Evidence, privacy and proportionality at Lawtech Europe Congress in Prague

January 30, 2014

I have no particular ambition to write up events as soon as they finish. Distance lends perspective, and anything worth reporting at all will be as valuable a couple of months later. The Civil Procedure Rules of England and Wales gave me enough to be getting on with at the tail end of last year and I only now turn to what was covered at the Lawtech Europe Congress in Prague, the second one organised there by Frederick Gyebi-Ababio.

My own interview filmed on the day gives a summary of why it is important to hold events in central Europe, and correspondingly important for eDiscovery people be there. Prague sits in the middle of a big region and one which is full of potential, not least because of its trade with the US. It is important for businesses and those who advise them to understand the expectations of US discovery, both because they have to face it and because it will become increasingly necessary for these jurisdictions to adopt their own discovery rules – as I say in the interview, a jurisdiction which establishes the content and validity of documents by notarised prints or screenshots has some catching up to do.

This is not just because of litigation – we see a activity by regulators from the US, the EU and within each region, all of whom wants to know what the story is. The story lies in the electronic evidence, and whilst much of the interest perhaps still lies in criminal investigations, civil eDiscovery cannot be avoided. Those who provide professional and technical services will cede the ground to the big four consultants, who are already there for other reasons, if they do not register their presence to some extent.

Paul Salazar of Siemens gave the keynote address, sponsored by Exterro. He ranged broadly over the duties of internal counsel, describing the processes which they must develop in order to anticipate and manage eDiscovery demands.

The emphasis on process can easily obscure the importance of data as evidence. Yuval Ben Moshe of Cellebrite opened the show with a panel whose focus was eDiscovery and the rise of evidence on mobile devices. He had as his panel members Patrick Burke eDiscovery Counsel at Reed Smith, Jo Sherman of edt. and Damian Murphy, an English barrister establishing his own chambers specialising in eDisclosure.

2013-10-E-4236Damian Murphy, Jo Sherman, Patrick Burke, Yuval Ben Moshe

Between them they gave us a good balance between the technical components and the need to focus on what really matters. It is not necessary for proportionality to be enshrined in the rules to get the idea that resources must be proportionate to what you are trying to achieve.

My first panel covered the relationship between scope, method and cost – how much do you need to collect, what is the best way of doing it, and how do you keep the costs within reasonable bounds whilst doing a good job? Read the rest of this entry »

EDiscovery leaders and career opportunities highlighted by US legal publications

January 16, 2014

Electronic Discovery / eDisclosure is a new discipline. It has passed the Wild West stage but it is still new enough and small enough that the contribution of its founding members can be recognised with the perspective of time. Three US legal publishing companies have produced lists recently of individuals whose contributions have helped shape the industry.

What value lies in reciting other people’s lists? I hear you ask. Well for one thing, my coverage is selective, with a bias towards people I know or have some connection with. For another, two of these articles are not readily available and it is not open to me to just link to them. Third and more importantly, I am keen to encourage people to see a promising career path in eDiscovery; we can’t all be Laura Kibbe or Andrew Sieja, but we can see opportunities in this young and growing business area.

NLJ’s inaugural list of 50 Business Law Trailblazers and Pioneers

Most recent of the articles is the National Law Journal’s inaugural list of 50 Business Law Trailblazers and Pioneers (you see where I got the Wild West imagery from).

This, as its name implies, is concerned with the practice and development of the wider legal scene; I am not sure that electronic discovery would have rated a mention in such a list ten or even five years ago.

Epiq - Laura KibbeOne of the people on the list is Laura Kibbe (pictured left), a Managing Director at Epiq Systems, whose career, summarised in this Epiq press release, has encompassed all sides of the eDiscovery battlefield – as outside counsel, in-house counsel, and currently as Head of Expert and Professional Services for Epiq’s eDiscovery business. I have the pleasure, from time to time, of sharing platforms with Laura, most recently in Hong Kong last year. Not everyone in this industry has the ability to explain lucidly what are the business benefits (as opposed to the pure technology benefits) of eDiscovery tools and processes. Laura has this ability, and it is always a pleasure to share a platform with her. Read the rest of this entry »

Using EXIF GPS information from a camera in eDiscovery / eDisclosure

October 25, 2013

The product description of Guidance Software’s EXIF GPS Information Reader helps explain why your camera may be recording more information you think. You need a) to remember to think about it b) to know that it is capable of collection c) know someone who knows how to collect it and d) apply the brain to interpreting and evaluating it.

A subject which recurs at the moment is the data which is created by the devices which we carry around with us and which may be secretly recording our every move. “Secretly” does not necessarily imply an NSA operative silently capturing our “I’m on the train” messages, nor shysters running social media sites in order to sell our souls to other shysters for marketing purposes, but may include basic information which records where we are, primarily for our own use (even if we don’t know it is there).

This was covered in a webinar called Is there anything worth requesting? which I did recently with iCONECT (the webinar itself is here ) and at a panel in Prague. It also turns up in a useful article by Sharon Nelson and John Simek called Metadata in Digital Photos – should you care? which includes the story of fugitive software boss John McAfee, who was tracked down to Guatamala by the EXIF information captured by a journalist’s camera.

