LexisNexis Counsel to Counsel Forum – lawyers staying close to the business and its information

January 15, 2014

My title reflects two themes of interest (that is, they interested me) at the LexisNexis Counsel to Counsel Forum 2013 which took place in Brighton in November. One was about lawyers (whether internal or external) understanding the business for which they work; the other was about social media as a means of keeping in touch with the rest of the world. The obvious thread between these subjects was awareness and connection, and about knowing of and being known by others.

RecommindI was there to join Nick Patience of information management provider Recommind to talk about applying information management technology to business challenges, to proactive risk analysis, to eDiscovery / eDisclosure and to early assessment of litigation and investigations (I’ll stick to “eDiscovery” after this – the venue may have been in the UK but the principles apply everywhere, and everywhere else talks of “discovery”).

The first part of this article covers the value of communication between lawyers and the business, generally and in the specific context of information governance. A second part will report on the social media session itself. Read the rest of this entry »

The Jackson Reforms encourage proportionate eDisclosure / eDiscovery in any jurisdiction

January 24, 2013

I am taking part in a panel discussion at LegalTech next week with Integreon and kCura on the subject of the Jackson Reforms. We will emphasise that the rule changes generally reflect duties to which lawyers are subject anyway, and in any jurisdiction, to find the best tools and techniques for conducting disclosure / eDiscovery proportionally.

I pointed yesterday to an observation by Mr Justice Ramsey that there will be “a few sweaty palms” as lawyers face the forthcoming changes to the UK’s civil procedure rules. Collectively known as “the Jackson Reforms” after Lord Justice Jackson who inspired most of them, they have also acquired the nickname “the Big Bang” thanks to a decision to roll out all the changes together.

This seemed a mistake to me when it was first announced 18 months ago, and it seems even more misguided now that we are a few weeks away from the implementation date and have yet to see the final form of the rules. I wrote about that in my article Uncertainty means expense as we wait for the Jackson rules.

The combination of fear and heightened expectations which results from this obscures the fact that the rule changes relevant to the disclosure aspects of case management are radical only in that both judges and lawyers have ignored the rules as they stand – a point which Lord Justice Jackson emphasised in his Review of Litigation Costs. They also reflect what both clients and courts should expect anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

TransPerfect acquires Digital Reef for fast processing and ECA tools

October 4, 2012

In my recent article ILTA 2012 Part 3 – Some market observations I said this:

There are rumours of at least one significant acquisition – by “significant”, I mean that a major player will buy a strong but smaller niche player to give it new markets and not merely talent and client lists.

I would like to say that my antennae had picked up TransPerfect’s acquisition of Digital Reef, which was announced today, but that would not be true. What I had heard was something different and did not identify the target. It is probably not the case either that TransPerfect’s primary motive was the opening of new markets, since TransPerfect seems well able to open new markets anyway.

The acquisition is, however, consistent with the broad idea expressed in my ILTA article – that bigger players will fill the gaps in their market offerings by acquiring the best tools and skills, if necessary by buying the companies which own them. Digital Reef’s Big Data processing power for enterprise-scale eDiscovery and its early case assessment abilities make an attractive addition to TransPerfect’s service offerings.

TransPerfect is a big player with annual revenues of over $300 million. It is the world’s largest privately-held provider of language services and technology solutions with offices in 80 cities on 5 continents. It also has hosting facilities in London and Hong Kong amongst other places.

Digital Reef’s clients will be pleased, I would guess, to have access to the latter as well as to the increased footprint, the support, and the backing for future development. I recall a conversation a long time ago with Ivan O’Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer of Digital Reef and now joining TransPerfect’s senior management team, about his unwillingness to take on projects which Digital Reef would find hard to support for geographic reasons. That brake is now removed.

I await future developments with interest.


Early Data Assessment – a webinar with AccessData and Apersee

May 31, 2012

I took part in a webinar yesterday with Caitlin Murphy of AccessData, Tom Gelbmann and George Socha of Apersee, and Chad Papenfuss of the Federal Trade Commission. Our subject was Early Data Assessment and the title we gave to it was Early and Often – the word “often” implying that assessment is a continuing process which goes on throughout a case.

We began with the steps which can be taken to work your way into the problem, perhaps starting with the primary document sources of the main players and using their documents as a way of establishing the issues and facts, the holes which must be filled and the potential costs of moving out to a wider set of documents should that be required.

The rise of social media is a growing problem, alongside its many benefits. However many terabytes you have of email and Word files, there is plenty of scope for a blog post, Facebook entry or tweet to become the turning document in a commercial case as well as in divorce and personal injury whence most examples have come hitherto.

The courts are becoming increasingly involved in the assessment of the data implications – the SDNY Model Order for Complex Cases and the UK Electronic Documents Questionnaire both aim to give the court an early feel for the scale of the data as a precondition for understanding what course in proportionate.

Mention of the SDNY Model order took us into the area of lawyer competence – the lawyers are required to certify that they understand the implications of the sources or have engaged the services of someone who does. One cannot really define “competence” beyond reciting the rules governing lawyer capability. The definition must necessarily include “knowing the limits of your knowledge”. A good starting-point is a check-list, perhaps using the UK Questionnaire as a starting-point, to make sure that whole areas – such a social media – do not get overlooked entirely.

In answer to a question from the audience, we considered the circumstances in which forensic collection would be necessary or justified. One often-overlooked element is the relative continuity of personnel within the company and within its chosen provider of forensic services – would the person doing the collection still be available when the time came to prove what was done?

We ended with a look at costs and the ways of controlling them. It would be a good start to know what you spent last year, because how else can you measure the value of any investment aimed at reducing those costs?

