June 21, 2010
There is, alas, no rule which says that press releases must be proportionate in length to the size of the story. Those of us who are sent them usually have to plough through yards of verbiage and work out for ourselves whether the host of superlatives actually means anything of significance.
That a really big story needs very few words is illustrated by one found today on the web site of the London Stock Exchange with the heading Autonomy enters into $25 million agreement for e-Discovery software.
The admirably terse central message reads
Autonomy… today announced that it has received an order for its e-discovery and compliance solutions with an initial value of approximately $15 million and a total committed value of approximately $25 million over the next few years.
Commenting on the contract win, Andrew Kanter, Autonomy’s Chief Operating Officer said today: “I am pleased to announce this latest significant contract win at the more sophisticated end of e-discovery and compliance solutions, in this case coming outside the historically strong verticals of the financial services and pharmaceutical industries.”
Beyond the fact that the Stock Exchange page is headed “Regulatory Story”, there are no other clues as to the buyer or its purpose. Twitter buzzes with anticipation, but the story broke only 75 minutes ago, so we will have to wait and see. Stock Exchange market news has a narrower purpose than a full-blown press release, so we may get some details as the day goes on.
More when I know more.
February 16, 2010
I am a strong believer in the idea that businesses, and particularly technology businesses, need to make use of every medium which is available to get messages across to potential users. The new media formats such as Twitter, blogs, Facebook and video come at litigation support companies from two directions – they are simultaneously a medium for the distribution of information and a source of potentially discoverable information. Just as it becomes increasingly challenging to keep pace with the volumes to be collected, so it becomes harder to be heard as the means of instant worldwide publication become available to everybody.
That well-worn communications device, the press release, has many advantages. Companies can fine-tune the message, reduce it to the fewest possible words, and distribute it to a mailing list of recipients who will pass it on. Modern technology has multiplied the methods of distribution but the format remains the same as it did in the days when PRs were sent out in the post. The bigger the company, the more likely it is that there is a corporate style for press releases. Read the rest of this entry »
January 28, 2010
A series of announcements from Autonomy coincide with what I see as the coming developments in the UK and elsewhere, enabling the lawyers to work collaboratively with clients.
As one would expect, Autonomy has come up with a series of announcements in advance of LegalTech. One of them is about the large number of awards – six in all – which they are to be given by Law Technology News on LegalTech’s opening Monday evening.
The others are about three product launches – DSMail , a self-service archiving solution for email management, governance and ediscovery, iManage ConflictsManager, which enables law firms to streamline the management of their conflicts of interest process, and the Autonomy eDiscovery Appliance which combines early case assessment (ECA) and legal hold capabilities. Read the rest of this entry »
January 26, 2010
An article by George Rudoy on the Georgetown Law site, which includes some input from me, reawakens the debate about certification of those who work in eDiscovery. Education on this subject was a key recommendation of the recent UK Jackson Report and I am (as you might expect) an enthusiast for it. Why am I against certification?
One of the key topics of 2009 in the US eDiscovery world was the extent to which it is desirable, helpful or necessary to establish a scheme for certification of those engaged in litigation support and eDiscovery. George Rudoy, Director of Global Practice Technology & Information Services at Shearman & Sterling LLP, is well-known for his role in practical education, and has just published an article whose title eDiscovery certification — reality or myth? implies that the subject is not as straightforward as one might hope. Who would argue against education of those engaged in the high-value and risk-fraught business of electronic discovery, or electronic disclosure as it is in the UK? Read the rest of this entry »
January 22, 2010
The Posse List is running a new series called “Data! Data! Data!” — Cures for a General Counsel’s ESI nightmares. The commentary, as always, is to the point.
Of yet more interest is the series of interviews in which they are building up. At the time of writing, we have interviews with Andy Wilson of Logik and Tim Williams of Index Engines amongst others. We are promised more, including Ron Friedmann of Integreon, Deborah Baron of Autonomy, Nigel Murray of Trilantic, Virginia Henschel and Rob Robinson of Applied Discovery, Mary Mack of Fios, and Adam Cohen of FTI Technology.
This is a useful supplement to the Posse List’s growing collection of eDiscovery resources and to the flood of press releases which we can expect between now and the opening of LegalTech.
January 15, 2010
The sections relating to disclosure and e-disclosure in the Jackson Report are a call to action for lawyers and judges without waiting for any actual amendment to the Rules. The key element which Jackson identifies is education, and we can get on with that tomorrow.
