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Executive Order Creates Technology/eDiscovery Vendor Opportunity with Florida Unemployment Office

April 03, 2020

By: Drew Sorrell

With 9.9 million Americans filing for unemployment in the past two weeks, on Thursday, April 2, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-93. The order directs that all Florida agency heads work in consultation with the Florida Department of Management Services to identify personnel in each of the agencies to provide assistance to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the state’s unemployment office, to process applications for reemployment assistance. While this is a bad sign of things to come, it does perhaps give rise to a business opportunity. 

Among other things, the order directed DEO to “pursue…new or alternative forms and methods for receiving applications, including paper applications….” Notably, the order directs DEO immediately to procure additional capacity via software and technology to process application. The order also directed DEO to pursue a relationship with a third-party company to assist in the collection and delivery of paper applications to DEO.    

In light of the likely volume of claims, a high-speed scanning and data capture company could surely fit the bill. While not purpose-made to achieve the stated goal, given the increase in capability and capacity for optical character recognition—including handwriting—this may be an opportunity. Likewise, a company with high-speed scanning and data-processing capabilities, not necessarily related to eDiscovery, would seem to be a fit. Further, the order provides that the directive to purchase new technology is an emergency, so it is likely to side-step many of the normal government procurement processes.

Notably, the maximum benefit for unemployment payment in Florida is $275 per week, for a maximum of 12 weeks and a maximum benefit amount of $3,300. Under new federal legislation, this benefit may increase by up to $600 per week for up to 4 months.

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Drew Sorrell is a seasoned business lawyer with particular expertise in technology, cybersecurity and privacy issues. With an MBA in marketing and finance, he approaches clients’ legal issues with both a practical business bent and a self-described geeky love of technology.

Drew enjoys working with CLO’s, CIO’s, CTO’s and technology owners at businesses of all sizes in every phase of their legal needs. He assists them on the front end, drafting and negotiating software licenses, Internet service provider agreements, data privacy/breach policies and procedures, and employment/services agreements as well as the indemnity and insurance coverage related to those agreements. He advises clients on the GDPR and state-specific regulations, penetration testing and security audits. He also has years of experience handling matters when things go wrong, including data breaches, privacy issues and other technology or software problems.

A founding member of the Sedona Conference Group 11 (Privacy/Data Security), Drew is frequently asked to speak and write on legal and ethical issues arising from technology, including unfair and deceptive trade practices, data breach, privacy, data governance, and technology contract drafting. He is chair of the firm’s multi-disciplinary Data Governance Group as well as the past chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Intellectual Property, Business Law and Technology Committees. Drew is also the past president of the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Outside the technology arena, Drew has substantial expertise in both contracts and commercial litigation. In addition, he has experience assisting clients with government contracting. Drew began his legal career as a judicial clerk to Senior United States District Judge John H. Moore II, in Jacksonville, Florida, and then practiced with an AmLaw top 10 firm in Manhattan. After a stint as an assistant county attorney responsible for day-to-day legal advice and litigating civil issues for the county, Drew returned to Lowndes. Drew is admitted to practice in Florida, New York and the District of Columbia.

Born in Florida, Drew roots for his adopted football team—the FSU Seminoles (because neither Rollins nor George Washington has a football team). He is the proud father of two sons who wrestle and play the euphonium, make great grades and generally keep him on his toes.

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