ILTA brings Insight to legal technology in London on 14 November

October 29, 2013

I am an unabashed enthusiast for the International Legal Technology Association, ILTA, whose big US conference every year is one of the high points of my (over-full) conference calendar.

It has three key elements which are critical to lawyers everywhere – the high quality of its sessions, the peer-to-peer principles of shared understanding and knowledge which are fundamental to its foundation, and the opportunity to supplement the formal exchange of shared knowledge with informal networking. It is a catalyst for ideas – which is why my post in advance of the main show in Las Vegas was called Catalyst for ideas at the ILTA annual conference in Las Vegas.

ILTA InsightAll that comes to London (shorn of some of the side-attractions which Las Vegas offers) on 14 November with a one-day event, ILTA Insight 2013, at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel which offers a packed programme and the other things mentioned above in exchange for a registration fee of – zero.

The Agenda is here. The discovery-related sessions include one called the Ins and Outs of information governance, one called Budgeting and eDisclosure, and my own one called Non-traditional sources of electronic evidence.

Other subjects include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and mobile working, document collaboration, the ever-developing subject of BYOD (Bring your own device) and the use of social business tools in legal practice.

In addition, there is a keynote by futurist Rohit Talwar in which he shares the findings from ILTA’s Legal Technology Future Horizons Project, a discussion about how businesses have adapted to change where others have not, and discussions about the route to the future from now.

The Co-Chairs are Janet Day, IT Director at Berwin Leighton Paisner, and Gareth Ash, CIO at Allen & Overy. The majority of the speakers are people who get their hands dirty daily within law firms and who are willing to share their experiences.

My own primary aim in going, apart from the sessions in which I am participating, is the opportunity to talk and listen to the people who have the problems and those with the experiences of solving them.

Registration, as I say, it’s free. It is, of course, necessary to register your intention to attend – you can do that here. I hope to see you there.

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ILTA and Rohit Talwar – a project to analyse technology disruption and change

August 14, 2013

ILTA is running a project on the impact of technology on legal practice, with the futurist Rohit Talwar. The results will be delivered at ILTA Insight 2013 in London in November.

After the ILTA / ALM technology conference in Hong Kong, I wrote a long article reporting on a speech made by futurist Rohit Talwar. I called it The Ghost of Legal Services Yet to Come – a Futurist tells of things that may be in which I pulled out of the speech those things which had the most obvious relevance to the foreseeable future for law firms and barristers.

That speech was my introduction to a project being run by ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) whose purpose is to analyse the effect of the potential disruption of technology and practice of law. The original press release about the project explains the ambitions for the project. The key areas for study are:

  • Key driving forces shaping business and the legal profession.
  • A timeline of future IT developments.
  • How to leverage IT advances that help enable and enhance tomorrow’s legal organizations.
  • Possible scenarios for the role and management of IT in tomorrow’s legal organizations.
  • IT imperatives specific to law firms, legal departments, and legal technology providers.

Monica Bay now brings us up to date about this in an article on the Law Technology News site called ILTA Charges Into the Future.

Many lawyers will dismiss such studies as having no relevance to their daily practice; they have letters to write, documents to draft, full InBoxes and next quarter’s rent to pay, and you won’t catch me underestimating the effect of all this on forward planning because I have much the same cluttering up my life.  There are, however, rival views as to whether law firms in their present form are doomed; every other industry makes its plans on the basis of the world as it will be next year and in three and five years time and there is no obvious reason why lawyers should approach their businesses differently.

The results of ILTA’s project will be delivered not in the US but at ILTA Insight 2013 in London on 14 November 2013. There is to be a strong eDisclosure / eDiscovery track at that event in which I am participating. Rohit Talwar’s keynote speech will be another reason for attending ILTA Insight (which, incidentally, has no registration fees).

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Catalyst for ideas at the ILTA Annual Conference in Las Vegas

August 6, 2013

ILTA_The_CatalystILTA is the International Legal Technology Association. Its 36th Annual Educational Conference “The Catalyst” takes place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas between 18 and 22 August. Its website, comprehensive as always, covers everything you could need to know.

[A note for the purists, of whom I am generally one. It sticks in the throat to write "Caesars Palace" without an apostrophe, but that is what the place is called and accuracy trumps purity. Las Vegas is a great conference venue, but it is not a seat of learning - except when ILTA is in town.]

