Discovery Practice Note issued in Australia

January 30, 2009

The Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia yesterday gave effect to the long-awaited Practice Note No 17 – The use of technology in the management of discovery and the conduct of litigation.

Those of us involved in drafting the proposed new Technology Questionnaire and draft Practice Direction in the UK have been keen to keep up with parallel initiatives in the Common Law jurisdictions. and particularly Australia and Canada.

The timing of its final release is good and bad from my point of view – good in that I am due to speak on a panel at LegalTech in New York next week about international initiatives in electronic discovery, and bad in that I have enough to do to be ready for tomorrow’s flight without exciting new developments to read up.

Fortunately, one of my co-speakers on that panel is Jo Sherman who was heavily involved in the drafting of the Practice Note, so I can leave it to her to cover it. I will read it on the plane and cover it in more detail shortly.

My thanks to Geoffrey Lambert of KordaMentha in Melbourne and to Seamus Byrne who each sent me a link to the Practice Note within hours of its promulgation.


Legal Technology Awards 2009

January 30, 2009

I went to the Legal Technology Awards last night at the kind invitation of Nigel Murray of Trilantic. Nigel disappointingly, turned up in black tie and not the lycra cycling gear which we had hoped to see (read Murray to cycle across the Channel if you find this reference obscure).

Trilantic emerged as Highly Commended in the category Electronic Disclosure Support / Service Provider of the year in this, its third year of being short-listed. The category winners were Merrill Legal Solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to Equivio as new Project sponsor

January 27, 2009

I am delighted to welcome Equivio as a new sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. As I wrote in November (see New integration and new web site for Equivio) I met CEO Amir Milo at the Masters Conference in Washington. Equivio’s name was already a familiar one, but that meeting and a subsequent read-through of Equivio’s web site emphasised why Equivio is subliminally omnipresent in the data management world.

If, as I do, you spend your time explaining to lawyers, judges and corporates why technology must be used to reduce vast volumes of data and documents to manageable proportions, you learn three basic propositions – rely on illuminating snapshots not lengthy explanations, focus on the things which equate directly to the user’s own functions, and emphasise the benefits of using technology and not just the risks of not doing so. Equivio’s web site does just that, crisply and clearly. Read the rest of this entry »

OutIndex releases E-Discovery engine

January 27, 2009

OutIndex, the electronic discovery software company has added another string to its bow with the release of three Microsoft .NET components to allow others to build their own e-discovery applications.

Between them, the three components provide the tools for extracting metadata, searching data and printing electronic documents and e-mail messages to .TIFF or .PDF. These are the same primary components as those which OutIndex uses in its main processing system. OutIndex’s increasingly informative web site includes a page on its E-Discovery Engine as well as the rest of its widely-scaled product range, from its flagship application OutIndex E-Discovery down to its desk-top application eDiscoveryXpress for in-house processing. Read the rest of this entry »

Jackson sets out some litigation costs issues

January 26, 2009

A thoughtful article by Simon Davis and Simon James of Clifford Chance has appeared on the Lexology site. A purist might quibble about its title – Jackson’s dilemma – or how to cut the cost of litigation – on the grounds that Lord Justice Jackson faces nothing so simple as a choice between one alternative and another, as the article itself makes clear.

It touches on several of the factors which Jackson will want to cover. On the pure costs side, the “loser pays” principle, costs-shifting, contingency fees and CFAs, and champerty (or “trafficking in litigation” as the article puts it)  will have to be considered. Read the rest of this entry »

Plenty to write about but no time to write

January 26, 2009

I had a patch recently when I had no time to write for a few days. Someone sent me a message, not exactly complaining, but making it clear that my apparent dereliction of duty had been noticed. It is not in fact a duty, or does not feel like one, and there is no shortage of things to write about. There is plenty else going on as well, however, and I cannot simultaneously do things and write about them.

