County Bar Association, The Ethics of E Discovery, Continuing Legal Education Program, New York, NY, October 2013
  • Cloud Security Alliance, E-Discovery and the Cloud, Current and Future State, Los Angeles, CA, November 2012
  • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting, The Flat World and The Future of Document Review, Orlando, FL, October 2012
  • New York State Society of Certified Public Accounts, Anti-Fraud Conference, What Every Forensic Accountant Needs to Know About E-Discovery, New York, NY, June 2012
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Conference, Innovative alternatives and strategies to increase productivity while reducing in-house legal costs. Best practices for litigation and compliance readiness, Los Angeles, CA, 2012

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Sedona Conference Working Group, Co-author, Steering Committee, Board of Editors
  • International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Advisory Board Member
  • Georgetown University Law Center Advanced eDiscovery Institute, Faculty Member, Advisory Board Member
  • E-Discovery Expert Witness Directory Committee, Advisory Board Member
  • Electronic Discovery Reference Model Project, Board of Editors, Advisory Board
  • American Records Management Association


  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Trial Advocacy Certification, 1999
  • Cornell Law School, J.D., Cornell Law Review, Board of Editors, 1993
  • University of Wisconsin, B.A., Honors program, Philosophy, 1984