This was enjoyable to do in such company. We were joined by 244 live listeners, a very satisfactory audience.

The webinar is available on demand on the Apersee site.


Proof Finder: 1,000 Nuix licenses at $100 for charity – you learn eDiscovery while others learn to read

December 1, 2011

EDiscovery software provider Nuix has come up with an imaginative plan which simultaneously provides lawyers and others with hands-on opportunities to develop technical eDiscovery skills and helps increase literacy skills to children in developing countries.

Like so many imaginative plans, it is easily understood: you pay $100 for Proof Finder, which gives you the same processing, search and analysis capabilities as other Nuix eDiscovery solutions with a 10 Gb data limit. Nuix will give the entire proceeds to a charity called Room to Read, which works in developing countries to increase literacy skills among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school.

1,000 such licences are to be made available over a 10 week period and the licence itself lasts for 12 months. Proof Finder is available at www.prooffinder.com.

There is an obvious connection here – though I do not think that it is what drove Nuix’s choice of charity. Literacy is a basic skill which people need to make progress in life. You cannot move beyond the basics without getting your hands on books. Lawyers, in-house information managers and those with responsibility for law enforcement and investigations can develop their skills in a practical way if they can actually use software designed for the purpose. It is rarely possible to gain such experience without significant investment in software licenses.

The scheme is explained in this press release. You get hold of the software in the same way as you acquire many more everyday applications by making an online payment, downloading a file and entering a licence number given at the time of payment. Working with a fully expanded dataset of up to 10 Gb, you can catalogue and search files and e-mails, look for particular types of file or content, and undertake an early case assessment through a user-friendly interface.

Nuix is giving live training webinars starting on 7 December, and online support is available in a variety of forms, including peer-to-peer help as well as user documentation, FAQs and training videos. The idea is not simply passive learning – you can use this on live cases immediately, getting your hands dirty on real data and finding out what this kind of software can do.

One of my recurring themes this year is that lawyers have difficulty in understanding what actually happens when eDiscovery applications are brought to bear on their clients’ documents and data.  Craig Ball, who is a lawyer as well as a skilled forensic investigator, often reminds us of the days when a client would bring in a file and you could dive straight into it and start giving initial advice. This  initiative gives lawyers the opportunity to see the transition from the source electronic documents to a reviewable body of data with the same immediacy.

The cause, Room to Read, is obviously a good one, and worth a $100 donation anyway. To help children to read whilst giving yourself a new set of skills is not something to be missed.


Digital Reef Panel at the Masters Conference – Early Case Assessment: is it working?

October 30, 2011

I was a member of a Masters Conference panel brought together by Digital Reef to discuss the question whether early case assessment is working as a way of saving time and money in litigation, as well as for improving its outcomes.

The moderator was Shawnna Childress of Navigant and of Women in EDiscovery. The other panellists were Steve Akers, CTO of Digital Reef, Bill Belt of LeClair Ryan, Browning Marean of DLA Piper US and Michelle Treadwell Briggs of Goodwin Procter.

“Early Case Assessment”, capital letters and all, is one of those expressions which lost all meaning when commandeered by technology marketing departments. It pandered to the idea that there existed a push-button technology solution, and the side-effects included two which were less than helpful: one was that we could defer thinking about cases until they hit us; the other was to make lawyers feel that they were bit-players in a technology solution.

The first of these means that we are always firefighting. Although companies are beginning to realise that there is no realistic alternative to a proper document retention policy and the technology and processes to back it, the reality in many companies is that this involves resources which are not readily available (perhaps because no-one has ever bothered to add up what the fire-fighting is costing – see this article by Katey Wood of ESG which suggests that a simple computation of external legal and ediscovery spend might provoke a different approach to in-house resourcing). Even where there is no in-house capability, companies ought at least to know what they will do on the occurrence of any reasonably foreseeable triggering event – a fire drill to be invoked to aid fire-fighting. Read the rest of this entry »

Another London doorway to Equivio technology

November 2, 2010

Legastat is the latest London-based e-disclosure services provider to offer Equivio’s technology for speeding up the identification of redundant data and enabling early case assessment. It is not the only such provider, and the same technology is available as integrated components of some software solutions.

There are not many providers of electronic document services whose logo includes the words “Established 1953″. It was obviously a good year for those whose involvement in electronic disclosure was necessarily preceded by a long period doing something else. It was the year in which I was born and it is the year in which Legastat was founded, and both of us had to occupy ourselves elsewhere until e-disclosure came along. I was a solicitor and Legastat was a provider of printing and copying services. When I was an articled clerk, I used to go to its premises in Carey Street, at the back of the Royal Courts of Justice, for urgent copies, a service which it still provides from the same premises.

More recently, it has added e-disclosure services to its more traditional offerings, now under the direction of Casian Sala. It crosses my radar now because it has augmented the services offered to its clients by taking Equivio’s technology for identifying near-duplicates and e-mail threads. It joins many of its rivals in the UK litigation services market, Trilantic, Hobs Legal Docs, and Millnet among them, on the list of those who provide Equivio’s technology (I will come on in a moment to those who provide them as part of and in addition to their own software solutions). Read the rest of this entry »

Roundup of The Masters Conference 2010

October 11, 2010

“We have been travelling since we saw you last. We have been in America, entertaining the Americans whose need, let’s face it, is greater even than yours. Of course when we’re over there we say that the other way round”

That is how Michael Flanders opened Flanders & Swann’s second selection of comic songs At the Drop of Another Hat in London in 1963. They seem successfully to have crossed the Atlantic divide despite a style which was rooted so firmly in English traditions of education and culture that it more or less excluded the Welsh, Irish and Scotch; the verses to their Song of Patriotic Prejudice – “The English are best” (lyrics and video) would today bring complaints from some humourless official who would investigate it as incitement to racial hatred and arrange a compulsory diversity course. Fashions change in these things – has Hollywood at last given up casting a well-spoken Englishman as the villain in every film? The devolution of powers within the UK, the subservience to Europe which culminated in the Treaty of Lisbon, and Blair’s shameful grovelling to Bush have left us without influence in areas which we used to dominate. Perhaps that is why I am so keen that we should be heard in my own field.