Caesars

ILTA is one of the few events which I attend whether I am speaking or not – indeed, much of the pleasure and value comes from going, as I am this year, with an entirely open agenda. I have formal meetings arranged, of course, with those who sponsor the eDisclosure Information Project or who might do so, and I will see many other people there, including many I don’t know or don’t expect to see. That, to me, is the biggest single benefit to be gained from mixing for several days with a very broad cross-section of the eDiscovery world.

If a lot of what I know comes from hours of reading, from sitting in sessions, and from proper meetings with agendas and stuff, a lot more comes from casual conversation in bars and restaurants. Who is recruiting and who is laying off? What really works and what is all fur and no knickers? Is it really true that…? Did you hear that…? I’m drinking one to every three going down everyone else, soaking up the market vibes, sniffing the breeze and mentally evaluating what I am hearing and why I am being told it, sifting news from gossip from special pleading from wishful thinking. The market gossip is interesting, but what really matters are the portents of big shifts – the recurring subjects, what the clients are asking for, what they are turning their back on. I don’t process it in a formal, statistical way as an analyst would do, but just soak it up and add it to what I know already. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2012 Part 5 – Future ILTA events

October 1, 2012

This is the last of my series of articles about the ILTA conference in Washington in August. What else is ILTA doing around the world?

ILTA has recently partnered with ALM, the owners of LegalTech. Apart from LegalTech itself, the next of these events is LegalTech Asia 2013 on March 4-5 at the JW Marriott in Hong Kong. I intend to be there.

ILTA also runs an event in London each year. Called ILTA Insight, this was a deliberately modest one-day event until this year when, again in partnership with ALM, ILTA put on a two-day event – the only one in the UK which attempts to bring eDiscovery / eDisclosure and the other components of legal technology together under one roof. We do not yet have a date for ILTA Insight 2013, but preliminary discussions suggest that it will be an attractive show for exhibitors and delegates alike, and across the whole legal IT field including eDisclosure / eDiscovery.

You do not need to wait until then. Regional Vice President Gareth Ash of Allen & Overy is keen to expand the membership of ILTA in the UK and Europe. As I suggested in an earlier article, if membership has benefits for Allen & Overy, Wragges and Bond Pearce then it has potential benefits for you, whatever the size of your firm. Why not drop Gareth Ash a line?

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ILTA 2012 Part 4 – The end of the show: the ILTA awards dinner

September 17, 2012

This is the fourth of five articles about ILTA 2012. Whatever may happen at other awards dinners, this one celebrates the people who lead by an example in an industry which needs them.

ILTA ends with a big dinner, with a comedian and awards. Between you and me, those elements usually add up to an event which I would cross the Atlantic to avoid. For the ILTA Peer Awards dinner, however, I am always prepared to stay an extra night when I could be asleep on an aeroplane heading home.

The draw is not generally the food or the comedian, though both were good. I go to support the principle that ILTA is a peer-driven organisation which encourages those who have the expertise to share it with others, and I am prepared to sit through the sonorous intonations of the announcer on the grandiloquent linking videos to see individuals, firms and companies singled out for taking a lead. The UK was up there – Bond Pearce was shortlisted for a couple of awards and Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy was in the top three for Litigation and Practice Support Champion, an award which went to Paige Hunt Wojcik of Perkins Cole. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2012 Part 2 – My own ILTA Conference

September 11, 2012

This is the second of five posts about ILTA 2012. In other posts I talk generally about the benefits of going to ILTA’s big conference, about some of the themes which emerged and about the ILTA Peer awards. This one is largely about my own time there.

I arrived on Saturday, partly because the air fares are lower then and partly to play myself in gently. I like watching conferences come to life, venues gradually filling up and empty spaces turning into a stage set with a big cast. The putative UK ILTA virgin to whom this post is directed would similarly appreciate a gentle start to an event which, once under way, proceeds at an unrelenting pace.

I went to only two sessions. One involved eDiscovery/eDisclosure experts from the US, the UK (Vince Neicho from Allen & Overy), Australia and Canada, which set out succinctly the developments in each jurisdiction. I hope to write about this separately.

