New web sites and a case study make good marketing

January 27, 2011

Although the nuts and bolts of what I do involves e-discovery / e-disclosure rules and the crossover between rules and practice on the one hand and technology on the other, my real interest lies in marketing, with a self imposed brief to market the concepts and benefits of ediscovery / e-disclosure as well as those who provide services. My biggest article in the last few days (see Twitter, bribery and 37 corporate counsel in a virtual bar ) has been about that rather than about either rules or technology.

I have always had a soft spot for the blog maintained by forensics experts CY4OR because they provide automatic links to my own blog posts. They never sought my permission to do this, nor did I ask them to, but I certainly don’t complain at this unsolicited outlet for what I write.

I have had no cause to look there recently, but a couple of recent tweets have taken me to CY4OR sites – it would be interesting, would it not, to get them to track how many of the visits to their sites came from those tweets?

The first tweet took me to CY4OR’s new e-disclosure site which shows how far CY4OR has moved from its roots as a pure forensic expert. It has partnerships with Clearwell and Nuix to add a processing capability to the stage which follows the collection. I am obviously interested in the mere fact of those partnerships, since both Nuix and Clearwell are sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project.

My other interest, however, lies in how well a web site guides a potential client through the range of services on offer – the alliances of skills and partnerships make perfect sense to those familiar with what these products do and how they fit into the process, but it is not so easy for those coming new to e-disclosure. I judge a web site by the ease with which an e-disclosure virgin could find out what services are on offer and how a provider can help. Read the rest of this entry »

Video illustration of forensic collections tool

May 14, 2010

I am always looking out for new ways of getting to wider audiences. Although you cannot beat actually talking to people, the Internet offers other ways conveying information.

Forensics collection experts 7Safe have produced a video about their data collection application 7Phrase. If you are unclear what forensics collection means, this is a quick and easy way to find out.

It is interesting to note that it is the data collection people who have got their act together on alternative ways of reaching new markets. I wrote recently in an article about data collections about a video produced by Guidance Software demonstrating possible uses for EnCase Portable. Where are the rest of you, with new ways of telling us about your products?


E-Disclosure law, practice and technology in one educational package

May 13, 2010

The first of the E-disclosure seminars organised jointly by Professor Dominic Regan and me took place yesterday at Ely Place Chambers. Dominic and I were joined by Senior Master Whitaker and by speakers from three technology providers, 7Safe, Legal Inc and FTI Technology to bring together the law, the practice and the technology in one afternoon session.

The expressed rationale for the e-Disclosure Information Project is to bring together all those with an interest in making electronic disclosure efficient and cost-effective. That crossover is important –  knowledge of Part 31 CPR and its practice direction is a good start, and the increasing number of cases involving e-disclosure failures send a strong warning to lawyers. Lord Justice Jackson drew attention to the need for more active case management by judges, and the proposed new practice direction and ESI Questionnaire raise the temperature on that front. Meanwhile, the technology reduces in cost as it increases in capability and, if properly used, maps well to the steps which parties and the court must take together, first to decide on the scope of disclosure and then to achieve it. The case management itself must be proportionate to what is involved. Read the rest of this entry »

Reminder: Dominic Regan and Chris Dale on e-Disclosure at Ely Place Chambers on 12 May

May 11, 2010

Professor Dominic Regan and I will be leading a seminar from 2.00 until 5.15 on Wednesday 12th  May at Ely Place Chambers on the subject of electronic disclosure of documents.

Lord Justice Jackson’s only recommendation in relation to e-disclosure was that there be substantial training for both lawyers and judges. This is an opportunity to find out why he said:

The first point which needs to be made about e-disclosure is that it is inevitable in cases where the parties hold the relevant material electronically. For the parties to print all the material out and then exchange it in hard copy would often be impracticable. With all but the smallest volumes of material, that course would not be cost effective. Thus in cases where edisclosure is a consideration, it is often a practical necessity rather than an optional course.

Lord Justice Jackson also drew attention to the need for judges and lawyers to know about and understand the technology which is available to address the problems raised by large volumes of electronic documents. Dominic and I will be supported by three providers of litigation support services. 7Safe will talk about the collection of data. Legal Inc will describe the range of consultancy services which are on offer from a general provider of litigation services. FTI Technology will cover processing and document review.

This is a lot packed into one afternoon – there is nowhere else where you can cover the law, the practice and technology in one session. Ticket prices are £94 including VAT and can be obtained on application from Chris Drury, the Clerk at Ely Place Chambers.


Reminder: 7Safe eDiscovery networking event tomorrow

April 14, 2010

A reminder that 7Safe are hosting an eDiscovery networking event tomorrow evening at the The Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU at 6.30pm.