I am just back from Washington, where Master Whitaker and I flew the English and Welsh (but not Scottish or Irish) edisclosure/ediscovery flag at the Masters Conference.  We were joined by an Australian judge, Justice Einstein, of the Commercial List in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.  I am not sure that anyone in the US would have been interested two or three years ago. Before then, as I said in opening my International Judicial Panel, US judges would come to London to tell us, in a rather de haut en bas way, how we should be handling electronic discovery, and English lawyers and judges reacted by disdaining the whole subject. The tide turned with a judicial panel which I organised with Guidance Software in 2008, when we put Judge Grimm and Judge Facciola from the US on a panel with Master Whitaker and HHJ Simon Brown QC from the UK. Since then, we have tapped into and shared not just each other’s thinking, but the developments in other common law jurisdictions; bringing Justice Einstein from Australia to a US platform marked a further step towards pooling judicial thought on this shared problem.

The Masters Conference has grown over the same period to be a very good forum for just this level of thinking. It is big enough to attract a good range of speakers, delegates and sponsors; it is thoughtful without being overbearingly intellectual; the mix of law, technology and practicality is about right; it recognises the importance of local interests without forgetting that there is a wider world out there which is important to US interests both as a market and as a source of ideas.

I give a brief account of the sessions which I attended – I usually do separate posts about individual sessions, but there were thematic links running through them which then would be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

London litigation support party coincides with eDisclosure Practice Direction launch

October 1, 2010

I believe that it was a coincidence that almost the entire UK litigation support industry gathered at the Larder in Clerkenwell on the evening before eDisclosure Practice Direction 31B passed into the rules. I do not mean that the presence of dozens of  EDD people in one pub simultaneously was the result of random chance – Bill Onwusah of Hogan Lovells and Jack Bond of Dewey & LeBoeuf fixed the venue and sent out the invitations at about the same time last year. What I mean is that the date was not fixed with the PD’s launch in mind.

The PD was, nevertheless, a recurring topic of conversation, as you might expect. Most of those present were busy and had been increasingly so for some time – as you know, I like to see the whites of their eyes when they are asked how business is going, and I believe that there is plenty of work around. I don’t think this is directly related to the practice direction – that (as I keep saying) is a reaction to the existence of electronic documents, not the cause of them. It is generally felt that the PD will encourage more people to handle their clients’ electronic documents electronically, but that it is because it has engendered more knowledge about cost-effective ways of doing the job, not because it is driving lawyers to do it against their better judgement just because that is what the court expects.

There are a few like that, of course, and I heard reports last night of lawyers muttering about more upfront burdens. I have come across at least two people who carry a copy of my article Over-estimating both costs and risks in the eDisclosure Practice Direction to hand over when this argument is heard. That is what I wrote it for. Read the rest of this entry »

Turning e-discovery news and views into a community of interest

September 21, 2010

Those of us who work in e-discovery / e-disclosure get better and better at passing information and views between ourselves.  Web sites, blogs and Twitter allow us to keep up with developments – new products, company news and cases – in a market which changes all the time. Improvements in the mechanics of information delivery do not make it easier for new readers (which is the audience which matters) to understand it all. Can we turn this stream of information into a community of interest?

The word “community” has been hi-jacked by the woolly thinkers of the soft left. Private Eye runs a regular column pillorying those who write of meaningless “communities” whenever two or more people have some characteristic in common.  The expression “community of interest” has a meaning worth keeping, however, and is correctly used (and hard to replace) when different groups have common ground. The one in which I am interested is the loose assembly of lawyers, their clients, judges and technology providers who aspire to the proportionate use of electronic documents in litigation. That aspiration is purely notional in many cases, mainly because many of the players do not fully understand what the others need or can offer.

This article began as a way of covering many apparently disparate pieces of news or information in one place. As I wrote it, themes began to emerge which mapped on to some of the conversations which I have with lawyers seeking a quick ramp into the broad options which they face when e-disclosure becomes inevitable. We who have grown up as the industry grew up throw names and terms at each other, as if the audience shared the building-blocks of knowledge. They do not. Running several stories together may make for a long article, with loops and digressions as I expand on things which seem obvious to industry regulars, but those to whom it is all new may find that helpful.

One of the links which I intended to pass on anyway happened to be an interview in which Richard Susskind argued for better use of social media and for the development of a community of interest between the participants in the wider legal IT industry. That neatly tied in with my plan to base this article round a series of tweets, and suggested by extension that Twitter provides a ready-made core for such a community. It does so already for those on the inside. We need to invite the users in. Read the rest of this entry »

Far and wide eDiscovery at the Chilli IQ conference in Sydney

June 13, 2010

Sometimes an unconscious theme develops during conferences. Appropriately, perhaps, given the “IQ” element in the organiser’s name, the point which recurred in Sydney was the use of human intelligence in parallel with the processing power and clever technology to get as early as possible to the things which matter. That phrase “as early as possible” came up a lot, not least because (as I noted when I commented on it – see Terms of Reference for Australian Discovery review),  the Australian Attorney General’s Terms of Reference for the pending Discovery Review uses those words three times in their few lines.

