Identifying opportunities at the second ALM – ILTA Legal Technology Summit in Hong Kong

April 28, 2014

AsiaTechSummitALM and ILTA brought their second Asia Legal Technology Summit to Hong Kong in March. I make no apology for reporting on this event several weeks after it took place. I went on a long trip to the US almost immediately after it, and UK events have kept me busy since. The output includes photographs and video as well as words, and these take time to process. Besides, these big events have significance which lasts beyond the day itself. As it happens, I am back in Hong Kong this week for another legal technology / eDiscovery event; the fact that Hong Kong can support two such events so close together is itself interesting.

Henry DickerAs with last year, the event was held in the JW Marriott in Hong Kong, one of the more attractive venues for such conferences. Welcoming speeches were made by Henry Dicker, CEO of LegalTech (right), and by Barry Wong of sponsor Consilio (below). Both emphasised the increasing opportunities which Hong Kong offers to those with expertise in electronic discovery and other areas where legal services matter.

Barry WongConsilio, for example, is a global company with offices and data centres in North America, Europe and Asia whose growth in AsiaPac reflects the fact that big clients, wherever their formal corporate headquarters, conduct business everywhere and, increasingly, in Asia. To some extent, the US heritage is valuable, not least because of its business, regulatory and technology leadership; that must be combined, however, with an understanding of local culture and practice and a sensitivity to the fact that US commercial imperialism does not necessarily travel well in undiluted form.

A recurring theme at the conference, therefore, was that business and legal offices in AsiaPac are a) much the same as elsewhere in many ways, b) are different, for all sorts of cultural reasons which are not easy to detect and c) can benefit from the experiments and the learning which has gone on elsewhere. You need feet on the ground as Consilio has, not the occasional parachutist from the US, for this to work. 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 »


Tracking social media for eDiscovery / eDisclosure purposes

November 18, 2013

To an audience still struggling with the idea that an email is a “document” for eDiscovery / eDisclosure purposes, it comes as something of a shock to be told that a tweet or an entry in Facebook or LinkedIn is potentially no less discoverable than a Word document.

I have been writing and talking about this for some time now, most recently in a webinar with iCONECT called Social Communication: is there anything worth requesting? I covered it again at ILTA INSIGHT (the Agenda is here) in London on 14 November on a panel called Non-traditional sources of electronic evidence in the company of Fiona Morrisson of Allen & Overy and barrister Damian Murphy.

Reading around the subject in advance of the iCONECT webinar, I came across an article on the ABA Journal web site called 6 Tools to Help Firms Track Social Media. It referred to a Fulbright conclusion that more than 41% of US law firms reported having to preserve or collect social media data for eDiscovery purposes. Whilst it is true that US lawyers collect anything which moves and much more besides, the rest of us have to accept that the growth of social media, and the shift of communication from email to more volatile forms of communication, must inevitably take discoverable information with it.

The range of platforms which carry such communications grows every year. Ralph Losey is quoted in the ABA Journal article as saying that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the ones which matter. Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking the dam: barristers moving in to eDisclosure

June 3, 2013

There are over 3,800 words here, in a detailed report on Legal IQ’s Information Governance and eDisclosure Summit, so bring coffee and a comfortable chair. If you don’t have time for that, the message can be reduced to a few quotations, not all of which appear in the text:

“You have to be specific about what you want to buy” – Drew Macaulay of Consilio

“Sweaty palms”, “blood on the floor” – Judges anticipate costs management

“Look judge, here’s an idea” – Damian Murphy of Enterprise Chambers

“No estimates survive first contact with the data” – Browning Marean of DLA Piper

“Make sure your lawyers [in regulatory investigations] understand eDiscovery” – Allison Stanton of the DoJ

“What tasks are [litigation lawyers] uniquely qualified to do? – Richard Susskind

“We’re all f*****. I’m f*****. You’re f*****. We’re all completely f*****.The whole department is f*****. It’s the biggest cock-up ever. We’re all completely f*****.” - Sir Richard Mottram, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Transport in 2002.

There, that’s set the tone. You may deduce from that much that the rest of this is about costs control, about being on top of the facts and the metrics, about being inventive and able to react to changed circumstances, and about being realistic about the best way of getting the job done. The last quotation is for those who do not accept the need to think differently about the management of eDisclosure / eDiscovery.

