Washington and New York to Mitchell via privacy, Singapore and Lobachevsky

February 17, 2014

The problem with running a website which offers news and updates is that people notice when it lies silent – the essence of news is that it is new. In fact, I have never aspired to timeliness and, as I say often, if it is important now, it will be important in a month’s time. This post supplements a brief note which I put up last week. Most of it is about Washington and its wonderful memorials, about the week in New York with my panels on eDiscovery technology and privacy, and about the things which got in the way when I got home. That includes some ruminations on the fall-out from Mitchell v NGN, on the unpleasant and economically-illiterate thug who carries the proud title “Lord Chancellor” and his minions at the Ministry of Justice, and on the decline of London’s aspirations to be a forum of choice for international litigants, with side references to Hong Kong (where I go next) and Singapore. There is also a bit about plagiarism illustrated by Tom Lehrer. You get variety here, if not necessarily thematic consistency.

I was at LegalTech in New York, the biggest eDiscovery industry show in the world. This was my eighth LegalTech and I know the form by now – back-to-back meetings, a couple of panels to sit on, five party invitations every night, dinners with varying degrees of learning and entertainment thrown in, and someone to talk to round every corner. This year brought the added element of sudden snowfalls leading to deep pools of slush at every crossing, particularly tiresome when your meetings alternate between the Hilton on one side of Sixth Avenue and the Warwick Hotel on the opposite corner.

Our attempts, some four months earlier, to book hotel rooms were defeated by some sporting event which apparently drew most of the US population into New York for the weekend. The cost of flights to the US falls steeply if you include a Saturday, so we went first to Washington D.C. – “we” being me, my wife Mary Ann and our youngest son William. The weather was fine and, as always, we were drawn first to the war memorials. Read the rest of this entry »


A Hong Kong eDiscovery snapshot in the company of Epiq Systems

November 27, 2012

On the surface, my area of professional interest looks pretty narrow. When I launched the eDisclosure Information Project, its proposed scope was implied by the word “eDisclosure” – only the civil jurisdiction of England and Wales uses the term “disclosure”, and I set myself the task of carrying information between courts, lawyers, clients and providers in that narrow context. That proved limiting very quickly: civil litigation is only one of the reasons why parties need to identify, analyse and review electronic information, and England and Wales is only one of several jurisdictions which impose such requirements. The US, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland have relevant obligations in civil litigation and they – the US in particular – export those obligations by expecting foreign parties to comply with their domestic rules when they litigate in US courts or fall within the powers of a regulator or state enforcement body.

That brings in countries with no discovery tradition, including EU countries and those of the Asia-Pacific region, such as China, who have increasing amounts of trade with the US but whose data protection and privacy laws, as well as culture, are inimical to common law discovery demands.

I could purport to cover all this by sitting at home in Oxford distilling what I find on the Internet, and communicating with people around the world by email and video-conferencing calls. That would certainly be easier than what I actually do, which is to get on a plane to go and see things for myself. I don’t kid myself that I become expert in a jurisdiction by dropping in from time to time, but the “carrying messages” part of my role is better fulfilled if I go occasionally to talk with (not just talk to – the listening matters more) people who practice in other places. That took me to Hong Kong for a quick visit to Epiq Systems there earlier this month.

Epiq Systems

Epiq Systems has three business activities, of which the eDiscovery solutions component (the others are bankruptcy solutions and class-action solutions) plays an ever-bigger part in each succeeding year’s accounts. It has grown from being a software-led company (with its processing tool eDataMatrix and review tool DocuMatrix), to being a broadly-based eDiscovery consulting company offering forensics and collections, processing, document prioritisation and document review services. Its first non-US office was in London, which is where I came across it, and it subsequently opened an office in Hong Kong. Epiq uses Equivio’s Relevance product (now part of Equivio Zoom) for predictive coding and document prioritization, and recent acquisitions bring it a wide range of review tools, including kCura’s Relativity, iCONECT and Concordance FYI together with expansion of its managed review services. Epiq’s most recent development has been the opening of a document review service in Hong Kong, allowing it to offer a full range of consultative, technology and review services in the Asia-Pacific region. Read the rest of this entry »


Singapore seeks SaaS discovery solution as London barristers set up shop there

July 2, 2012

The two subjects which comprise my heading are not directly related to each other save that they both point to Singapore’s continuing consolidation as a dispute resolution centre.

The Singapore Academy of Law is inviting proposals from companies able to provide eDiscovery software as a service (“SaaS”) for law firms and organisations in Singapore. The notice about it is here with links to the formal call for collaboration.

As the notice says, the ambition is to provide services enabling law firms and clients to identify and manage large volumes of e-mails and other electronic information for use as evidence in legal disputes.  As I understand it, this is not intended to be mandatory or the only permissible solution for those who have their own software or who prefer to instruct a full service electronic discovery service provider with their applications of choice. The ambition is to encourage law firms with mid-sized and smaller cases to have access to the latest technology.