The 558 pages of Lord Justice Jackson’s Final Report on Litigation Costs have hit my screen with a thump. My focus inevitably is on the sections relating to disclosure and e-disclosure between pages 364 and 374, and on the section on disclosure in the Case Management section beginning on page 275. As with his Preliminary Report, Lord Justice Jackson devotes a section to e-Disclosure separately from the section on disclosure itself, that is, the mechanics are distinguished from the scope of disclosure. Lord Justice Jackson’s concise style means that a great deal is packed into these few pages. It is all good stuff. Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2009
Recent comments from readers cover the Gartner report on the litigation software market, the state of play in Hong Kong, and the bright light which has suddenly been shone on the need for government departments to approach electronic disclosure in the same way as a large law firm or company would approach it.
From time to time a reader drops me a line suggesting that something I have said is ambiguous or unclear, or that I have left something out. The omissions are often deliberate – not by way of censorship, but because I am anxious both that I should get to the end of writing the post and that you should finish reading it. These signs that people are bothered enough to write in are extremely welcome. I had three last week, and they are all worth passing on. Read the rest of this entry »
November 17, 2009
The Thomson Reuters Fifth eDisclosure Forum was sponsored by Autonomy, Stratify and Legastat and, as before, the co-chairs were Browning Marean, George Socha and me. I enjoyed it and, unless they were just being polite, the audience seemed to think it a valuable day. The session reports will follow; this summary gives you the flavour of the day and suggests how to follow it up.
Asked why we had left the key subject of search until the last session, I said that we were sufficiently confident of keeping most of the audience until the end that we wanted to go out on a high. So it proved, even on a wet and windy Friday the 13th several miles east of the back end of beyond at Canary Wharf. This is the one conference which the co-chairs get to design from the beginning, and I do not recall that we paid much attention to the sequence. All the topics were significant. Read the rest of this entry »
November 2, 2009
What connects Father Brown’s deduction that a trusted old soldier had been a villain with Autonomy’s tracing of Jérôme Kerviel’s activities at Société Générale? Both stories involved not just hiding leaves in forests but making a forest in which to hide the leaves. Companies need to get a grip on their data.
The Times has been running a rather good series of supplements on matters relevant to business. Last week’s was on Corporate Fraud, and I and other e-Disclosure commentators were interviewed for an article called Finding a hidden leaf in a forest (page 5) .
The heading is a misquotation. What I actually said in my interview was “Where does a wise man hide a leaf?”. This expression was used by Lord Justice Jacob in Nichia v Argos in his discussion about mass disclosure as opposed to the consideration of documents “with some care to decide whether they should be disclosed”. His paragraph 47 says this:
“…it is the downstream costs caused by the disclosure which so often are so substantial and so pointless. It can even be said, in cases of massive disclosure, that there is a real risk that the really important documents will get overlooked. Where does a wise man hide a leaf?” Read the rest of this entry »
October 25, 2009
To say that electronic discovery is international connotes more than the cross-border ramifications of multi-jurisdictional litigation. There is commonality in the problems, the rules and the solutions, to say nothing of the implications for law firms of new ways of working. The Masters Conference was an opportunity to explore many of them.
My ambition to report on the Masters Conference in Washington before reaching the LexisNexis e-discovery conference in Singapore was defeated by various things – only so many hours in the day for one thing, and no power sockets on the planes. As I begin writing this, it is 4.00am in Singapore a week later and the conference here has been and gone. Read the rest of this entry »
October 9, 2009
The 2009 Masters Conference takes place in Washington on 12 and 13 October. Its title, Global Corporate Change – Navigating Discovery, Risk and Security covers only a fraction of the subjects covered in two days.
The best part for me last year, and the main reason I went, was a keynote speech by US Magistrate Judge John Facciola which I reported at length (see Leadership in Litigation). This took the debate beyond court rules and litigation technology and up into the importance of the court as a component of society. There is a direct line between competence and the efficient use of technology (on the one hand) and access to justice (on the other). Lawyers, judges, and governments which do not to make the courts accessible to everybody are not just failing their clients, the parties appearing before them or those whom they govern. Judge Facciola has the knack of making these things sound not just worthy sentiments but objectives directly related to our daily work.
What makes this job interesting is the breadth, from the minutiae of data handling to matters of state policy. There is almost no corner of the field which is not touched on in the course of the two day conference. If I pick out just the sessions from the program on the entirely random basis that I know the speakers, that is enough to give you the flavour of it. Read the rest of this entry »
September 10, 2009
Videos about the e-discovery /e-disclosure industry can be by captains of industry or the junior trainee, can cover everything from pure technology to business commentary, and can be formal or otherwise. A set of short videos by Mike Lynch of Autonomy shows that informed informality from the top can come across well.