Beth Patterson of Allens Arthur Robinson observed, for example, that one might be able to count whole directories in or out by having someone with the appropriate skills and a bit of brain just look in them; if they are patently irrelevant, why include them in the future stages? Michelle Mahoney of Mallesons said that dependence on raw processing power alone meant taking the thinking out of discovery; computers are very good at many things, but they cannot think. Eddie Sheehy of Nuix, unsurprisingly as strong an advocate of intelligent computing power as you will find, recommended giving a couple of the team’s best brains a day or two towards the end of the exercise to try and pick holes in the result by going in any direction they thought fit, trying to find documents or categories which had been wrongly included or excluded. For the third conference running, Equivio (who were not involved at any of them) was praised for the way its products used the best of technology and intelligent human input.  And I used my stock phrase “the best technology lies between your ears”.

Chris Dale and Master WihitakerI quite like opening the batting at these conferences. The audience is awake, no-one can have stolen your thunder by covering your chosen ground, and a keynote speaker has licence to roam more widely than one with a defined topic.  I merged my session with that of Senior Master Whitaker – I gave a short introductory speech, and used the rest of the double session for an interview-style  discussion with Steven Whitaker about UK developments.  My topics in opening included the international community of interest in ediscovery; the relative importance of rules and processes on the one hand, and discretion, proportionality and the clients’ actual objectives on the other; and the changing relationship between clients, their lawyers and the technology suppliers, with the possibility that the lawyers will get marginalised in that relationship.  Steven Whitaker took us through the key points of the Jackson Report, the range of disclosure options in the draft Rule 31.5A, and the proposed Practice Direction and Questionnaire. We took the cases between us, Steven Whitaker covering the ones which turned on the law, and I taking those in which stupidity, ignorance and incompetence were the main factors (there is something about being in Australia which encourages plain speaking). Read the rest of this entry »

Terms of Reference for Australian Discovery review

June 2, 2010

I have already reported that the Australian Attorney General has commissioned a review of  discovery laws. We now have sight of the formal Terms of Reference which embed the purpose of the review firmly in the title – “to improve access to justice”.

Their brevity may mislead one into thinking that the Terms of Reference are narrow in ambit. As with Lord Justice Jackson’s terms of reference, the opposite is true – this review is as broad in scope as it could be. Note the recurrence, even in this short document of the phrase “as early as possible”:

…requiring parties to identify and disclose critical documents as early as possible

…ensure key documents relevant to the real issues in dispute are identified as early as possible

…obligations on practitioners and parties to identify relevant material as early as possible

You cannot miss the point there, can you? Read the rest of this entry »

Early case assessment still alive and well

June 1, 2010

One of the odder suggestions which I heard at CEIC 2010 in Las Vegas was that “early case assessment” was yesterday’s idea and that it was time to move on to the next one. On reflection, I decided that the speaker was talking marketing rather than common sense. He did not mean that we should stop making early assessments of cases, nor that we should consign to history the many excellent applications which have been given that label. He was just looking for a new catchy phrase.

Part of the problem, I think, is that its appropriation as a marketing label has buried the fact that early case assessment is a process not a tool. Those big shiny capital letters do not help, and I prefer to talk of “early assessment of a case” – less snappy, perhaps, but a better description of what we are trying to do here. The software applications (and there are, as I say, some very good ones) are an adjunct, and a necessary one, to an approach to the case which depends first on the sophisticated technology which lies between your ears.

The subject comes up because, within days of my being told that ECA was dead, George Socha and Tom Gelbmann have written an article for Law Technology News called Don’t Box ECA which sets out the components of a prudent assessment of a case to be made before e-disclosure / ediscovery begins. It is, if you like, an industry-specific variant on the old expression “time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted”.

Time spent summarising the article, on the other hand, would be time wasted, and I simply point you to it. My thanks to Rob Robinson of Applied Discovery who, as usual, had tweeted a pointer to it before the metaphorical ink was dry.


Welcome to Recommind as a sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project

March 14, 2010

It is very good to be able to extend a warm welcome to Recommind as a new sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. As the focus for e-Discovery / e-Disclosure turns increasingly on to the way companies collect and manage data on their own systems, the addition of a provider who embraces enterprise search, e-mail management, records management e-Discovery and compliance is both appropriate and timely.

Recommind’s roots are in enterprise search. MindServer Search brings user-based relevancy tuning, that is, result sets which are boosted by input from the individual profile of the user. It also allows federated search, the ability to search across internal and external data sources with a single query. The result of indexing information from document management systems, intranets, contact management databases and websites are “concept models” which rank search results by relevance. Read the rest of this entry »

Free use of Equivio Early Case Assessment Software for up to one million documents

March 12, 2010

Equivio is offering to make its early case assessment application Equivio>Relevance available to a limited number of participants in what they call the Equivio>Relevance Challenge – see the press release and sign-up page for details.