There is a clear policy here, and it is one which is consistent with recent developments in the Singapore practice rules relating to electronic discovery (I wrote about that here). The Singapore authorities are in a position to drive change in a way which other jurisdictions can only dream of, partly because of Singapore’s size, partly because it can afford to invest for the benefit of litigants generally, and partly because it is driven by judges who are ambitious to make this succeed. Read the rest of this entry »


Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong claiming eDiscovery attention

May 2, 2012

Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong only look close together when viewed from a long way away. They all have a common law eDiscovery tradition, but it is coincidence of timing rather than any specific commonality which groups them together in this post. A group of articles has bunched together in the electronic equivalent of my in-tray (Evernote, since you ask) and it is convenient to pick them off together.

So far as Australia is concerned, I have written recently about Practice Note SC EQ 11 which aims to limit disclosure of documents in the Equity Division of the New South Wales Supreme Court. That no doubt will be discussed at Chilli IQ’s 6th Information Management and eDiscovery Summit, due to take place in Sydney on 19 and 20 June. Confirmed speakers include Michelle Mahoney, Director of Legal Logistics at King & Wood Mallesons, and Browning Marean of DLA Piper US.

The subject headings cover the full range of current talking-points. The unambiguously named Predictive coding: what is it and how could it change the practice of law in Australia clearly aims to give this subject its due.  Michelle Mahoney knows more than most on on How to best manage outsourcing eDiscovery and hosting. Browning Marean is always lucid on legal holds. Add Nuix on Integrating legal technology into your organisation and you conclude that Chilli IQ are not stinting on quality speakers. Read the rest of this entry »


Taking stock of the eDiscovery world

February 15, 2012

This is a good moment to pause a little and look around the eDiscovery / eDisclosure world.  The wide range of topics which make this such an interesting field are all getting an airing at once. The stream of useful and relevant tweets is such that I had to turn it off to get anything done. If it appears to have a largely US flavour, much of it also has relevance in the UK and elsewhere.

I do not feel under any particular pressure to capture it all as it happens, and there are back-room things – the agendas for three forthcoming UK conferences and a White Paper, for example – which have some priority in terms of time allocation than the news stream which, if its elements are of importance at all, will still be so in a week’s time.  My web site also needs some attention to logos and indexes. It is helpful, nevertheless, to list some of the pending stories, if only to head off polite suggestions that I may have missed them. Since the point here is speed, I will ignore my usual rule about hyperlinking to everything referred to.

My involvement in or attendance at some recent events will be covered shortly. Monique Altheim has released videos of the eDiscovery sessions we did at CPDP in Brussels.  Nuix hosted a thought-provoking dinner at LegalTech which stimulated thought about the real meaning of “innovation” in eDiscovery.  It has been said of the cross-border panels hosted at LegalTech by Huron Legal and led by Nigel Murray that “the substantive information conveyed was top shelf” and there is talk of a re-run. Data protection and privacy move back up the agenda anyway thanks to the draft EU data protection regulation. Read the rest of this entry »


A court-led eDiscovery initiative in Singapore

August 16, 2011

I thought I had done with Singapore for a bit, at least until October when I am back there for the InnoXcell eDiscovery conference on 31 October.

A news item on the Asia Legal Business Online website seems worth passing on, however. Headed Singapore: Electronic Discovery Initiatives Launched in Legal Sector, it reports that a steering committee, including representatives from the courts and other interested bodies, including law firms, has been set up to investigate various ways of improving document review, case management and the exchange of discoverable documents.

I will keep in touch with this interesting development and let you know more as things develop.

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Rapporteur rounding up the Singapore Electronic Litigation Conference

August 14, 2011

It was a privilege to be asked to be one of the rapporteurs at the end of the International Electronic Litigation Conference in Singapore. Bryan Ghows of UniLegal LLC spoke to one group and I the other, with ten minutes to round up the proceedings. Unusually for me, I actually wrote down in advance what I intended to say, and I give it here as the finale to my series of articles about this excellent conference:

It is proper, at an occasion like this, to address by name or title all the most important people in the room. There are many of you and I have only ten minutes so I will instead simply address “Kind hosts and welcome guests”.

I should say that listening to speeches during lunch is one of my pet hates at these conferences – you have just got a good flow of conversation going and then have to break off and listen to someone speaking. I tried to get out of it by suggesting to Senior Assistant Registrar Yeong Zee Kin that an audience of this calibre does not need to be told what they have just heard, but he said it was proper and it is there in the programme. There is, perhaps fortunately, not much time, so I will pick what seemed to me to be the most lasting points. Read the rest of this entry »


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