Huron Legal kicks off LegalTech with the Commonwealth Brunch

January 29, 2012

For several years now, Nigel Murray, MD of Huron Legal in London, has organised what used to be called the British Brunch, now the Commonwealth Brunch. For many of us, it marks the opening of LegalTech.

What marks it out from the many other events taking place here is that it is non-partisan, and attended by a mixture of people from software and services providers, law firms and others for whom a Commonwealth origin, residence or place of business is the qualification for being there. It is also an event at which wives and children are welcome, and my wife Mary Ann and son Charlie came along too.

The photographs below if you the general idea, as well as showing (at least for those who know the people) that there is a strong UK contingent here again.

It feels, perhaps, like the final relaxation before we move forward to the trenches for tomorrow’s three-day battle. The Hilton here on 6th Avenue is quickly filling up with familiar faces. Many thanks, as always, to Nigel Murray and Laura Kelly for organising this much appreciated annual event.


Recommind keeps the good news coming

January 27, 2012

It is barely a fortnight since I reported on Recommind‘s coup in appointing Nick Patience as Director of Product Marketing and Strategy. Since then, Recommind’s name has turned up more often than I can keep pace with.  I put it that way because I try to leave space between multiple references to the same provider, which becomes difficult when a lot of separate stories emerge at once.  Only one of the stories, a product announcement, is LegalTech-specific; the rest seem just to have happened along at the same time.

If I group them together now, that will this leave space for whatever comes along after LegalTech.

Axcelerate eDiscovery 4.3

The fact that Recommind is amongst the leaders (in time terms as well as in reputation) in the technology known as predictive coding, may obscure the fact that its roots are in broader information management software and that the predictive coding component is but a part of its overall eDiscovery offering. The technology originally developed for broader search and categorisation has two eDiscovery components, Axcelerate ECA and Collection and Axcelerate Review and Analysis, which between them perform the functions implicit in their names.  Axcelerate On-Demand extends the same capabilities into the cloud and, as again its name implies, is available without in-house installation – like tomorrow, if you need it.

Axcelerate eDiscovery 4.3 introduces new seamless management capabilities across the entire process. The press release quotes Woods Abbott, Senior Manager of Legal Operation / eDiscovery at Raytheon, as praising not just the processing and workflow capability but, crucially, the sampling tools which are a big part of the battle to convince lawyers that they retain control of the decision-making. Read the rest of this entry »

AccessData releases all-new version of Summation

January 27, 2012

AccessData was not in a hurry to bring out its all-new version of the Summation line of eDiscovery products.  The company already had a 20-year history in digital investigations when it bought Summation iBlaze, Enterprise and CaseVantage towards the end of 2010. It was a product-line with a long history and a very large user-base and, when I spoke to them at the time, AccessData were under no illusions as to the work which would be needed to bring the product range up to date.

It must have been tempting to rush the job as new players entered the market, but AccessData resisted the temptation in order to make sure that, when it came, the relaunched Summation would hold its own with the competition. I have not seen it yet, but it looks as if they have made a thorough job of it. To quote from their own description:

Summation offers both comprehensive early case assessment capabilities – data ingestion, processing, culling, export with load file creation and first pass review – and final review features – search, annotation, redaction, production tools and transcript support – in one product. This integration means that users can move data from the ECA stage directly to final review without creating a load file, exporting or re-processing. In fact, all stakeholders from IT to in-house teams to outside counsel can efficiently and securely collaborate in a single platform.

That page includes a summary of the main features and links to product brochures. Read the rest of this entry »

Information Governance, UK eDisclosure and International Discovery in three days

January 27, 2012

In an ideal world, I would keep the week before LegalTech free.  Product announcements pour out with accompanying (and welcome) invitations in advance to find out about the new developments (that is preferable, incidentally, to those who make big announcements and assume that I will pick up on them). The diary needs constant adjustment as I ditch optional LegalTech sessions in favour of fitting in meetings. My own LegalTech sessions (of which more below) require preparation. Computers, cameras, address books need preparatory attention, and reference papers must be copied somewhere accessible. A week away involves boring domestic details of shirts and shoes and suits, and you just can’t get the servants these days.

Just the week, all in all, to have a big webinar to moderate, a seminar to lead in the North of England and an invitation to speak at a conference in Brussels on three consecutive days.  And in the middle of all that, the EU commission announces a re-revised data protection regulation just as I have finished reading the 116 page leaked version.

Two consequences follow. One is this, a compendium article (which I rarely do) pulling together multiple threads as an alternative to overlooking them all. The other is that I have undoubtedly missed things which I would normally have caught. For the avoidance of doubt (and conscious as I am of a rough duty of balance in what I write) the difference between things I have covered and things I have not written about is one of timing rather than any perceived priority of importance.  if the news broke whilst I was in an aeroplane or under the Channel, then I may have missed it. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuix Webinar: The Convergence of eDiscovery and Information Governance

January 24, 2012

I am moderating an Inside Counsel live webinar for Nuix with the title The Convergence of eDiscovery and Information Governance on Tuesday 24 January at 1pm to 2pm EST / 10am to 11am PT / 6:00pm to 7:00pm GMT.