Most lawyers can understand the basic concepts of keyword search, if only because they do it every day with Google. Because one can generally find something out of the mass with a Google search, it is tempting to assume that throwing a list of keywords at disclosure / discovery data will reduce the volumes of data to be reviewed – and so, of course, it will. Many lawyers will understand, or at least be aware of, the idea that a keyword search is flawed as an approach to identifying relevant documents, not least because “relevance” turns on many factors beyond the incidence of a particular word or words in a document – correspondence between fraudulent conspirators will contain neither “fraud” nor “conspiracy”, to take a trite example. Read the rest of this entry »

A proper welcome to Applied Discovery as a new sponsor

March 2, 2010

I promised a proper welcome to Applied Discovery when I put up a short post on 16 February to draw attention to the arrival of their logo. These Welcome posts are generally the only occasion when I invite collaboration on what goes into a post – generally, except where I am unsure of my facts or my authority to mention something, I write what I like. A first post to describe what a company does warrants co-authorship and, with Rob Robinson as their Senior Director of Worldwide Marketing, it seems daft for me to invent my own description. What follows is his:

Founded in 1998, Applied Discovery is a global leader in the delivery and management of electronic discovery services and support.   Part of LexisNexis since 2003 (a member of the Reed Elsevier Group), Applied Discovery leverages an extensive portfolio of resources, relationships, and research to help clients solve today’s and tomorrow’s discovery challenges.  Simply stated, Applied Discovery delivers multinational collection, analytics, processing, review and production services for law firms, corporations, and governmental entities engaged in audits, investigations, and litigation. Read the rest of this entry »

Legal Inc takes Digital Reef

February 24, 2010

Amongst the many applications at LegalTech which I was invited to look at but could not fit in was Digital Reef, which allows organisations to identify, collect, process, analyse and review data in place. The advantage of this, obviously, is that they need only move or export relevant information.

Digital Reef is not the only player in this space. I was interested, as much as anything, because Charles Lavallée, whom I knew from his time at CT Summation, has moved to Digital Reef and it was his invitation which I was unable to accept.

It looks as if I will get my chance on this side of the Atlantic because  Legal Inc has signed a hosting and reseller agreement with Digital Reef as part of their strategy to provide clients with a case management solution which begins at the client’s own data stores.

I have heard good things of Digital Reef from elsewhere, and if it is good enough for Legal Inc then it is worth looking at. I will do so and report back.


There is more to FTI Technology than Attenex and Ringtail

February 20, 2010

My self-imposed job description involves flitting between all the players in the electronic disclosure / electronic discovery world, picking up information and ideas from one place and dropping them in another. I talk to judges, lawyers and technology suppliers, read a lot of web-based information and exchange e-mails and tweets with people from every corner of the e-Discovery world – “world” in both the figurative and literal senses. I am interested in the court rules, the practice and the technology and in how they relate to each other.

I keep secrets where I have them – from working with lawyers on behalf of their clients or when I am told of pending technology or marketing initiatives, to say nothing of the gossip which flies around – but, on the whole, my role is to talk and write about what I hear or read. The only filter apart from confidentiality is whether I am interested and think that others will also be interested.

This is a privileged position – I have lots of privileges, but the ability to pick off only the things which interest me outranks the rest. It allows me, magpie-like, to pick out the bright and shiny things and leave the rest on one side.

AttenexOne of the bright and shiny things in the litigation software market is Attenex, whose visual analytics caught my eye some time ago for precisely the reason why they attract lawyers – they make it possible to grasp the overview and to drill down to the detail in a way which is simultaneously efficient and intuitive. Attenex is now owned by FTI Technology, as is the equally iconic Ringtail Legal.Ringtail FTI has now had time to bed these products down into their overall (and very broad) software and services offering and I thought I ought to go and see where they have got to and how the pieces fit together in the process. Craig Earnshaw, managing director of FTI technology in London, invited me in for an afternoon recently to bring me up to date. Read the rest of this entry »

CaseCentral CARtoon – what drives Toyota’s eDiscovery purchasing strategy

February 8, 2010

CaseCentral’s Case in Point cartoon series maintains its quality with this week’s one in which Toyota explains what drives its eDiscovery purchasing strategy.

CaseCentral - Toyota's eDiscovery StrategyI spotted a judge at LegalTech wearing a No Processing badge which emanated (anonymously) from CaseCentral.  Full marks for the marketing.


Some statistics from Equivio>Relevance

January 29, 2010

I have recently written a white paper about Equivio>Relevance and was subsequently interviewed about it by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel – both if these can be found on Equivio’s publications page.

A recent article by Marisa Peacock on CMSWire called Equivio makes Early Case Assessment more relevant adds some diagrams to illustrate the statistics which I mentioned in my paper. One shows the increase in the number of relevant documents found by Equivio>Relevance compared with a review team, and the other shows the rate at which the bulk of those responsive documents was found. The point of the latter, if that is not clear, is that if more of the relevant documents are found earlier in the process, the sooner the lawyers get to see the ones which matter. Read the rest of this entry »

FTI Technology 2009 IDC Survey defines the eDiscovery challenges

January 29, 2010

FTI Technology will be out in force at LegalTech, as you would expect from a  company whose range of products and services cover the full range of eDiscovery problems and solutions.

They commissioned an IDC survey which was published in 2009 and whose findings included the following:

  • Multinational litigation is growing more common. Close to 70% of panelists indicated that their companies are involved in legal matters with multinational requirements.
  • Most large matters take more than two years to resolve. 64% of respondents said their largest matter took over two years to resolve, and 35% indicated that their largest matter lasted for more than five years.
  • Data collection volumes are growing. The proportion of panelists whose average ESI collection per matter was larger than 2.5TB increased 18 points from 19% of panelists in the 2008 study to 37% of panelists in the 2009 study.
  • E-discovery budgets are flat or decreasing. 36% of respondents said their budgets were flat and 42% said their e-discovery budgets were declining.

If none of this is surprising, it is helpful to have it backed by some statistics. Read the rest of this entry »

Autonomy eDiscovery Appliance – chaining law firms and clients together

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 »

Guidance Software launches EnCase eDiscovery 4 with help from Twitter and YouTube

January 22, 2010

Guidance Software has released EnCase E-Discovery 4, which offers a pre-collection analytics capability as well as the ability to analyse and review ESI throughout the key discovery processes – during a legal hold, during forensic data collection, post- collection, during and after processing and on into first-pass review. This brings all these phases within the reach of an in-house team – and since that seems to be the way the world is going, the release is timely.