The other was billed as The ESI debate is on! and was a free-form discussion whose participants were described as “passionate and cantankerous”. That sounded about right, for I was one of them. The others were George Socha and Patrick Oot, moderated by Browning Marean of DLA Piper US. You catch the flavour of it from the fact that the first question was framed as a debating motion, that “US discovery is much better than UK eDisclosure”.  I felt it necessary to preface my opposition to this motion by making it clear that, notwithstanding anything I was about to say, I was in favour of most things American except its eDiscovery and its coffee. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2012 Part 1 – Why you might want to go to ILTA next year

September 10, 2012

This is the first of five articles about ILTA 2012 in Washington D.C. Why do we go, what is it like, what conclusions can one draw about the market? The main aim is to encourage you to go next year, and to find out in the mean time what ILTA can offer you apart from its big conference.

If asked to explain what their father does, my children generally say “He’s a blogger”, ducking the inevitable follow-on question “No, I mean what does he do for work?”. If they were to add that he wanders around hotel lobbies having brief encounters with several people in succession, that does not make it clearer. That, however, was my major benefit at the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association, ILTA, in Washington D.C. at the end of August. Everyone is there.

There is more to ILTA’s annual conference than that of course, just as there is more to ILTA than its annual conference. You can make of it what you like: seeing technology solutions, attending sessions led by people who have been down that roll-out path ahead of you, hearing about the pros and cons of a proposed investment from those who have been there, or just talking to others. When you have done all that (and this is a hard-working conference for all its leisure elements) there is entertainment of pretty well every kind.

I do not propose in this post to recite all the people I met or the products which I saw – apart from the obvious risk of drawing fire from those whom I fail to mention (it happens), I value my readership, and nothing drives the audience away faster than lists. ILTA is not a place for big product launches, nor do you get startling pronouncements from influential figures. It is more a place for knowledge-sharing and, as one law firm person put it to me, for spending time with the more thoughtful people from the suppliers.

My purpose here is to give some impression of what it is like to attend ILTA’s big conference, with the aim of encouraging greater attendance from the UK (and anywhere else) next year. I will mention a couple of sessions and pass on some general ideas which came my way in the course of my many discussions, but the main aim is to try and convey why it is important to be here, and not just for Americans. Read the rest of this entry »


Short eDiscovery updates to 28 August 2012

September 10, 2012

I am increasingly using Google Plus to supplement the main articles in this blog. This allows me to cover a wider range of topics, mainly links to articles by others, to webinar announcements and to other things which would otherwise go unmentioned. These are quick and dirty posts, distinct from the generally longer posts on the blog itself. Apart from the speed and convenience of G+ for this purpose, every new post on the blog triggers an email alert to many regular readers, who will be driven away if I send them an email with every short post.

These compilations are in a fuller form than previous ones, which have been merely hyperlinked references. This format repeats the G+ articles and gives links to my G+ post, to the source file which is linked from G+, and to some to the names mentioned in the text. The purpose is partly to bundle them conveniently for blog readers who do not pick up these short posts from G+, or from my Twitter and LinkedIn pointers, and partly because of the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) benefits of the cross-links.

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FTI webcast – Survey Results: What Does Counsel Really Think About Predictive Coding?

This webcast has now taken place but is available for download

Ari Kaplan, Principal, Ari Kaplan Advisors
Barry Murphy, Principal, Murphy Insights
Joe Looby, Senior Managing Director, FTI Technology

While the promise of predictive coding is alluring, many questions remain for corporations and law firms. Where does the software end and the importance of workflow begin? What can lawyers do to effectively defend its use? Are companies using it successfully? How much money can it save?

FTI Technology commissioned an interdisciplinary survey of law firm leaders and senior corporate counsel to identify key trends and perspectives on the emergence of predictive coding. The interviews covered everything from high-profile court rulings and cost savings estimates to adoption inhibitors.

Attend this webcast to learn the survey findings and hear first-hand perspectives and practical advice for implementing predictive coding software and processes, including:

Fortune 1000 and Am Law 200 predictive coding adoption trends
Best matters on which to use predictive coding
Top areas of concern, including predictive coding as a “black box”

Published: 21 August 2012

G+ Post | Link to Source | FTI Technology Read the rest of this entry »


eDiscovery conferences coming up all over the place

August 21, 2012

I have updated the list of pending conferences on my web site, adding new ones and correcting dates, venues and URLs of those which have changed.

I have included some which I am not going to – the EDI Leadership Summit and Relativity Fest 2012 were originally ruled out by events which have now dropped off my calendar. I wanted very much to go to both of them, but my mother’s illness (she seems to be recovering, thank you to all those who have asked) argues against adding more events to the calendar whilst she is still in hospital.