The panel members are Craig Ball, Stephen Stewart and David Cowen, whose details appear on the registration page.

Much of the eDiscovery discussion in 2012 is about applications and techniques for reducing the volume of discoverable information in the context of some triggering event, whether litigation which the company is engaged in or which it has reason to expect, a regulatory intervention, or an internal investigation. If this was not clear already, the pre-LegalTech spate of announcements about predictive coding / technology assisted review leaves no one in doubt about the importance of developing sophisticated and intelligent ways of culling down data.

That needs first-rate software tools, but it also needs the right people to make the right decisions about what to leave out and what must be kept. A set of skills has developed in the eDiscovery context which crosses the legal and IT boundaries and which includes both an understanding of the obligations and the ability to use search tools, analytic tools, and processing power to discriminate quickly and safely between important things and unimportant things and the shades which lie between them. Read the rest of this entry »

Revival of UK Litigation Support Technology Group – LiST – with meeting on 24 January

January 23, 2012

There is a meeting of LiST – the Litigation Support Technology Group – at Allen & Overy at 5:00pm tomorrow, Tuesday 24 January. This is a welcome revival.

The Litigation Support Technology Group is a UK think tank, formed in 2003 by a group of litigation support specialists whose aim was to encourage and develop a uniform approach to the use of technology in litigation. It produced drafts of a practice direction, a technology questionnaire, a data exchange protocol and a revised disclosure statement which did much to advance thinking about the procedures and documents needed to make electronic disclosure more efficient.

The self-given label “think tank” implied, and deliberately so, that LiST was a gathering of the knowledgeable. Its members were those with practical experience of managing electronic data and, specifically, of managing the expectations of opposing parties, separating contention about facts and issues from the mechanics of disclosure and exchange. Its work, and specifically its drafting experience, contributed significantly to the 2010 eDisclosure Practice Direction and Electronic Documents Questionnaire.

Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy who is, as I am, a member of Senior Master Whitaker’s working party which drafted the Practice Direction, has long wanted to revive LiST now that the practice direction is in the rules with more prominence and detail than its predecessor PD.

The aim is a steering committee approach, with members contributing to working groups designed to share experiences, to identify what works and does not work in the way firms work together, and to give members the opportunity to meet each other – it is very much easier to work with someone constructively if you have at least met them.

The criteria for membership are (and I quote) that “the candidate should be personally involved in the day to day practice of dealing with ESI for dispute resolution or regulatory purposes and be employed by a law firm, a Government agency or within a litigation support department (or similar) of a commercial organisation”.

The first meeting of the reinvigorated LiST is to be held tomorrow, Tuesday 24 January, at 5.00pm at the offices of Allen & Overy. LiST’s Honorary President, Senior Master Whitaker, will address the meeting.

Contact Jo Eates or Vince Neicho  for further information.


Herb Roitblat on Ralph Losey on Search

January 21, 2012

Articles on search by OrcaTec’s Herb Roitblat are rare, but worth waiting for. I would much rather point you to his article, and to the articles by Ralph Losey to which they refer, than try and write them myself.

I have just been invited to contribute to a book about a subject which falls within my area of interest and competence, which would involve research and analysis of the kind that my training fits me for, and which would add lustre to my CV. I have declined the kind invitation with some regret. There is one overriding practical reason for this – there are only seven days in the week and I keep meeting the dog queueing for his breakfast on the stairs as I make my way to bed, so I am not sure where the extra hours would come from.

There is also a matter of writing style to be considered – the relatively free and easy prose which I use here and which is my “normal” writing style is not appropriate for a learned or academic work; self-publishing gives me the luxury of not having an editor peering over my shoulder, imposing deadlines, drawing attention to my omissions, and “correcting” my punctuation.

My niche is carefully chosen. I am not a journalist, so I do not generally have to work to somebody else’s timetable. I am not an analyst, so am spared the obligation to research and analyse primary material. The relevant case law involves practical things like breaches of what are, in truth, easily-understood rules rather than complex matters of contractual interpretation or tax statutes. I do not do system specifications, nor am I a user, so I do not purport to undertake the comparative analysis of one software application over another beyond a broad understanding of what each of them does. I am not a computer scientist or an expert in linguisitcs or statistics. My role is to pick out the essentials of all these things and try to dish them up in palatable form to a broad range of interest groups and skill levels, acting as a translator between people whose possibly deep skills in one area might exclude any knowledge of another.

I also have the significant advantage of belonging in a jurisdiction which does not make a religion out of the minutiae of eDiscovery procedure and the relevant technology. One of the reasons why English lawyers can be reasonably sure that the software they use, and the techniques which accompany it, are adequate for their obligations is that most of it has been through the fire of the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or the no less onerous requirements of US regulators. One of the consequences of the US burdens is an upward spiral of technological sophistication and related thinking, as technology first meets the challenges and then, because it exists, raises the bar set by courts and regulators and by those who make discovery demands of others. That spawns a high level of jurisprudential and scientifically-based thinking and writing, the existence of which gives comfort to the journeyman lawyer who may not understand it all but who is glad to know that somebody else does. Read the rest of this entry »


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