I am, as I have mentioned, finding some interest in the idea of using videos, and specifically videos delivered by YouTube, as a means of getting the e-disclosure / e-discovery messages across. I was attracted partly by their immediacy and accessibility, but also by the fact that they suited the times both as to their cost (which can be minimal) and their use of popular technology to convey technology messages.
The potential scope is extremely wide, ranging from technical explanations (“here is an example of conceptual search”) to putting illustrative flesh on narrative bones so that bald references to, say, forensic collection of data might be illustrated by a short film showing somebody doing just that.
Such videos do not have to be technical. Electronic discovery / disclosure involves businesses of all sizes, from established giants to hopeful start-ups. There is value in hearing from those who have made it with messages for those who hope to follow them. Read the rest of this entry »
September 3, 2009
There are two halves to the question “How was ILTA for you?”. One is the personal reaction. Did I learn something and see some interesting technology? Did I meet interesting people? Did I have fun? The answer to all these questions is Yes, as I expected. The more serious question concerns the state of the industry, by which I mean the lawyers who are involved in e-discovery for litigation and regulation and their clients as well as those who provide software and services to them. Let’s take the easy bit first.
I am luckier than most at ILTA. I have no responsibilities apart from talking to pleasant people about a subject in which I am interested. I have no stands to put up and man; I do not have to do any hard selling or make any buying decisions; such formal meetings as I have are a pleasure rather than a burden; I do not have projects running back in the office and anxious clients to keep contact with; I have no staff to be responsible for nor is anyone responsible for me. My sole “duty” is to see people I know and like, to meet people I do not know, and to write about some of it afterwards.
On that basis, I am easily pleased. The venue was just fine, the organisation impeccable, the sessions and booths interesting, and I was in conversation with agreeable people from arrival to departure except when I chose to sit quietly writing. A lawyer from the US, the UK, or anywhere else where documents are collected for civil proceedings could have informed him or herself at any level – those new to the subject get a gentle immersion which they can take at their own pace, whether in sessions, by going round the stands or by just talking to others; those who want a higher level of learning, technology or discussion can easily find it. Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2009
Guidance Software’s new EnCase Portable is interesting enough for itself. The way in which they are promoting it is even more so. The industry as a whole could make use of YouTube’s ability to point users to related material.
I happened to be with Guidance Software on the day that they announced EnCase Portable the new pocket-sized version of their forensic collection application EnCase, at a meeting of their Strategic Advisory Board at CEIC in Orlando in May. We were given a preview of the extremely neat kit — one USB drive containing EnCase and another to hold the data. The ability to put a forensic collection of data into your pocket looks like a proposition which should sell itself.
A couple of weeks earlier, I had written an article called the Untapped potential of YouTube as a promotional medium . The immediate context was the launch that week of a song called What Really Matters to Me by The Phoenix Fall, whose drummer is my son Charlie (it did very well, thank you for asking, and the second one is due out soon). The more important theme of my article, however, was that YouTube offered an instantly accessible promotional vehicle which went far beyond music videos. I raised, but quickly dismissed, the idea that Sir Rupert Jackson might launch his Preliminary Report (which was due out the next day) via a YouTube broadcast, but omitted to mention that Senior Master Whitaker once did a brief YouTube video about e-disclosure. Read the rest of this entry »
August 17, 2009
Technology companies make little use of technology to deliver their messages. Web demos may lack the personal touch of a face-to-face show, but you can reach many more people. They offer unparalleled opportunities to show off your products without the mutual commitment which a physical demo offers. The committed people will find you anyway – it is the others you need to reach.
The two web resources I talk about (from Anacomp/CaseLogistix here and Guidance Software in a separate article) are two I fell over (and the fact that I did so is perhaps interesting in its own right, since being found by people who are not looking is an obvious plus). I am sure they are not the only ones – let me know if you own, or have found, a web demonstration which is interesting as an informational medium.
I wrote recently about software demonstrations which I organised for Lord Justice Jackson (Jackson Litigation Costs Review consultation ends). Epiq Systems, Autonomy, and FTI Technology each sent along their best demonstrators and compressed their shows into 30 minutes each. The result was one of the most illuminating sessions I have ever seen.