First up is ILTA 2012 ac2dc, celebrating its 35th event anniversary next week. The venue is again the vast Gaylord National Resort and Conference Centre outside Washington DC, a place which manages to feel strangely intimate despite its vastness, at least during this most friendly of eDiscovery conferences.

ILTA prides itself on its peer-to-peer support ethos which gives it a different flavour to other conferences. As last year, it provides a mobile app which helps you to navigate the packed program. I am taking part in a session which deliberately has no specific subject – it is called The ESI Debate Is On! (Hashtag #LPSPG6) and its description reads “There has recently been much debate over eDiscovery topics, and this session is sure to touch upon them all! Join our eDiscovery industry leaders as they discuss hot topics that are not without controversy.”

The other panel members are Patrick Oot and George Socha. Browning Marean of DLA Piper is the moderator, so expect variety, unconventionality and, with any luck, something for us all to disagree about.

Although this is the longest conference of the year, it never seems quite long enough to see everybody. For me, it is an opportunity to catch up with those who sponsor the e-Disclosure Information Project, whether by appointment or by bumping into them.

The whole thing is pure pleasure so far as I am concerned, and being there for nearly a week takes some of the sting out of the tiresomeness of the travelling.

I will be writing separately about the other forthcoming conferences over the next few days.

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ILTA Insight in London 8 to 9 May 2012

January 4, 2012

ILTA, the International Legal Technology Association, works throughout the year to advance and share knowledge of legal technology developments, priding itself rightly on its peer to peer relationships between members. It has a major conference in the US each year – my main report on the 2011 event at Nashville was called ILTA 2011 – the end of the beginning? We’re just getting going and took its cue and its headline from a quotation given by Andrew Sieja of kCura in a pre-conference interview.

I also devoted a post The Needle on the Broken Record – why UK Law Firms should go to US Legal Conferences to the broader subject of the reasons why law firms should be ready to face threats from other players.

As I say in those articles, ILTA and its conferences have a great value for non-US lawyers – there is more commonality than difference in the business of using technology to work more efficiently, and ILTA’s remit is much wider than eDiscovery / eDisclosure. The point is not just to do as US lawyers do, but to anticipate, and fend off what I described the the Broken Record article in these terms:

The businesses competing for these distributed functions [the former provinces of law firms] will include Ernst & Young and its peers, and the likes of FTI ConsultingHuron Legal and Integreon who will be happy to leave the pure law to the lawyers whilst gradually supplanting them for everything else…..the legal consulting firms are out there mingling with the people who are driving new ways of delivering business, with those law firms who are looking to the future, and with the technology providers who will be their allies in producing the tools for new ways of working. Shouldn’t you be there too? Read the rest of this entry »


The Emerging Technologies Panel at ILTA 2011: remote collections and predictive coding

September 10, 2011

It would be fair to say that, more than two weeks on, my notes of  the Emerging Technologies panel at ILTA are less decipherable than I might have hoped. That is in fact a tribute to Daniel Lim of Guidance Software, Dominic Jaar of KPMG, Keven Hayworth of Morgan Lewis and Howard Sklar of Recommind, who, moderated  by Greg Buckles of eDiscovery Journal who made more good points than I could record.

Emerging Technology Panel at ILTA 2011I can take a shortcut by referring you to Greg Buckles own article ILTA 2011 – That’s a Wrap which gives a good summary of the ground covered. Some in the audience seemed disappointed that only two topics – remote collections and predictive coding – were covered. It is hard to see that much more could fit into a single session, or that any two topics are more important just now than collections which are simultaneously straightforward and comprehensive and the modern ways of cutting the time and cost of review.

The remote collections section focused on two apparently disparate ways of making forensically-sound collections without the risks implicit in custodian self-collection or the delay and expense of sending a forensic expert to each location. Dominic Jaar put the word “remote” into context by referring to Canadian mining companies 30 hours journey time away and to foreign collections which involve bureaucratic issues like work visas as well as technology barriers like low bandwidth. Cross-jurisdictional collections involve quite enough in the way of legal issues without these extra implications. Where it is not possible to collect across the network, a portable device using a pre-programmed dongle to define the scope of the collection and to ensure consistency across multiple collections is a more than adequate, and low-cost, alternative.