Besides, the subject-matter of the article which sat at the top of the blog for a few days warranted the extra exposure before the next one took its place. It is called Fannie Mae – be careful what you agree to with e-discovery orders and concerned the lawyer in the US Fannie Mae litigation who agreed on behalf of his clients to discovery obligations which cost them $6 million (9% of their turnover). His clients were not even a party to the litigation. The outcome ought to suggest to any lawyer involved in disclosure applications that it might be helpful to scope a project before committing your clients to it. It is a suggestion as useful in the Birmingham Mercantile Court as in Washington D.C. Read the rest of this entry »

Murray to cycle across the Channel

January 23, 2009

We have certain expectations of people based on what we have seen or heard of them in the past. Mention a name and you can picture a context. Take Nigel Murray of Trilantic, for example. What comes to mind? Sitting expansively in a bar with a beer in hand, going outside every so often for a cigarette. That is what he was doing when I saw him last night, anyway, much as he has done for the 15 years or so that I have known him. I did once see him run, but that was across a pavement to a cab in the rain, so barely counts as an exception to the general rule.

Seeing someone out of context is a shock to the system, like finding whisky in your teacup or seeing a judge in a lap-dancing club – possible but unlikely, you would think. How about Nigel Murray cycling 350 miles across Northern France over five days in May?  Sounds barely credible somehow. Read the rest of this entry »

Autonomy to buy Interwoven

January 23, 2009

I am not much into instant journalism, but it is nevertheless good to be able to report on the big stories as they happen. Just my luck, then, to be stuck on a train with a day full of back-to-back meetings ahead of me when my InBox started filling up with messages about Autonomy’s agreement to acquire Interwoven.

Both are sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project, and both are big players in the legal information world for reasons well beyond their respective interests in litigation discovery – Autonomy owns the review platform Introspect and Interwoven acquired Discovery Mining last year – but much of the combined 20,000 user base involves wider information management, not least in law firms – Interwoven alone has 1,200 large law firm customers. Read the rest of this entry »

LegalTech event updates

January 16, 2009

I have updated my list of LegalTech events which involve a UK supplier, a UK speaker or are otherwise of interest.

I see that I am now down to speak on four panels on Tuesday, one for LDSI, two for Autonomy and one for Trilantic.

More will follow as session organisers update their session information.


Taking a short cut to Manhattan

January 16, 2009

This morning’s newspaper has dramatic photographs of the ditched US Airways plane floating in the Hudson River in New York – just what you want to see a few days before you set off for New York by air.

The plane hit the water just by 47th Street, the very street where my hotel is booked. One would not wish a plane crash on anyone, but if it had to happen, where better than just at the end of the street where you are staying?

It would obviously be very cold, and slightly tiresome to lose all one’s luggage, but BA will probably lose the luggage anyway. I would be spared the long wait in the immigration hall and the taxi flog from JFK to Manhattan. Quite what the hotel would make of it I am not sure if one appeared at the door dripping wet and without any bags. Just hope the credit card still works.


Fannie Mae – be careful what you agree to with e-discovery orders

January 15, 2009

The American Fannie Mae case shows what can happen if a lawyer unskilled in electronic disclosure agrees to something which is beyond his skills and knowledge. UK judges may baulk at questioning an advocate’s expertise, but they have an absolute right to ensure that all the facts are in front of them before endorsing agreements which may affect the case as a whole

American cases involving large sums of money tend to be ignored in the UK on both those grounds – being American and seeming always to involve millions. We can hope that the outcome of the recent decision of the US Court of Appeals for the District for Columbia in In re Fannie Mae Securities Litigation will never be paralleled here (indeed one hopes much the same for America), but it does nevertheless have warnings for lawyers engaged in discovery disputes in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Lights still on at Canary Wharf

January 15, 2009

You can just see from this photograph taken yesterday that the boilers are still working at Canary Wharf and that public transport – the brightly-lit train running across the bottom of the picture – is still functioning more or less (“functioning more or less”  being as good as it got even in the boom years).

Canary Wharf

You can read this how you like really – that the City looks much as it always did despite everything, or that this is an echo of that famous photograph of  St Paul’s in the Blitz, or that London is a harsh, grey shadow of its former self. It feels pretty busy to me.


US Visa Waiver Program goes electronic with ESTA

January 15, 2009

UK visitors to LegalTech in February should be aware of a change to the method of applying for authorisation under the US Visa Waiver Programme. The familiar old green form, completing which used to fill up some of the time spent queueing in the immigration hall, has been replaced as of 12 January by an electronic system called Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA. Read the rest of this entry »

Go to LegalTech 2009 in New York

January 12, 2009

Last year, I wrote articles after each of LegalTech in New York and ILTA in Dallas, lamenting the fact that almost no UK law firms were represented at the two most informative events on the subject of e-Discovery / e-Disclosure.