I will be giving a brief overview of the many developments which are going on at the moment – see my original post about this here. The rest of the evening involves just eating, drinking and talking in congenial company.

I look forward to seeing you there.


7Safe eDiscovery networking event on 15 April

March 19, 2010

7Safe is holding an eDiscovery networking event on Thursday 15 April at The Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU at 6.30pm.

It is to mark the official launch of their hosting of Anacomp’s CaseLogistix, one of the document review tools which was used by Anton Valukas, the examiner responsible for the recent report into the collapse of Lehman Brothers (see my articles about the Lehman Report and about the alliance between 7Safe and Anacomp).

I have a two interests in going, since both 7Safe and Anacomp are sponsors of the eDisclosure Information Project, and a third if you count the fact that I am speaking at the event. I see that the invitation is careful to distinguish between that part of the evening and the “fun” which is to be provided along with the refreshments.

If “fun” slightly overstates the entertainment value to be derived from listening to me talking, these are certainly interesting times, as I hope I will make clear. It may be premature to suggest in March that Senior Master Whitaker’s judgment in Goodale & Ors v The Ministry of Justice & Ors [2009] EWHC B41 (QB) (05 November 2009) is the e-Disclosure judgment of the year, but it certainly puts pressure on those who think that they can simply ignore electronic documents as being too difficult or too expensive to handle. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Offensive in the eDisclosure War

March 8, 2010

It feels suddenly as if a new phase is opening up in the war to tackle the wasted costs of e-disclosure. If the Rule Committee’s recent failure to grasp the nettle seemed a rebuff, there is a new Spring Offensive coming. A busy week moved us forward on several fronts.

I would have been content for the week with the signing of a new sponsor (Nuix) and the publication of Senior Master Whitaker’s judgment in Goodale V MoJ which, as I said in my article on it Goodale v MoJ – a template judgment for active management of eDisclosure, is as important as a model for e-Disclosure case management as for the fact that our ESI questionnaire is annexed to it and thus made public. There has been more than that, however. Read the rest of this entry »

7Safe White Paper: the inter-relation between computer forensics and e-Disclosure

March 1, 2010

7Safe has published a white paper which I co-wrote with James Kent of 7Safe. Its purpose is to explain, mainly to lawyers, the role of a forensic collection of data in the subsequent proceedings, whether those be civil or criminal proceedings. The paper is called eDisclosure & Forensics – What do I need to know?

The paper traces the development of forensic techniques which were used first in cases involving fraud and the like. As defendants’ lawyers became more adept at challenging the technical evidence, so police and other enforcement agencies needed to improve not merely the manner of collection but their subsequent ability to prove that the collected data was what it appeared to be and had come from the alleged source without having been tampered with on the way. Read the rest of this entry »

7Safe launches UK Security Breach Investigations Report 2010

January 29, 2010

Mysterious messages have been appearing on Twitter all week like “In 85% of data breach cases, payment card information was stolen”. They all lead back to an analysis of data compromise cases over an 18 month period which 7Safe have published in conjunction with the University of Bedfordshire, supported by SOCA (Serious & Organised Crime Agency) and the Metropolitan Police Service. It is called the 2010 UK Securty Breach Invesigations Report.

7Safe’s Alan Phillips has been busy with a blog which now includes, in addition to written comment, some videos and photographs (including one of me, I see, now I look closely). I have not had the chance to look at the videos yet, but I am, as you know, keen to see all kinds of media pressed into service as marketing tools, whether of the wider concepts of edisclosure or for particular suppliers.

Alan Phillips will be at LegalTech along with Jim Kent and Adam Page of  7Safe, not so much on the subject of security breaches, but because of the company’s role as hosting provider of Anacomp’s review platform CaseLogistix.


Seeing Nuix at LegalTech

January 25, 2010

I try to avoid spending too much time at LegalTech looking at applications. I am much more interested in talking and listening to people, and three days is just not long enough to fit everything in. I generally limit my viewing to those whom I know or those who have something particularly new or exciting to offer, particularly if relevant to the UK market. Inevitably, they all think that their latest addition to functionality is both new AND exciting, and all reckon that their new release is just what the UK needs, including some who could not find the UK on an atlas.