Guidance Software is getting good at using alternative forms of media to get information out to the world – I wrote approvingly about a video on EnCase Portable (see Show me more like this) last August because it showed a hands-on guy getting his hands on an application and showing us how to use it. Read the rest of this entry »

Anacomp ECA Webinar 20 January – measuring and managing eDiscovery

January 20, 2010

A reminder that Anacomp, owners of review platform CaseLogistix, have a live webinar today, Wednesday 20 January, called Beyond the Buzz: Measuring and Managing eDiscovery with Early Case Assessment.

Tom O’Connor and Chuck Kellner, along with Chris Smith, Senior Product Manager at Anacomp will discuss:

  • What is ECA? Perspectives from Then and Now
  • The Goals
  • Measurement and Management
  • ECA as a Managed Process
  • Achieving the Desired Outcome: How ECA Supports the Other eDiscovery Phases.

The registration page is here.

Anacomp now has a library of litigation support webinars which provide a painless way to absorb useful information from industry experts.


Interview with Metropolitan Corporate Counsel about Equivio>Relevance

January 14, 2010

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel has published an interview based on a long conversation which I had with them before Christmas. The title is Trainable E-Discovery Software Offers Cost Savings and the subject is Equivio>Relevance.

The main theme of the interview was the extent to which lawyers can rely on modern software applications to help them get quickly to what is important from a large collection of documents. This is not just a matter of having a “defensible” process in the sense of one which can be justified to opponents or to the court. The first person who must be convinced is the lawyer himself. Before any lawyer will delegate any part of the process to a machine (for that is how many of them see it) he must be convinced that the result will be at least as good as would be obtained by manual review. In practice, of course, manual review is neither practicable nor all that it is cracked up to be in terms of its accuracy, even before the comparative costs are brought into account – manual review means lawyer time, and that means expense. The technology discussed in the interview cuts through much of that expense, to say nothing of the elapsed time to a conclusion. Read the rest of this entry »

Gartner, Hong Kong and civil servants inspire reader comments

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 »

Gartner points to non-US E-Discovery market growth

December 17, 2009

Gartner predicts an eDiscovery software market worth $1.2 billion in 2010. More than 10% of that will be outside the US. Software suppliers may be ready to run with this, but where are the skilled people?

Gartner’s report of 16 December E-Discovery Software Marketplace is Set to Continue High-Growth Pace has inevitably interested the Twitterati today. Picture Shackleton glimpsing the South Georgia whaling station after his epic journey from Elephant Island; imagine a French Legionnaire seeing an oasis, a besieged wagon train catching the sound of the 7th Cavalry bugle or the defenders of Lucknow hearing Campbell’s relief column battling to lift the siege (I could go on for pages like this, but you get the picture – the end appears to be in sight).

Gartner foresees that worldwide eDiscovery software revenues will reach $1.2 billion in 2010, an increase of 23% over 2009. They point to “unplanned events” such as “litigation regarding bribery and corruption, foreign corrupt practices, securities and financial fraud, government contracting abuses, and healthcare fraud” as the main drivers for the growth which will, they say, bring market and technology consolidation, expansion of product and services portfolios and new customer bases. I have not read the report itself, but one can probably take it for granted that these conclusions are underpinned by Gartner’s usual research and analysis. Read the rest of this entry »

IQPC New York – minimizing risks, costs and challenges

December 3, 2009

Minimizing risks, costs and challenges is the title of the IQPC eDiscovery conference taking place in New York from 7 to 9 December 2009. I will not be there, but the agenda offers more opportunities than its title suggests.

I would have gone, for example, to the Judicial Perspectives panel which Patrick Burke of Guidance Software is moderating, with no fewer than six US Magistrate Judges. At the top of the six bullet points which form the agenda is Sedona Cooperation Proclamation – should lawyers cooperate with each other? It would be interesting, would it not, to get a glimpse now of the six hot topics for the agendas for, say, December 2012 or (which is more feasible) to look at old topic listings and compare and contrast them with today’s. When did “co-operation” first make an appearance on the agendas? Patrick is good at spotting what is coming next and, if my own experience on his panels is a guide, will make good use of his army of panellists. 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 »

Welcome to Stratify as new Project sponsor

November 18, 2009

I am very pleased to welcome electronic discovery software company Stratify as a sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. Their addition to the list of sponsors coincides with the opening of their London office and data centre, as well as Stephen Whetstone’s welcome appearance as a panellist at the Thomson Reuters conference last week.

Stratify is a subsidiary of Iron Mountain, Inc., the information protection and storage services giant. Iron Mountain has long-standing facilities and clients in the UK and EU (see the Iron Mountain UK site) as well as elsewhere in the world. There is no technical reason why the data must be close at hand, but EU clients want not only to have personal contact with their discovery suppliers but must be able to house their data within the EU for data protection and privacy reasons. Iron Mountain’s storage and data security infrastructure and experience will be comforting factors. The Iron Mountain press release sets out the business proposition for potential clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Jackson Litigation Costs Review consultation ends

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 »

Once bitten is twice shy – but you may find that things have changed

July 31, 2009

My experience of trying voice recognition software again after a failed experiment some years ago, has messages for those who have not caught up with developments in litigation support software.