I thought it might be more helpful this year if I promoted the events in advance rather than in retrospect. LegalTech takes place in New York from 2 to 4 February. There are two pages on my web site which aim to persuade UK lawyers that it would be a good idea to go.

One simply advocates just that. The other is a list of events, many given or sponsored by UK suppliers, which I think ought to be of particular interest this year.

More will follow on this site, including some practical information about getting there and making the most of it. If you have any questions about going to LegalTech, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Welcome to LDSI as sponsor

January 7, 2009

You will have noticed a new logo on these pages as LDSI joins the list of sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project.

LDSI is a full-service provider of a wide range of solutions for handling documents for litigation, regulatory and similar purposes. It has featured before in these pages following my visits to its New York and London operations, both of which impressed with their attention to the secure progress of documents from first arrival through to delivery to the client, and to the support on offer thereafter. Read the rest of this entry »

Epiq opens in Brussels

January 7, 2009

Epiq Systems, Inc. have opened an office in Brussels to provide support for clients involved in pan-European and global litigation and regulatory investigations. Epiq is best known for its DocuMatrix review platform and for corporate insolvency, as well as for litigation work.

An Epiq team will be permanently based in Brussels which, as International Managing Director Greg Wildisen put it, is “in the heart of the European Union and alongside policy-making institutions”. Read the rest of this entry »

Autonomy CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

January 7, 2009

Mike Lynch, CEO of Autonomy, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the UK’s Management Today in its Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2009 list.

The ranking takes account of a wide range of historic and projected factors – not just obvious ones like turnover and profitability, but headcount (how much work do they create for others?), geographic spread and gender split.

Autonomy’s strength lies in unstructured information and meaning-based technologies. Electronic discovery, review and production for litigation and regulatory investigation are amongst the uses for their applications, notably Aungate Investigator Early Case Assessment (ECA) and the Introspect review application. Autonomy are sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project. Read the rest of this entry »

SCL meeting – Civil Litigation Costs Review

January 6, 2009

Lord Justice Jackson is conducting a year-long review into the costs of civil litigation at the request of the Master of the Rolls. His terms of reference require him to undertake a fundamental review of the rules and principles governing the costs of civil litigation and to make recommendations in order to promote access to justice at proportionate cost.

There is an open meeting of the Society for Computers & Law on Tuesday 13 January at Lovells to discuss the SCL’s submission to the review – see the background and event details on the SCL web site.

The review is intended to be wide-ranging and a correspondingly broad range of views is hoped-for.


SCL Summary of Digicel v Cable & Wireless

January 5, 2009

I have written much about the Digicel case Digicel (St. Lucia) Ltd v Cable & Wireless Plc [2008] EWHC 2522 (Ch) but delayed writing a summary of the actual judgment because I knew that barrister Clive Freedman was doing so. His article appears on the SCL web site with the title One Search or Two? and I commend it as a succinct report by a knowledgeable commentator.

Clive refers to a working party which is preparing a Technology Questionnaire but modestly omits to mention that he is a member of it, as I am. Our remit extends beyond the Questionnaire and on to a new Practice Direction which, when added to Digicel and the yet more recent Abela judgment, will ensure that judges and practitioners will no longer be able to ignore the disclosure rules as they relate to electronic documents. Read the rest of this entry »

Why is electronic disclosure like ice-hockey?

January 5, 2009

Like ice-hockey, e-disclosure requires some equipment and some skills. You don’t need to be a genius, merely competent, and you can delegate the technical skills to others. You are on thin ice if you approach litigation in 2009 without the resources to play the game properly

Those who come and see me here in Oxford generally get taken on a route-march round Port Meadow with the dog. Ideas and thinking seem to come more easily out there than around tables, in conferences or at bars, which are the more conventional venues for discussion.

The Meadow varies with the climate: sometimes it is a green, grassy field, sometimes a dusty prairie, often a large inland sea. Today it is an ice-rink, with people playing ice-hockey on it.

Ice hockey on Port Meadow, Oxford
Read the rest of this entry »


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