I will go and see Nuix 3, however, partly for its own sake and partly to catch up with Nuix CEO Eddie Sheehy whom I met in Sydney at last year’s Ark Group conference there – one of those people who pours out ideas and enthusiasm in a way which, I suspect, would-be buyers find both infectious and persuasive. Read the rest of this entry »

Anacomp divests to focus on CaseLogistix, eDiscovery and litigation

January 5, 2010

Anacomp has sold its MVS Division to DecisionOne in order to focus on eDiscovery with its document review application CaseLogistix and the services which go with it. 2010 should be the right year to concentrate on eDiscovery

You would probably expect me to be an advocate of specialisation, and of sticking to what you know about. What do you do?, people ask. I am involved in a small sub-set of the procedural requirements for civil litigation, I say. They yawn. There’s more, I say. I know about a specific aspect of the use of technology for information retrieval and review. They look around for someone else to talk to. No, listen, I say, the intersection between these two subjects is really interesting and important. Their head hits the table. There is only a handful of us in the world who just write and talk about it, I add, as I try to shake them awake. Gone.

I exaggerate, a little. That is, however, the way the world is going as life becomes more complicated and information-rich. If you practice law or medicine, manufacture things, teach or join the military, the trend is towards finding something you are good at and which people want to buy, and doing it well.  There are exceptions – people or businesses who find skills or niches which complement what they do already or to which they can bring a team and a process which they have developed in their main business. The word consolidation can imply two opposite ideas – adding complementary business areas or bringing your main fire-power to bear on one target. Read the rest of this entry »

Strategic alliance allows 7Safe to host Anacomp’s CaseLogistix

November 26, 2009

What is the seating etiquette if you go to a wedding knowing both parties? Do you have to make an invidious choice between one side of the church and the other? Perhaps you sit in the aisle or hang from the rafters.

I was set musing on this by the announcement that two of the sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project, Anacomp and 7Safe, have announced a new strategic alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, 7Safe provide the hosted version of Anacomp’s review application CaseLogistix, and will serve as a preferred provider of data processing and other e-disclosure services in the UK as an Anacomp Connected Partner Program Certified Services Provider. The press releases (7Safe’s here and Anacomp’s here) are necessarily in similar terms. Read the rest of this entry »

7Safe blogs to keep us informed about e-disclosure forensics

September 17, 2009

E-disclosure Information Project sponsor 7Safe has joined the growing number of businesses using a blog to pass on information about what it does and what is happening in the company. It is a powerful and cheap marketing medium whatever you are promoting.

It will not surprise you to know that I believe strongly in the role of blogging as a means of conveying business information. My blog began as a backup resource to my website, a place, as I pictured it, where I could drop snippets of information without the relative formality and structure which a website requires. It speedily became my main output platform, a place where I sometimes put thousands of words each week. Although I intended it primarily as a feeder for my website, most of the traffic in fact goes the other way, with my website acting as an index to recent blog articles. I do the same for a law firm client and am about to start another. It works. 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 »

Labour’s fall may be matched by litigation’s recovery

June 4, 2009

I have just sent off my slides for my keynote speech at the Ark Group’s e-disclosure conference on Monday 9 June. Its title is The Empty Bear Garden, and it is about the decline of litigation since the CPR of 1999 and what we can do to stem that. My conclusion is that we are in a position to turn the tide and will do so if we pay more attention to the balance between rules and discretion, focus more on what really matters and what clients want, and be willing to challenge some of the existing orthodoxies.

Roughly the same period, since New Labour’s election in 1997, has seen the rise of what the Institute for Public Policy Research recently called “intolerant centralism”. The state has become ever more intrusive into our lives at several levels: vast databases record every aspect of our lives; cameras watch our every move; faceless bureaucrats have acquired powers way beyond their abilities; widely-drawn (and badly-drawn) laws give policemen and others in uniform the purported right to exercise a discretion unintended by Parliament; highways officers at the bottom of life’s intellectual pile clutter our roads with notices and urge us to “think”; ministers who appear on the surface to have been merely useless (Jacquie Smith) or deeply stupid (Caroline Flint) emerge as sinister, assuming powers over our lives thanks to their party’s majority which we would never grant them as individuals; MPs behave as if the norms of society do not apply to them, relying on the letter, but forgetting the spirit, of the law; rules multiply, each one having the effect of  nullifying our scope and ability to think for ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Compliance with the demands of an e-disclosure diary

May 16, 2009

I don’t think I envisaged a peaceful life when I decided to commit all my time to promoting electronic disclosure, but I am not sure either that I foresaw this much activity compressed into a short space. It is just as well that I enjoy it. My original policy never to say no to anything which will get an audience for the subject has had to be modified a bit – double-bookings are difficult, for one thing. Every event involves preparing slides and notes, not just turning up on the day, and the everyday stuff – researching and writing – goes by the board when there is always something happening or about to happen. I would not want it any other way but it would be good to have it better spaced. A summary will have to suffice for now, and the summer promises time to catch up. Read the rest of this entry »


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