I do not usually post technical documents of the kind which are aimed at those who actually work with the data. I make an exception for Guidance Software’s EXIF GPS Information Reader which I came across in the EnCase App Central catalogue. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Data, Cyber, Security, Intelligence, Analytics and eDiscovery at Guidance Software’s CEIC

July 8, 2013

If my article’s title looks like a general counsel’s master to-do list, that is no accident. The key topics at Guidance Software’s CEIC 2013 (Computer and Enterprise Investigations Conference) were exactly those which sit – or which should sit – at the top of the list of any IT-aware general counsel in the world. And the world came – 1500 delegates from 44 countries came to Orlando in May for four days of wide-ranging education, training and information exchange.  CEIC attracted 51 sponsors and offered 2000 seat / hours of sessions ranging from hands-on EnCase certification to broader topics which transcend national boundaries.  Canada, the UK and the Netherlands all sent strong contingents;  perhaps the most interesting straw in the wind was the number of delegates from South American countries.

CEIC2The shared problem is what CEO Victor Limongelli called in his keynote speech the “grotesque amount of data” faced by companies everywhere.  If half the problem lies in giving discovery of it, the other half lives in preventing intruders from discovering it for themselves. If this seemed a big problem in May, what does it look like in the light of the revelations about data security and intrusion which have broken surface since then?

You see what I did there? I have justified being six weeks late in writing about an important conference by reference to events in the interim which emphasise the significance of the conference’s subject matter.  In fact, as always, I disdain such justification, particularly at a time of year when I spend more time in hotels and aeroplanes than I do at my desk.  Conferences provide my input, and the output can wait – the subjects do not diminish with time.

I did a brief introductory post on my arrival at the venue. Its title, Every angle covered at CEIC 2013 in Orlando anticipated that CEIC would provide a comprehensive survey of the key topics.  CEIC felt cramped at its past home in Orlando; it will take a while before it outgrows the Rosen Shingle Creek – it felt like a substantial commute from my room to the conference area. Read the rest of this entry »

Every angle covered at CEIC 2013 in Orlando

May 19, 2013

I am at CEIC 2013, the big annual conference covering forensics, cybersecurity and eDiscovery run each year by Guidance Software. The event has outgrown its previous venue here in Orlando, and is at the vast Rosen Shingle Creek.

The view from my room suggests leisure and relaxation:


At the other end of the building, however, final preparations are in hand for a combination of exhibits, hands-on labs and a full agenda of talks and panels.


Guidance Software has new products to show us, and we get updates on a wide range of subjects. It would be interesting to look back at the agendas over the years (I have lost count) over which I have been coming to this event. Security issues bulk larger now, and we are seeing more nuance in the eDiscovery side as the software moves towards yet more cost-effective ways of getting lawyer eyes on reviewable populations (that is, the material worth reviewing) as quickly as possible. Read the rest of this entry »

US eDiscovery articles in brief

May 1, 2013

Consistent with my condensing approach to current events, I give a brief summary of some of the US articles which have ended up in my Evernote store while my attention has been on the roll-out of the Jackson reforms. Rule changes and predictive coding remain at the top of the agenda. The best service I can do is simply to point to some of them.

Judge Peck’s refusal to recuse in Da Silva Moore remains after appeal

The title of this LTN article, Judge Peck’s Refusal to Recuse in ‘Da Silva Moore’ Remains After Appeal says all you need to know. A crisp opinion from the US Court of Appeals finally disposes of the recusal sideshow to the predictive coding sideshow, leaving the parties free at last to focus on the merits of the case. The LTN article helpfully includes links to some of the articles which told the story as it unfolded.

How good is your predictive coding poker face?

A two-part article by Matthew Nelson of Symantec introduces segments of video in which Maura Grossman, Craig Ball, Ralph Losey and Matthew Nelson discuss various aspects of the use of predictive coding by reference to a poker game. The articles are called How Good is Your Predictive Coding Poker Face? Part One and Part Two. These are authoritative speakers and this is an interesting way of serving up some of the issues and recommending approaches to them.

Technology assisted review: unlocking the black box

A helpful article by Randall Burrows of Xerox Litigation Services is headed The next step for technology assisted review: unlocking the black box. Its subtitle, A step-by-step approach to establishing a more defensible methodology, is fulfilled by a straightforward guide to the support which a lawyer can bring to bear on the validation of his or her approach to the use of technology assisted review and, by implication, to challenging the approach taken by opponents. Read the rest of this entry »

Discussing eDisclosure round the table at the Brewery

April 19, 2013

The fact that we enjoyed ourselves at the TGCI eDisclosure event in London did not make it any less of a serious forum for discussion. The round-table format, the complete absence of PowerPoint slides, and the invitation to delegates to interrupt as they wished made it an extremely lively and useful exercise.

There are a limited number of ways in which you can organise conferences and seminars aimed at dispensing information and promoting discussion about eDisclosure / eDiscovery. The conventional approach, a series of lectures and panels delivered from a podium or platform to delegates in rows of chairs, is ideal in many ways, particularly when the intention is dispensing information from the few to the many – that is what delegates generally expect, and I am told by someone who organises events across many different sectors that lawyers are not particularly interested in alternative formats – even government delegates look for more imaginative approaches.

I am not being critical here – I have no quarrel with the conventional approach and am rarely an enthusiastic participant in those events where you are divided into tables and given a whiteboard, a set of scenarios and some poor sap who must report back to the conference.  One approach I do like, which we are seeing more often, is the “led discussion” where we get down from our platforms, pull our seats into a circle and talk around a subject at the behest of a nominated group leader. Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 167 other followers