You probably need to be a Lord Justice of Appeal with a report to write to command such a luxury. It is difficult for lawyers to organise multiple demonstrations and for suppliers to send their best men to every firm or company which expresses mild interest in their product. Not the least of the problems is that lawyers are fairly wary of expressing even mild interest. Merely putting their head above the parapet will, they fear, lead to a constant barrage of calls from an eager salesman keen to convert that mild interest into a sale, preferably a big one and during the current quarter. That dreadful question “so how soon will you be making a decision?” is the biggest deal-killer there is, and fear of it puts off those who simply know want what is out there or even just to understand the concepts. The supplier, for its part, has finite resources and an obvious wish to focus on the key targets. The salesmen himself (and it usually is a him) has an obvious personal interest in spending his time with those most likely to reach a quick decision. Read the rest of this entry »
August 2, 2009
A few seconds before midnight on Friday, an e-mail arrived from Abigail Pilkington, the Clerk to the Review of Civil Litigation Costs. It was a bit eerie, really. The East Wing of the Royal Courts of Justice is a cavernous, Gothic place at the best of times, like Hogwarts without the wizards. I got locked into an upper corridor one evening, many years ago (accidentally, I should say, looking for a judge to grant an injunction) and found it a disquieting experience. I pictured Abigail on her own in the gloom, conscientiously sending out acknowledgements to late submissions like mine. Closer inspection showed firstly that the e-mail was an autoreply, and secondly that it had actually been sent within a few moments of me sending my e-mail earlier that day. Perhaps the RCJ needs some wizards to look at it is e-mail system.
The message included a reminder that submissions must also be sent as hard copy. Fortunately (since the 31 July deadline was due to expire 30 seconds later), I had finished my submission with a day in hand and had noticed the requirement to send a hard copy in the nick of time. That took me back a bit – I don’t think I have sent out a hard copy of anything this century. I blew dust off the printer, and found one of those plastic spines which had fortunately survived my recent cull of office equipment which I don’t use any more. After lots of faffing about with envelopes and Sellotape, I set off to find a post office. Gordon Brown’s commitment to public services has included closing many of these essential local services, and our nearest one, some way off, is run with that surly inattentiveness which results from having a monopoly. You can’t drive to it – there is usually a queue, and the traffic wardens are the only competent and efficient representatives of our local authorities here in Oxford. So I waited for a gap in the rain, and walked to the post office, queued by the notices warning of all the services which post offices do not provide any more, had my package weighed, paid for the stamp, and trudged back to my desk. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
June 5, 2009
A “document” is defined in Rule 31.4 CPR as “anything on which information of any kind is recorded”. Lawyers brought up in the days of paper disclosure, even those who have adjusted to electronic versions of those paper documents such as the source Word file, may overlook other things “on which information of any kind is recorded”.
At the top of the list comes recordings of telephone conversations. These days, our most mundane calls are preceded by a message warning us that our call may be recorded “for training purposes”. If that was indeed its only purpose, then the warning is little more than aural clutter to make us hate the company even more than we do already – most of us come across these messages when dealing with our ISP, utilities provider or similar organisation whose institutional incompetence extends to the erection of barriers against the customer. The added delay whilst some Estuary-accented trollop warns you about recordings certainly succeeds in putting me off making any call which is not vital, as is doubtless intended. Read the rest of this entry »
May 23, 2009
I reached IQPC’s Information Retention and E-Discovery Management Conference 2009 just as the first speaker stood up on Wednesday morning, feeling rather like Phileas Fogg as he burst into the Reform Club with seconds to spare. Although I had not been round the world in 80 days, it felt like it after the 4336 miles overnight from Orlando (see posts here and here as to why I was in Orlando). At least it was warm and sunny in London, unlike damp, dank Florida.
The IQPC e-discovery conference is one of the best in the London calendar, as much for the people one meets there as for the content. At my first, two years ago, I was introduced to three people on one day who have directly contributed to what I do now. Victor Limongelli, now CEO of Guidance Software, gave the first talk I had heard which drew attention to the similarities and differences between US and UK procedure and practice. Master Whitaker spoke rather pessimistically about the difficulties of persuading judges and practitioners that the proper court management of electronic documents was vital to control litigation costs. Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons talked about the need for lawyers to understand technology and to get to know some providers of software and services who could help them. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
March 31, 2009
Part of the function of the e-Disclosure Information Project is to keep up with what the providers of software and services are doing. Given my emphasis on the human aspects of this business (which recurs in this blog and elsewhere in the form of questions like “Would you trust them with your client’s data? Do you like them?”) it is important to keep in touch by going in to see providers or welcoming them out here in Oxford. Since I neither buy nor directly recommend anything, these sessions are free of sales pitches, save in the subliminal and low-key sense that there is a mutual interest in sharing information.
