Around the eDiscovery world in 35 days

You may have noticed a certain sporadic element in my written output recently, with patches of silence interspersed with blocks of posts. That pattern will continue through the rest of November, thanks to a conjunction of events in the UK and abroad which has left me with a very little time at my desk.

EDiscovery / eDisclosure crosses a lot of boundaries. It embraces statute and case law, procedural rules, technology and the business of being a lawyer; it sits across subjects and sectors; it embraces marketing, practice development and careers; the same issues arise in multiple jurisdictions; it affects judges, lawyers, clients and providers of software and services; its outputs include speaking, writing, webinars and Twitter, and those outputs are fed by a volume of reading matter which never seems to die down, and by conversations with its participants at which I listen as much as I speak.

The activities are mutually exclusive – one cannot (I cannot, anyway) write a blog post whilst speaking from a platform, nor participate in a webinar from an airport lounge. For the most part, the load evens out across a year, but every so often a back-to-back series of events keeps me moving from place to place with barely a break. Written output inevitably declines as a result.

As summer turned to autumn, I spent three weeks out of seven in Washington. Between the end of October and the end of November I will have been to Dublin, Hong Kong, Prague, Singapore and Munich, in addition to events in Manchester and London.  I do not complain about this, you understand – it is all interesting and all enjoyable, and certainly beats getting on a train every day to commute to London – but something has to give, apart from sleep, and that something is inevitably the writing. I do not aspire to be a journalist rushing out copy about hot news, and need peace and quiet, together with infinite supplies of good coffee and cigarettes, none of which is available on the road, still less in the air.

I have written at length here and here about eDiscovery Ireland, and will cover the Masters Conference and my trip to Hong Kong in due course. Next up is LawTech Europe Congress 2012 in Prague, for which I leave tonight.  I am moderating two sessions there, one on how companies can take control of eDiscovery costs and timetables, and one whose aim is to cover developments in other jurisdictions; the latter has two purposes – first to help the Prague audience face the eDiscovery expectations of foreign businesses and regulators and second to focus on the benefits of managing electronic information for their own purposes, irrespective of foreign entanglements.

Many of the things I do allow re-use of existing material or, quite often, very little preparation at all because the conjunction of audience, subject-matter and panel members allows themes to develop on the fly without a rigid pre-planned structure. The Prague sessions are rather different, requiring tailored presentations and more discussion than usual with the other participants.

I get back from Prague just in time to co-chair the 7th Annual eDisclosure Forum in London. That is a full day on eDisclosure in England and Wales, covering the rules, cases, technology and the elements needed to build  an in-house team (whether in a company or a law firm) to manage eDisclosure effectively and efficiently. I have written about that conference here. There are still some seats available and there is a note at the end of my article about how to apply for one.

Developments and pending developments in England and Wales are moving up the agenda at the moment because of the disclosure components of the Jackson reforms, due to take effect in April 2013. I did two sessions of three hours each last week, one in Manchester and one in London, which cover the legal, technical and practical aspects of managing eDisclosure in the new climate of information exchange, judicial activism and costs budgets.  These are interesting times at home, as well as abroad.

After the London event, the next stop is Singapore for IQPC’s eDiscovery Asia conference.  I am due to open the first full day of the conference and to round up at the end, to do a couple of panels, and to run a half day workshop on costs management with Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy. The following week brings the Information Governance and eDiscovery Strategy Exchange in Munich, where I am moderating the judicial panel and sessions on data privacy and on social media.

I was originally pretty cross to learn that my return flight from Singapore involved a transfer at Frankfurt. As it happens, this turns out to be rather convenient – my son Tom is doing his Masters at Heidelberg University, and I will abandon my flight at Frankfurt, spend a couple of days in Heidelberg and then take the train down to Munich.  Once Munich is over, I go no further than London until LegalTech in New York at the beginning of January.

So you will forgive me, I hope, if I do not jump on the stories of the day as they arise. There will be plenty of time to catch up with them, and to do them more justice, in December than is possible now.

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