Australia at the centre of the discovery world

June 28, 2009

The default map of the world shows Britain in the middle and near the top, with Alaska at top left and New Zealand at bottom right. Perhaps that is because Europe invented the Greenwich Meridian; maybe it is a legacy of Empire or a conspiracy of cartographers (the phrase is Tom Stoppard’s);  possibly the maps in Australia are centred on Canberra, with Iceland and Cape Horn as their left and right extremes. By any measure, anywhere else is a long way from Australia. Its influence in the world of electronic discovery is disproportionately large. Read the rest of this entry »


Equivio appeal to corporate IT

June 25, 2009

Back in March, I wrote about an interview which I had conducted with Warwick Sharp, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Equivio (see Podcast summarisises Equivio benefits). A transcript of the interview was first published in Enterprise Technology Management (ETM), Q1 2009. ETM is produced by Informed Market Intelligence (IMI), London.

IMI’s primary audience is described thus:

Information technology has evolved to be the cornerstone of all business activity. Business strategy and technology solutions have become so intertwined that IT is now the driving force behind business success or downfall.

As a result of this convergence, a new type of IT executive has emerged: one who spends the majority of his or her time on business strategy, working hand-in-hand with business colleagues to not only support but actually drive business success.

Today’s global companies need to be strategic thinkers, able to move beyond reactive and even responsive behaviour. They need to be predictive, setting the technology agenda based on their understanding of where business and technology are moving. They need to ensure that all technology investments are driven by business strategy, and that IT is being used to ensure agility and innovation throughout the organization.

My own primary audience is further along the chain, the lawyers and judges who are responsible for handling electronic discovery for litigation, regulatory and related purposes, and the suppliers who serve them. There is, however, a close relationship between the two audiences – it is the corporate IT executives who own and control the data which ends up as the raw material for disclosure. There are two ways in which we can influence the latter to be more strategic and predictive – by anticipating the company’s disclosure requirements in their information management strategies, and by working more closely with the company’s lawyers both to be ready for any disclosure eventuality and when an actual requirement arises. Read the rest of this entry »


Sedona Conference dialogue on cross-border discovery in Barcelona

June 25, 2009

As I have noted elsewhere, I had my own cross-border problems in getting to the Sedona Conference International Programme on Cross-Border eDiscovery, eDisclosure and Data Privacy Conflicts in Barcelona on 10-11 June. I was chairing an edisclosure conference in London the previous day and due in Sydney at the week-end and, in consequence, arrived late in Barcelona and left as soon as the main business ended.

I am spared my usual faithful accounts of the sessions by Sedona’s sensible rule that “what happens at Sedona stays at Sedona”. My mission generally is to get as wide an audience as possible for what is said at conferences, but I am more than happy to submit to the restriction in this context, partly because there is more than enough else to write up and partly because the density of the dialogue (and Sedona is expressly committed to dialogue rather than debate) is such that you would need a book to do justice to its proceedings.

It seems sensible instead to juxtapose some stereotypes against the reality in an attempt to show those new to the subject what the broad picture is. This matters because cross-border issues inevitably involve cross-cultural matters as well as conflicts of laws. The best and most topical summary of the issues is Working Document 1/2009 on pre-trial discovery for cross border civil litigation prepared by a Working Party set up under Article 29 of EU Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Its introduction recites the problem thus: Read the rest of this entry »


Ark Group e-Disclosure Conference 2009

June 19, 2009

You can generate a lot of notes in six conference days in three countries in nine days and have little time to transcribe them. I am quite good at actually recording what people say, less so at the small but telling details like headings and page-numbering. I can generally rely on my memory to fill the gaps in my notes (and the bits I cannot read) but that is a tall order when information has rolled at me continuously for days like infantry at the Somme. Ark Group’s e-disclosure conference of the beginning of last week seems a distant memory on a cold, wet dawn in Sydney ten days later when I started writing it all up, still more in the dark aeroplane cabin surrounded by snoring travellers on the way home when I finished it off. There was lots of good stuff said at the conference, but I doubt you would read a verbatim account even if I could set it down. What follows is a summary.