I always seem to have a backlog, both of outstanding invitations and of writing about them. That reflects the balance between things I do directly for the Project’s sponsors, the wider objective informational aspects, the range of material which has to be read from the various jurisdictions in which discovery takes place, and the fact that there is always a conference organiser bullying for a set of slides.
KPMG comes to mind every day for the wholly obscure reason that my coffee cup sits on a tile which was the 1993 Christmas present from KPMG Forensic Accounting. It is functional as a mat, albeit that it shows a 1994 calendar. Like KPMG itself, it can claim longevity in a market which is full of new companies, staffed by people who were still at school in 1994, and in which corporate freebies have a marketing life of about ten minutes. I must have been on their mailing list on the strength of accounting negligence claims which I had run as a litigation partner (including JEB Fasteners v Marks Bloom in 1984 and Al Saudi Banque v Clarke Pixley in 1990, both still cited). Read the rest of this entry »
March 17, 2009
An overnight press release confirms that Autonomy’s acquisition of Interwoven has been finalised. It has been understandably difficult to get any useful comment out of either of them (I have tried) whilst the transaction was awaiting the formal approvals necessary to close it.
For those who have invested in Interwoven’s content management applications, it will be reassuring to read that “Autonomy is committed to the on-going development and support of Interwoven’s products and solutions in line with all currently published Interwoven roadmaps.”
What interests my readers is the hosted document review platform Discovery Mining, which Interwoven itself only acquired during 2008. Of this, Anthony Bettencourt, CEO of Autonomy Interwoven, says:
For Interwoven’s Discovery Mining customers, Autonomy offers the most complete EDRM solution on a single technology platform…. We will bring together the best aspects of Discovery Mining and Zantaz Introspect to meet your current and future processing, review and production needs. Autonomy has 6 data centers with 6,000 servers, and Discovery Mining will now become our West Coast processing center while Boston will remain our East Coast processing center.
That tells us little about actual development of the highly-regarded Discovery Mining application. My informal understanding (which makes logical sense) is that Autonomy’s IDOL engine will be put under Discovery Mining. It is not really clear whether we will see the convergence of Introspect and Discovery Mining into a single product or whether the two applications will be differentiated and aimed at different markets. It would not be surprising if long-term decisions like this have yet to be made.
February 24, 2009
Panel sessions at LegalTech and other conferences combine the best of all worlds so far as I am concerned. The burden is distributed – the moderator has to have a plan and the ability to herd the speakers through it, and those on the panel have to have an agreement as to who is going to cover what, but you don’t have to prepare slides a month in advance nor stand alone under the spotlight hoping that the words sound as good live as they did four weeks ago in the seclusion of your office.
There is enough structure but also room for spontaneity as the discussion takes turns which were not on the formal agenda and, as long as the moderator is good enough to haul you back to the advertised programme, they can be fun to do – assuming, of course, that your fellow-panellists have something useful to say.
There was no problem on that score with the two panels which I did for Autonomy at LegalTech in New York earlier this month. The programme was the same for both of them. Carter Hopkins, in-house counsel at McAfee, and I were on both of them, but the third player in one was Florinda Baldridge, Global head of Litigation Support at Fulbright & Jaworski and at the other was Laurie Weiss, co-head of Fulbright’s E-Discovery and Information Management Practice Group. Deborah Baron, VP Legal & Compliance at Autonomy, Inc. was the able moderator. Read the rest of this entry »
February 21, 2009
I went down to Bristol last week with a group of electronic disclosure suppliers at the invitation of the Western Chancery & Commercial Bar Association. The aim, as in Birmingham last year, was not just to talk about electronic disclosure, but to illustrate it by showing and describing a range of applications and services
Bristol used to be Britain’s second city. In the 18th Century it grew prosperous on the triangular trade which took cloth and iron goods to Africa, slaves to America and tobacco, and sugar and rum back to Bristol. In 1841 the Great Western Railway connected it to London and, in an early example of joined-up commerce, you could travel on GWR trains and GWR ships from London to New York. Its relative prosperity declined as other places boomed and as different industries – ship-building, tobacco, cotton – had their heyday and fell away. There is more industry in the region than one sees from the M4 – I flew over the Severn Estuary on my way in from New York at dawn a couple of weeks ago and noted the miles of industrial zones from Avonmouth Docks down towards Bristol.