ViewfromLancasterThe view from the Lancaster Hotel

On 16-17 May 1943, the remnants of the Dambusters squadron returned to RAF Scampton having destroyed two German dams and damaged a third. My headline came to me without direct reference to that anniversary, though it was presumably derived subconsciously from the memorial events which coincided with Legal IQ’s Information Governance and eDisclosure Summit in London. The dam which I had in mind was the conventional structure of litigation departments and the manner in which electronic disclosure is performed and priced.  I came away from the conference  feeling that, if the dam is not yet broken, it took a severe battering. Standing in for 617 Squadron was an unlikely combination of a professor, an insurer and two barristers. Read the rest of this entry »


A representative selection of sessions at the IQPC London Information Governance and eDisclosure Summit

May 13, 2013

I avoid lists, on the whole. Apart from the fact that one can sense the readers bleeding away, there is always the risk of omitting somebody or something, or of appearing to give an unintended priority to one thing rather than another.

Big conferences raise particular issues. There is no point in itemising every event – I might as well simply refer you to the published agenda. Perhaps I should refer only to those panels in which I am personally involved, but that seems a trifle egocentric.  I might limit the selection to those companies with whom I have a personal or business connection, but that potentially omits reference to a major player on a significant subject. Is my role simply to promote those who are good enough to sponsor what I do, or does that undermine the objectivity which is, I hope, what keeps the readership and the Twitter followers rising?

Looking through the programme for IQPC’s Information Governance and eDisclosure Summit, taking place in London this week, I can reconcile these various conflicts by reliance on the fact that the sponsors of the eDisclosure Information Project are representative of the broader range of providers, and that the subjects which they cover give a correspondingly representative picture of what matters in a UK-centric picture of electronic disclosure. Read the rest of this entry »


FTI Report – Advice from Counsel by Ari Kaplan: Trends that will change E-Discovery

February 11, 2013

As it did last year, FTI Technology has commissioned a study by Ari Kaplan called Advice from Counsel Trends that Will Change E-Discovery (and What to Do About Them Now). This is based on interviews with 30 inside counsel with the aim of identifying the most Important forthcoming trends and seeking their guidance as to what is required to face the changes.  It makes sense, does it not, if you sell software and services, to find out what your client-base expects – they are, after all, in the front line, and are simultaneously the canaries in the mine and the influencers, able both to predict forthcoming changes and to identify what is needed to meet them.

Ari Kaplan’s reports tends to be among the more influential published during a year – I found myself quoting from his 2012 survey all the way through last year. It would be odd if, having commissioned the survey, FTI do not take notice of its findings, and there is indeed a close connection between the feedback received from inside counsel and the recent developments in FTI’s software and service offerings. The messages, however, apply more widely than to a single provider. Read the rest of this entry »


Blog posts on eDiscovery | eDisclosure in December 2012

January 8, 2013

Here is a list of my blog posts of December 2012 on eDiscovery / eDisclosure and related matters. After several months of experiments, I have abandoned my Google Plus page for my short eDiscovery posts in favour of a second WordPress blog, called eDisclosure Information Project Updates. This blog has its own email sign-up for those who want to be tipped off about new posts.

Google Plus has really good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and the existing posts will remain there. Google’s clunky interface was one push factor; another was the feeling of being at a party which everyone else had skipped, despite the tiresome G+ focus on “community” and other things which Facebook does much better if you like that sort of thing – great for florists, car mechanics and High Street solicitors, but of no interest to me.

The new WordPress blog started delivering good SEO almost at once. I can extend its features, adjust its appearance and be sure that it will not acquire some tedious new “feature” next week because a hyperactive geek at Google has some syndrome which requires constant change for its own sake.

I have also abandoned the practice of summarising the short posts, giving a list like the one below instead. The SEO value of the summaries and the links from them was not commensurate with the very significant input which they required. I am not remotely interested in all the detailed “campaign” stats which marketing people get so hung up on. One thing matters to me – how many people go to my articles and thus past my sponsors’ logos? The average number of page views last year, weekends and holidays included, was 224 per day.

The list below, and the parallel one on my web site, are part of the web of cross-links (Twitter and LinkedIn provide the rest) which ensure that no-one can do much research on eDisclosure / eDiscovery without finding something by me.

December was a short month – I was away on holiday for a week quite apart from the long Christmas and New Year break. The volume of interesting material now being published by others is such that there is always a queue – that is, a stockpile of subjects, some already written about, which I hold back to avoid swamping the readers. Apart from time-critical things like webinar dates, I don’t think promptness matters too much – if it is important, it will still be important next week. Read the rest of this entry »


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