Launch of the Information Governance Initiative

February 19, 2014

The most interesting topic of discussion at LegalTech 2014 was not some new technology nor the proposed revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but the launch of the Information Governance Initiative. That is certainly not to dismiss the technology at LegalTech – Equivio launched Equivio Zoom for Information Governance in the same week as the IGI, and Recommind’s Axcelerate 5 made its appearance at LegalTech for example – but the technology is servant to the objectives, and information governance is increasingly seen as the objective which matters; that is why Equivio and Recommind are among the supporters of the IGI.

The inspiration behind the IGI comes from the strong team which has assembled at Drinker Biddle & ReathBennett Borden, Jay Brudz and Jason Baron who, with Barclay Blair of ViaLumina and others, have long been the instigators of constructive thought about information governance.

What is information governance exactly? That is addressed in the description here of IGI’s mission, which lists thirteen key components of IG. None can deny their importance; it is evident too that things will be missed – benefits and opportunities as well as risks – if the management of information sits in thirteen separate silos within a corporation. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Welcome to Iris Data Services as a sponsor of the eDisclosure Information Project

November 22, 2013

iris-data-services-logo-e1338417090529IRIS Data Services, a Kansas-based eDiscovery services provider with a world-wide footprint, has now opened in London. I am very pleased to welcome Iris as the latest sponsor of the eDisclosure Information Project.

IRIS was established in 2007 by President Major Baisden and VP of Sales Damon Goduto. It offers litigation support and eDiscovery services both on a per custodian, case-by-case basis and as managed services. One of its clients says of the latter that it “allows us to spend less time managing vendors and litigation technologies and more time doing what we do best, practising law”.

A quick look through the very comprehensive Iris web site shows a focus, above everything else, on data reduction, on project management and on costs control. It offers a range of culling options depending on requirements, all with the intent of reducing the volumes for review. Once culling is complete and volumes reduced, Iris applies some of the best tools in the market – Nuix, Equivio Near-duplicates and Email Threads, Relativity Analytics and Relativity Assisted Review (predictive coding) among others – to reduce volumes still further and to prioritise the documents so that the lawyers see them in order of presumed relevance.

The emphasis on project management and on predicting, controlling and tracking costs recurs throughout the Iris web site – if clients value lower costs (as they obviously do) they value also the absence of surprises which comes from predictions made by people who do this sort of thing all the time. Read the rest of this entry »

Talking and listening in Hong Kong with Epiq and Consilio

August 13, 2013

I was back in Hong Kong recently, my third trip there in recent months. The primary purpose of this visit was to deliver a talk to the Hong Kong Academy of Law in the company of Epiq Systems. I went to some law firms with Epiq and visited a couple of companies in the company of Consilio, who also arranged  a first-rate dinner. The result of a short visit is necessarily a snapshot, but that was my third such snapshot in a few months and they accumulate in value. It is a place which bears multiple visits.

The title of the talk at the Hong Kong Academy of Law was The Intersection of Law and Technology in eDiscovery. I shared the stage with Laura Kibbe, Managing Director of Expert and Professional Services at Epiq Systems – a treat for me, this, since Laura is one of the clearest exponents of the use of technology in discovery. We were introduced by Nick Chan, a partner at Squires Sanders in Hong Kong, who had arranged the invitation.


My role was to talk about the development of rules and practice in a range of jurisdictions which require civil discovery and (as the title of our talk implies) to show how technology developments and practical compliance with the rules intersect with and complement each other. By “complement”, I really mean that proportionate and defensible discovery cannot properly be given in compliance with the rules of any jurisdiction without at least some understanding of the available technology. The fact that the rules may not specifically require this (as is the case in Hong Kong) is really neither here nor there – there is a set of obligations to fulfil in relation to documents, and if nearly all those documents are electronic, then electronic means must be used to find and classify them if the costs of discovery are not to become completely disproportionate to the objective. Read the rest of this entry »

Predictive coding at DESI V, the Oracle-EDI Study and other TAR sources

June 12, 2013

The Fifth DESI Workshop on Standards for Using Predictive Coding, Machine Learning, and Other Advanced Search and Review Methods in E‐Discovery takes place in Rome on 14 June. The Oracle-EDI Study on Predictive Coding will be published at the EDI Summit on 15-17 October. Time for a round-up of some of the predictive coding resources.

My aim here is to point you to a handful of papers, posts and articles which cover the predictive coding / technology-assisted review ground. If you are interested in reading your way into them, then the documents given here, plus their own links, will point you to almost everything worth reading. If what you want is a quick crib so that you go into the predictive coding demo, client meeting or discussion with opponents with a few references under your belt, then a skim of some of these will serve.

I can be sure that the sources given here plus those which they link to are pretty comprehensive because the first on my list is Rob Robinson’s deliberately detailed summary of writings about what he calls technology-assisted review (I put it like that because not the least of the problems with this subject is the failure to agree on what to call it – that does not matters to those in the know, but it is something of a barrier to new entrants).

ComplexDiscoveryRob Robinson’s summary is called Technology-Assisted Review: From Expert Explanations to Mainstream Mentions. It lists articles of all kinds in reverse order of date from February 2012 when US Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck gave his Opinion in Da Silva Moore. I have not counted them (though I was vain enough to see that 24 of my own articles appear on the lists) but you can be sure that anything written on the subject which is worth reading is here.

Rob RobinsoEquivion has also recently updated his Got Technology-Assisted Review? A Short List of Providers and Terms which complements his list of sources. For the shortest and most easily-understood recital of predictive coding functions, see the description by text analysis software provider Equivio of its predictive coding application Equivio Relevance – a model of succinct explanation by a company whose appreciation that “less is more” applies to its marketing materials as well as to its mission to eliminate data redundancy. Read the rest of this entry »

Blog posts on eDiscovery | eDisclosure in January 2013

February 11, 2013

Here is a list of the 58 blog posts published in January 2013 on my Commentary Blog and Updates Blog. They got 9,464 page views between them.

As mentioned in a recent post, the web site has been smartened up a little as part of a general review. Some old material has gone and there will be new sections, not least about the Jackson Reforms, shortly (seeing the final form of the rules would be a a good start).

A spate of post-LegalTech posts is on its way, spread across the next few days. Read the rest of this entry »

Reed Smith: 6 reasons to Insource Litigation Support

January 23, 2013

A lot of what I write suggests to law firms that their clients’ interests and, indeed, their own, may lie in delegating much of their eDiscovery / eDisclosure function to others. I usually link this to Professor Richard Susskind’s observation about how law firms must find ways of working which are quicker, cheaper, more efficient or to a higher quality “using different and new methods of working”.

Outsourcing, in its various guises, must be considered in this context, whether that be by using software which is hosted and managed by someone else or by taking advantage of the many (and competing) managed review services which can often perform this most expensive component of eDiscovery / eDisclosure to a quality and at a cost which few law firms can match.

I am careful always to make it clear that outsourcing is not the answer in every case, but is something which should be considered alongside purely internal solutions.  As the UK moves towards costs budgeting and enforced proportionality, the ability to offer alternative ways of giving disclosure becomes more important. You do not need to be driven by the rules of any one jurisdiction to want to be able to offer clients and the court a range of options. Read the rest of this entry »


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