All that industry, together with property-related work from the West – Bristol is the first place of any size as you come up from Cornwall or out of Wales – has supported the growth of a strong legal and professional services business. Every other legal magazine in the late 1980s seemed to profile Bristol. Its population of around 400,000 makes it now Britain’s tenth city preceded by London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Manchester. It can take as little as 90 minutes to get to London by train. There are some large barristers’ chambers in Bristol and one does not get the impression that work is in short supply. Bristol is one of ten cities in Britain with a Mercantile Court, that is, a court with a specialist commercial list and judge or judges ticketed to hear mercantile cases.
All very interesting you may say, but this site is meant to be an information resource on electronic disclosure, not a local history, travel guide or Chamber of Commerce directory. Indeed, but disclosure comes with litigation; litigation follows industry and business; and the ability to win commercial litigation work from any region depends on the quality of local law firms and chambers, and on their ability to stop the work from heading to London. It ought to be possible, in fact, for the combination of legal skills, good transport links and an efficient Mercantile Court not just to stem the flow to London but to reverse it. The sixty or so barristers and solicitors who turned out to listen to us presumably want to draw work into their region. Read the rest of this entry »
January 27, 2009
I am delighted to welcome Equivio as a new sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. As I wrote in November (see New integration and new web site for Equivio) I met CEO Amir Milo at the Masters Conference in Washington. Equivio’s name was already a familiar one, but that meeting and a subsequent read-through of Equivio’s web site emphasised why Equivio is subliminally omnipresent in the data management world.
If, as I do, you spend your time explaining to lawyers, judges and corporates why technology must be used to reduce vast volumes of data and documents to manageable proportions, you learn three basic propositions – rely on illuminating snapshots not lengthy explanations, focus on the things which equate directly to the user’s own functions, and emphasise the benefits of using technology and not just the risks of not doing so. Equivio’s web site does just that, crisply and clearly. Read the rest of this entry »
January 23, 2009
I am not much into instant journalism, but it is nevertheless good to be able to report on the big stories as they happen. Just my luck, then, to be stuck on a train with a day full of back-to-back meetings ahead of me when my InBox started filling up with messages about Autonomy’s agreement to acquire Interwoven.
Both are sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project, and both are big players in the legal information world for reasons well beyond their respective interests in litigation discovery – Autonomy owns the review platform Introspect and Interwoven acquired Discovery Mining last year – but much of the combined 20,000 user base involves wider information management, not least in law firms – Interwoven alone has 1,200 large law firm customers. Read the rest of this entry »
January 7, 2009
Mike Lynch, CEO of Autonomy, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the UK’s Management Today in its Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2009 list.
The ranking takes account of a wide range of historic and projected factors – not just obvious ones like turnover and profitability, but headcount (how much work do they create for others?), geographic spread and gender split.
Autonomy’s strength lies in unstructured information and meaning-based technologies. Electronic discovery, review and production for litigation and regulatory investigation are amongst the uses for their applications, notably Aungate Investigator Early Case Assessment (ECA) and the Introspect review application. Autonomy are sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project. Read the rest of this entry »
December 1, 2008
November marks the first anniversary of what became the E-Disclosure Information Project. It did not have that name when I ran a half-day training session for judges in Birmingham last November but it was effectively launched with that event. This Commentary began a year or so earlier.
That first session was made possible by generous support from forensic collections expert FoxData whose Ian Manning has continued to back what I do, by turning out to speak and with useful information and introductions as well as financially. Tyrone Edward, now at Ernst & Young Forensic Technology & Discovery Services, made the suggestion for a business model which has allowed me to spend substantially all my time on spreading information about electronic disclosure. The Project is sponsored by the companies whose logos appear here, but on the basis that it is independent and product-agnostic.
The main outputs from the e-Disclosure Information Project are what I write here and on my website, and conferences. There are 228 posts on this site. None of them are simple regurgitations of press releases – PRs are invaluable sources of hard information, but I am more interested in the context and the implications of a software or services initiative than in the bare words of a press release. Read the rest of this entry »
November 21, 2008
A career devoted to court rules and electronic documents is not an instant turn-on for dinner party conversation. The subjects are, however, important ones for businesses beyond those which actually work in litigation, and the rate of change is increasing
What exactly is it that you do? Like all of us, I get asked this question from time to time by people who are outside the world of law and technology. It is much easier for those of you who read this. If, whatever your gender, you say you are a litigation solicitor, then doubtless people gaze on you with that same awestruck admiration which was formerly reserved for chaps on leave from the trenches. If you are a supplier and say that you work at the cutting edge of information technology then you are up there with rocket scientists – they do not understand, but they know it matters. Barristers are assumed to have mighty brains and Ciceronian eloquence. If you are a judge, then you are met with equal deference whether you are a part-time Deputy Recorder or sit in the Court of Appeal.