I have come back to voice recognition software after many years of assuming that it was an unwieldy and inaccurate method of transferring words from head to screen. I am immediately hooked and regret all those years spent crouched over a keyboard. Or do I? Is it possible that I have come back to it just at the point where it has reached a level of accuracy which is adequate for my needs, and just when those needs are greatest?

The e-disclosure context here is all those potential users of litigation support applications who dip their toes into the water once and retreat vowing never to try again. Some inadequacy, ranging from an outright system failure which lost their case through to a minor annoyance which became too tiresome to tolerate put them off, often with cries of “I told you so” ringing in their ears. Read the rest of this entry »

Australia at the centre of the discovery world

June 28, 2009

The default map of the world shows Britain in the middle and near the top, with Alaska at top left and New Zealand at bottom right. Perhaps that is because Europe invented the Greenwich Meridian; maybe it is a legacy of Empire or a conspiracy of cartographers (the phrase is Tom Stoppard’s);  possibly the maps in Australia are centred on Canberra, with Iceland and Cape Horn as their left and right extremes. By any measure, anywhere else is a long way from Australia. Its influence in the world of electronic discovery is disproportionately large. Read the rest of this entry »

Graphical display of thesaurus terms

June 4, 2009

The graphical display of discovery / disclosure information has been one of the most interesting developments in software designed for search of all kinds. It is specifically so for litigation document review purposes and, perhaps even more so, for early case assessments when you are trying to find out just what the scope is of your document universe.

One of the distinguishing features of such a task is that the searcher often has no real idea of what the search will turn up. In most areas of research, you have a broad idea of the parameters of the hunt – I have been looking up flights and hotels recently, for example, and had the advantage of knowing that I was after a particular kind of information (a hotel, say) in a particular place (or places, given the particularly daft schedule which faces me over the next few days). Ranging shots in Google brought me to specialised databases which had fields to search in which corresponded with obvious inputs – dates, room-type, number of nights and so on – which are standard across most such resources.

Litigation is often not like that. You will, of course, have got from your clients some clues – names, date ranges, commonly-used words and so on – but whilst they may narrow the field, they are not conclusive as to what you might turn up, not least because you (if you are a lawyer) are an officer of the court as well as the client’s gladiator, and it is your practising certificate and insurance policy which is on the line. Read the rest of this entry »

Anacomp gets unqualified SAS 70 Type II security certification

April 17, 2009

Anacomp, which owns the litigation review platform CaseLogistix, has received a full unqualified SAS Type II certification for its hosting and operations centre at Herndon, Virginia. SAS 70 is an auditing standard established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants which allows service organizations to demonstrate they have adequate controls and processes.

You can read the press release to get the details. I do not, on the whole, concern myself with the infrastructure aspects. This is not because they are unimportant – far from it – but because my focus is on the user end, the business and legal context in which an application is used, and on the people who develop and sell it and who support the users. Read the rest of this entry »

Have the Woolf reforms worked?

April 16, 2009

An article in the Times of 9 April had the title Have the Woolf reforms worked? Written by Lawrence West QC, it makes an uncompromising start with the assertion in the first paragraph that “the reforms — known as the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) — have been a disaster for the civil justice system”. The right to access to justice is “illusory” and, judged by this standard, “the CPR have been an abject failure”.

West quotes some figures in support of his view that the number of civil actions in the year after 1999 “plummeted as if pushed off a cliff”. The statistical evidence is supported by this more anecdotal statement:

“Before the CPR, the corridor outside Court 12 in the Royal Courts of Justice, the Bear Garden and the Master’s Corridor heaved with lawyers and their clients waiting hearings. Those places have been wastelands ever since.”

You can guess at my support for this viewpoint from the fact that I long ago chose to give the title “The Empty Bear Garden” to my keynote speech for the 8 June Ark Group e-disclosure conference Practical Guidelines to e-Disclosure Management. The Bear Garden is a space in the RCJ at which several corridors, staircases and doors intersect. It has become a gauge of court activity, like a cardiac monitor in a hospital drama. A cardiac monitor makes a noise, however, when it is flat-lining. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to FTI Technology as a sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project

April 9, 2009

It is very good to welcome FTI Technology as a sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. FTI Technology is a segment of FTI Consulting, Inc., a global business advisory firm, and brings immense resources to bear on the acquisitions and the software development needed to produce a world-class platform for disclosure / discovery.

As usual, I see no point in copy-typing or edit-pasting the perfectly good prose of a well-written press release, and refer you to FTI’s announcement of 27 January 2009 which sets out succinctly what FTI have done with their two flagship electronic discovery acquisitions Attenex and Ringtail Legal. Put shortly, they have integrated the advanced analysis, clustering, rapid review and graphical visualisation strengths of Attenex and the review, redaction and production capabilities of Ringtail.

In layman’s terms (since, as I say, you can read the formal descriptions for yourself) Attenex ploughs through large (very large if that is what you have) data collections, and helps identify material you either want to discard or to review, serving it up in batches. The clustering and visualisation tools allow quick overviews in a form which allows the reviewer to drill down to document level if necessary and to make decisions which both carry through into the detailed review stage and inform decisions about subsequent batches of documents. Ringtail Legal allows you move straight on to the detailed review without having to move the data between applications. Read the rest of this entry »

KordaMentha picks EnCase from Guidance Software for Australian eDiscovery

April 9, 2009

Like sport and so much else, the idea of proving a legal case by discovery of documents is an old English concept which was adopted wherever the English had a hand in establishing a system of law. America kept it when it dumped our tea, our taxes and our King. Australia adopted it with the same enthusiasm as it adopted cricket. A couple of weeks ago, Hong Kong was host to both the Rugby Sevens and our Senior Master Whitaker talking about UK disclosure developments. Discovery is central to Canadian litigation, and Master Whitaker is due to speak about it in Singapore later in the year.