The chairman on Day 1 was Lee Gluyas of DLA Piper UK LLP who, as in previous years, was well up to the challenge of keeping speakers to time. Lee’s opening comments identified a positive shift over the time he had been filling this role, a greater awareness of the issues and the need to grapple with them. Read the rest of this entry »


Jackson conference challenge to litigation support providers

June 15, 2009

Lord Justice Jackson laid down a challenge to litigation support providers at the Ark Group e-Disclosure 2009 conference in London last week. They must, he said, find a way to bring down the cost of e-disclosure; if they cannot, then the basis of disclosure will have to be changed. Other jurisdictions provide a disputes forum which does not require the parties to undertake the vast exercises which are needed for compliance with the existing disclosure regime. The implication was that the old and treasured principle that all the evidence must be rigorously examined is threatened by the brute fact that the cost of conducting that examination is too high.

There is much more to say about this than can be fitted into an account of a two day conference, so I will settle for a bullet point summary of the other elements which contribute more to the costs than most suppliers do: Read the rest of this entry »


In travelling as in most services delivery, it is the little things which matter

June 14, 2009

If this piece has any e-discovery parallels at all, they are to do with project management and the contingencies of time and cost which turn up in any project. It is also about the apparently trivial things which flavour a user’s experience. I am attending three conferences in sequence, and will cover them in various posts. This one is mainly about the glue holding the conferences together – the journeys in between. Like any other form of service delivery, the small things make a difference.

The primary components in travelling work quite well really. Take railways: the concept of a set of parallel metal tracks, unimpeded by third parties, should be unbeatable as a service, with no major changes in principle since Brunel’s day. It is the people running it who f*** it up. Or flying: the idea that a large metal box can take to the air and put you down safely and on time half-way round the world remains remarkable all these years after Wilbur (or was it Orville?) flew a few feet across the dunes at Kittyhawk. The fact that you can look up, book and pay for all these things, research hotels at your destination, check the weather there and make contact with everyone who needs to know your plans, all from your desk, is pretty fantastic also, and that you can do most of that whilst in transit from a little box in your pocket even more so.

It is the little things which let it down though – lack of thought about details, or bloody-mindedness, or price. I am, for example, sitting on the floor at Bangkok airport whilst I type the beginning of this piece. Bangkok is a major airline transfer hub, a place where people from all over the world have to wait for an hour or four between flights. There is everything one could want here including, incongruously, Boots the Chemist and Whittards of Chelsea, but barely enough seating except at the gates. If we are sitting down, we are not adding to the footfall which drives the rents in this vast shopping centre in the middle of nowhere – and the simple way to keep us moving round the shops, they think, is to provide only a few seats. It is an attitude called “sod the customer”. It is a trivial point compared with things like the wings staying on but I will not choose to pass this way again if I can help it – and there is a choice. Read the rest of this entry »


Judge Grimm webinar on the Maryland Protocol

June 7, 2009

When US Chief Magistrate Judge Paul W Grimm was in London for the IQPC Information Retention and e-Disclosure Management Conference recently, he mentioned the Maryland Protocol which he and others have devised for the better handling of electronically stored information in court.

Clive Freedman of 3 Verulam Buildings, the barrister who has been responsible for the actual drafting of the proposed new e-Disclosure Practice Direction as part of Senior Master Whitaker’s drafting group, made use of part of the Maryland Protocol for part of the final version of our Practice Direction, which is to be submitted this week.

There is an opportunity to hear Judge Grimm talk about the Maryland Protocol on Tuesday 9 June at 12:00 EST, when Wave University hosts a webinar at which it will be discussed.

Registration can be made from the Wave University Webinar Schedule.

I will miss it – I am chairing the second day of the Ark Group e-Disclosure Conference that afternoon. On the strength of other webinars in which Judge Grimm has spoken, I know it will be worth listening to.

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