When they ask me, my answer usually elicits a perfectly understandable look of blank incomprehension. “I speak and write about the disclosure of electronic documents for litigation” I say. “Will you excuse me?” they reply. “I’ve got to go and see a man about a dog” or some such transparent excuse to get away. Read the rest of this entry »
November 17, 2008
Most of my speaking engagements are of the nuts-and-bolts, cradle-to-grave variety where I speak for a couple of hours about the issues raised by electronic documents and about how proper use of the Civil Procedure Rules, coupled with an understanding of the available technology solutions, should give parties and the courts the means to arrive at answers which are proportionate to the case.
People can read the rules for themselves once pointed in the right direction. The technology, and the problems which it addresses, need a more visual approach, and I am increasingly getting the opportunity to use snippets of visual displays from specific products to illustrate generic points. The aim is not to try and display the whole range of solutions from the left hand side of the EDRM diagram to the right, but to use a picture to say a thousand words about a sub-set of it, to shine a torch into a previously dark corner in the hope that it illuminates the wider picture.
As a change from these points of detail, I am sometimes asked to speak about the broader context, to give a kind of “state of the nation” talk which pulls together some of the threads. One such opportunity arose last week when Autonomy invited me to be the guest speaker at a lunch at the Ritz. Read the rest of this entry »
November 5, 2008
I was interviewed last week by one of the big computer magazines about the ever more ubiquitous Sharepoint – Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) to give it its full name. The context, unsurprisingly given my own area of practice, was the implications for SharePoint users of the need to produce documents and data from SharePoint to meet the demands of litigation or of regulators.
It is some time since I used SharePoint. My experience, however, is enough to tell me that it is superb at ingesting and distributing information, and substantially less so for finding it and getting it out again.
I do not mean, of course that you cannot find material in SharePoint – that is very much part of its function. Its indexing and retrieval tools, however, are geared to its primary function of production, sharing and distribution of information about set topics, often across multiple servers and jurisdictions. The very ease with which data can be distributed widely militates against the strict control which is expected – or which ought to be expected – of a document retention policy and all the other ideals of information governance within organisations. Read the rest of this entry »
September 21, 2008
If Ernst & Young Forensic Technology and Discovery Services manage their clients’ work as thoroughly as they manage their party invitations – as I am sure they do – it seems unlikely that they miss much. My Inbox is full of reminders and confirmations of the date, all apparently from department head Sanjay Bhandari – I say “apparently” because I was actually talking to him at the Legal Week Litigation Forum when the last of them arrived the day before the party, and I am damn sure he wasn’t sending e-mails as we spoke.
It is worth a trip down to More London even if you are not favoured with an invitation from Ernst & Young. It lies on the South Bank, just west of Tower Bridge. I found it when I spent a night at the Hilton Tower Bridge earlier in the year – it is even better by night than by day. The river frontage is a wide space with seats and those fountains which bubble gently out of the ground and then shoot up your trouser leg when you get too close. Apart from E&Y’s building, there is Boris’s bee-hive shaped office, Norton Rose, and a Marks & Spencer food store to serve as a backdrop, with HMS Belfast, 30 St Mary Axe (aka the Gherkin) and the Tower of London in front of you. I saw a dinner party taking place on a platform hanging from a crane, with waiters wandering nonchalantly around 60 feet up.
The view gets even better when you get up E&Y’s building, particularly at sunset, with a panorama from Westminster to the Tower. One probably should not choose a professional adviser on the strength of the view from its office, but it might be a tie-breaker when you come down to the last two choices. Read the rest of this entry »
September 16, 2008
Litigation solicitors in private practice and in-house lawyers would have done well to be at the Ark Group conference last week. Run over two days within spitting distance of the Tower, it had the title Adopting Practical Guidelines to e-Disclosure Management for the Legal Profession. Practical it was, as well as conveniently located.
Its supplier sponsors included FoxData, Autonomy, CaseLogistix by Anacomp, Guidance Software and LexisNexis, all of whom are also sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project which I run. Part of the Project’s aim is to make connections between suppliers whose service or software offerings are in different parts of the wood – between them, these suppliers and their applications collect data, process it, host it for review, help with analysis and make it available for exchange with others. There is overlap and competition between them, but also a common interest in helping practitioners – and judges – understand what is available to tackle the problems of e-disclosure. Part of my role is to help the would-be buyers see both the wood and the trees. Read the rest of this entry »
September 13, 2008
The US courts are laying increasing stress on the technology and the methodology used to find documents relevant to a case. Even US lawyers are pulling the blanket over their heads at the implications of this, and UK lawyers will do the same if we just leave them to read the US judgments. We have a very different set of aims over here, but the technology and the principles developing to meet the FRCP challenge are exactly what we need, just turned to different purposes. The key term is “transparency”.