Three things unite all these countries apart from their common law heritage. The problems raised by electronic disclosure are the same everywhere; those of us involved in developing rules and best practices around the world all speak to each other; and there is a handful of suppliers whose applications are used wherever electronic data must be collected and handled for litigation or for regulatory investigation. The resulting cross-fertilisation has obvious benefits – what works in one place will probably work in another, and if an approach tried in one country is seen to have failed, then it is as well to know about it before another jurisdiction goes down the same track. The things I talk about in Birmingham or Bristol are informed by what I Iearn in Sydney or New York, and it would perhaps surprise UK judges and lawyers to know how much interest there is in those places in what happens in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Catching up with KPMG

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 »

Zander sees his Woolf CPR predictions justified

March 25, 2009

Michael Zander QC, now Emeritus Professor at the LSE, was a forthright and eloquent critic of the Woolf reforms which led to the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999. Few took much notice of his predictions, least of all Lord Woolf. I was amongst the vast majority who ignored him, won over I think in retrospect, by Woolf’s eloquence and industrious decency in tackling the twin evils of delay and cost.

It was a shock to open the rather large new rule book and discover that all Woolf’s emphasis on the role of technology – particularly in respect of disclosure – had been reduced to a single reference to the word in the overriding objective. I also recall a sense of growing unease on seeing the sum total of the new burdens which fell on practitioners at the early stages of a case – each of them had been widely debated in the run-up to the final version of the rules, but seeing them altogether simply did not square with the fact that relatively few cases went to trial anyway. How could it be right to impose on every party to every case a set of duties and obligations designed to reduce a burden which was irrelevant to most cases even under the old rules? Read the rest of this entry »

Autonomy panel at LegalTech points to proactive clients – and lawyers

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 »

E-Disclosure Taster Menu in Bristol

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 »

Judge Facciola LegalTech messages are for UK as well as US lawyers

February 17, 2009

There was something almost surreal about the discovery that the LegalTech organisers had failed to record US Magistrate Judge John Facciola’s keynote speech, given that Facciola regularly delivers Opinions castigating parties either for faulty decisions about technology or for technological incompetence. Did someone decide “Nah. It’s only that Italian guy – let’s not bother” or did someone press the wrong button on the tape recorder? Whatever the cause, it is a pity. The speech, like many of John Facciola’s Opinions, should be compulsory listening for lawyers and judges, and as much on the UK side of the Atlantic as on his.

The speech was introduced by Neil Aresty of Legal Computer Solutions, Inc. Aresty made reference to the “Christmas Eve decision” in Covad Communications v Revonet. A paragraph from that decision will suffice to set the scene and to show why Judge Facciola strikes a chord in the UK. Speaking of an archaic form of document request which ignored the last 40 years of technological development, he said:

“While I have considered a similar provision in depth once before, I see no need to repeat that metaphysical exercise here because it is a waste of judicial resources to continue to split hairs on an issue that should disappear when lawyers start abiding by their obligations under the amended Federal Rules and talk to each other about the form of production. I would much prefer to carry out my duties in accordance with Rule 1, which provides that the rules “should be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” Read the rest of this entry »

LegalTech lessons for lawyers from extinct species

February 10, 2009

Only one practising UK commercial lawyer came to LegalTech in New York. Recession hit the litigation support industry before our eyes. One of the recurring themes there was that the clients are taking discovery in house.  Down the road we saw some other extinct species

As if LegalTech itself were not enough, Sunday, my first full day back from New York, lasted for 24 hours, thanks to disrupted sleep patterns, a full InBox and a five hour meeting discussing potential discovery developments in Australia and AsiaPac.

You know better by now, I think, than to expect a dutiful account of LegalTech. You get from me little in the way of faithful reports of worthy sessions, no deep market analysis, no breathless interviews with industry leaders. Others, I know, sit on the special pews reserved for bloggers and have their reports filed before the speaker has made it to the bar. I got to few sessions, although I did turn up, I think, to all those I was booked to speak at. There is no shortage of industry leaders to talk to – you bump into CEOs in corridors or go up to their eyries above cloud level at the Warwick Hotel – but journalistic scoops are not really my style and I am content to wait for the press releases. I am into broader sweeps than the last big sale or the next major release. Read the rest of this entry »

Autonomy to buy Interwoven

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 »

Autonomy CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

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 »

Identify early and co-operate in 2009

December 24, 2008

As I sign off for Christmas, I would like to thank all those who have sponsored, supported or in any other way encouraged the e-Disclosure Information Project in 2008 and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It is only a month since I did a round up to cover the Project’s first birthday. Since then, we have had yet a third new e-disclosure case in the UK, Abela v Hammonds, and LDSI has joined the sponsors.

There is already a great deal planned for next year: the conference diary is filling up; my Law Society seminar tour will take up again; there should be a good UK showing at LegalTech in New York; there are plans afoot for co-operation with US, Australian and Canadian judges, rule makers and thought leaders with, I hope; a visit to each of these countries in March/April; there is a Technology Questionnaire to launch and a Practice Direction to draft; I hope to repeat in other UK cities the talk we gave in Birmingham at which we showed judges, barristers and solicitors some of the applications which are used in electronic disclosure; Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy and I are plotting an e-disclosure conference on our own model; with the Project format now established, I am looking forward to yet more interaction with its sponsors; as well as going to see and speak to people on their own patches in the UK and abroad, I hope to entice more visitors to come to Oxford and kick ideas around on Port Meadow, as I have done several times this year. Read the rest of this entry »


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