I have shied away from writing about the judgments of US courts which are the all-consuming subject of the year in American litigation circles. US v O’Keefe, Equity Analytics v Lundin and Victor Stanley v Creative Pipe all deal with the importance of accurate and reliable searches – embracing both the technology and the skill with which it is used – and between them, in their slightly different ways, appear to raise the level of equipment, qualification and skill needed to engage in the business of giving discovery / disclosure of documents. Serious stuff, in a country where so much of the focus appears, to UK eyes at least, to be on the technology and the methodology at the expense of the search for justice – with the emphasis on the word “expense”. Read the rest of this entry »
September 5, 2008
The next round of conferences begins on 10 and 11 September with Ark Group’s Adopting practical guidelines for E-Disclosure management at which I am again speaking with HHJ Simon Brown QC. Our subject is Preparing Judges to make effective e-Disclosure decisions.
I have five more to do in London in 2008, plus one in Sydney and six regional talks for the Law Society. Next year’s bookings are beginning to come in.
By then, the trial period for the Commercial Court Recommendations will have run its course, the new draft directions order will have been in use for six months or so in the Mercantile Courts and we should be close to having a Technology Questionnaire as a required stage in the case management process. If you do not know what any of these things are, or what effect they will have, it is time to start finding out. Between them, they signal a more rigorous approach to case management, with particular emphasis on electronic disclosure. It will no longer be possible to treat Part 31 CPR and its Practice Direction as optional. Read the rest of this entry »
August 30, 2008
After this February’s LegalTech in New York, I wrote a piece called Why no UK lawyers at LegalTech? in which I suggested that UK law firms – partners and/or their senior IT staff – would benefit enormously from a few days in a place where almost every e-disclosure supplier and expert, including a large contingent of experienced UK litigation support managers, gather every year. There they could see demos of every application worth seeing, talk to pretty well everyone with knowledge and experience – and have a good time as well. Read the rest of this entry »
August 20, 2008
I am off tomorrow morning to Pasadena, coming back via Dallas where ILTA (the International Litigation Technology Association) is holding its big annual conference.
The draw in Pasadena is Guidance Software who, as I wrote in a recent post, were early sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project which I run, and who have been enthusiastic supporters ever since. This is a welcome opportunity to get to see the senior management, including CEO Victor Limongelli whom I met briefly in London last year.
ILTA is an opportunity to catch up with people with whom I correspond or speak but rarely see. There is an increasing amount of information-trading about developments in electronic discovery between those in the UK and the US, as well as Australia. The problems, and the solutions, are obviously similar. The rules and the practice are perhaps less alike in practical effect than they may appear to be. Superficial impressions of scale are misleading – big cases are big cases in all these jurisdictions, but most US lawyers litigating electronically are in small firms. What is different is the culture in which lawyers, judges, suppliers and clients work towards cost-effective solutions pro rata to all sizes of case, and cultural differences are best identified face to face.
Most of the Project’s sponsors will be there – OutIndex, Guidance Software, LexisNexis, Epiq Systems, Anacomp / CaseLogistix, Autonomy Zantaz and Trilantic – a chance to meet the US people where generally I deal with the UK end, as well as to see others who may become sponsors. As at LegalTech in New York every February, I go with few pre-booked appointments, confident that the days will be filled with discussions which add value to what I do in the UK.
I should be able to write about it all from there, at least as a technical matter. The practice is likely to be otherwise.
If you are at ILTA and would like to know more about the e-Disclosure Information Project, do come and say Hello or send me an e-mail.
August 12, 2008
It is probably a grave dereliction of duty to disappear on holiday just as George Socha and Tom Gelbmann publish their annual Electronic Discovery Survey provider rankings, but that is no reflection on the performance of those of my sponsors whose names appear in it.
Anacomp, Autonomy Zantaz, Epiq Systems, Guidance Software, LexisNexis and Trilantic all appear, some of them more than once, in a survey regarded as the most objective and authoritative report on an industry whose 2007 revenues, at $2.794 billion, were up 46% from 2006. Read the rest of this entry »