However the collection is made, the lawyers must strike a balance between the expense implicit in over-collection and the risks of under-collection. Dominic Jaar neatly bridged the session’s two topics by wishing for a merger between the selection power of predictive coding and the collection capabilities of remote collection tools. Perhaps we will get there by 2013, but we have first to get acceptance for predictive coding as a defensible technology. This, as Greg Buckles indicates in his article, was the main theme of the predictive coding section of the session. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2011 – the end of the beginning? We’re just getting going

September 1, 2011

Gaylord exteriorI am back from the annual conference of ILTA, the International Litigation Technology Association, in Nashville, Tennessee.  The original draft of this post said that I was “just back” but (as more than one correspondent has reminded me) time has gone by without any post from me about it or about anything else. Catching up after two back-to-back conferences in opposite corners of the world plus an ever-busier Twitter stream and a few other things have kept me amused.  I will in due course do a couple of posts about the serious stuff at ILTA and I will point you to summaries by others of the product and company news which, however interesting and important, can be dealt with from my desk if it still seems interesting or important by the time I get to it.

Despite the best efforts of the PR people, I don’t cross the world to shut myself up in dark demo rooms or to hit the social scene. The breathless prose of the press releases offers little incentive; I don’t drink much, don’t party more than formal politeness requires, don’t really appreciate most corporate nights out unless they involve a table and a decent menu, and can’t stand shouting above noise. Why do I go each year?, someone asked.

As I have said in an earlier article, I had some formal reasons for going – I sat on a panel for Thomson Reuters and moderated a video session for Digital Reef. The real value, however, lies in ad hoc and informal conversations. Within a few hours of arriving, for example, I had lunch with Amir Milo and Warwick Sharp of Equivio, a conversation with Herb Roitblat of OrcaTec, and an extended early-morning coffee with Howard Sklar of Recommind; those who followed the predictive coding furore of a few weeks ago will note that these companies were in the front line trenches of that energetic debate. I could, in theory at least, ring up any of them for a chat at any time but it is only at ILTA that there is an opportunity for these impromptu discussions.

So what?, you say. You bumped into all your mates and had a nice chat. How pleasant to be able to do that in a grand hotel somewhere hot and call it “work”. Well, it is enjoyable, but it has a serious purpose as well. This post is largely anecdotal and aimed at giving the flavour of the event in the hope of encouraging you to go next year.

Carrying messages

Gaylord AtriumThe advertised pitch for the eDisclosure Information Project is that I carry news and views about eDisclosure / eDiscovery between judges, lawyers, clients and those who supply into the market. Some of that is done by sitting on panels, taking part in webinars and other one-to-many exercises; sometimes it involves reporting things which deserve a wider audience such as Judge Peck’s speech at Carmel and those of Singapore’s Chief Justice, of Lord Justice Jackson, and of Senior Master Whitaker at the recent conference in Singapore. Sometimes, however, it lies in one-to-one conversations which you can’t have if you just sit at home writing blog posts.

Talking to Equivio’s Warwick Sharp is like standing beside an expert at a pheasant shoot. Up go the arguments, bang goes the gun, and down they come lifeless to the ground. My role is to be the labrador who retrieves them. Our lunch discussion on that first day was about the arguments advanced against using sophisticated technology like predictive coding – not specifically Equivio’s  product but any of the high-end software applications which take input from senior lawyers on a subset of documents and use it to make relevance and other decisions about the rest. The only plausible argument against the use of such applications, if you discount the self-interest of  lawyers who make their money from setting large teams to read all the documents, is that there is as yet no court decision which expressly approves of the use of such technology.

As Judge Peck noted at Carmel, there is no decision approving the use of keywords either, and both he and Master Whitaker in Singapore addressed this primary objection. Warwick Sharp instead rattled off a list of uses for predictive coding which needed no judicial approval – QA of your own results and a quick assessment of your opponents’ discovery were amongst them. I did not need to go to Nashville to hear this, but there were many who had gone there for just that purpose.  Later that day, I met in quick succession two people whose role within their firms required them to marshal just these kinds of arguments for the benefit of their lawyers, and I passed on what Warwick had said more or less verbatim. That alone justified being there, and you only really get that kind of opportunity at ILTA, where the mix of educational and social events, coupled with the informality and relative leisure which differentiates ILTA from the frantic pace of LegalTech, encourages this kind of discourse.

The venue

Gaylord CascadesThe Gaylord Opryland Resort covers 56 acres; it has 2881 guest rooms, 220 suites, an atrium 150 foot high and 4.5 acres in extent plus a second atrium of an acre which comfortably swallows two waterfalls, tropical gardens, a restaurant and a bar; the resort has 15 restaurants in all, a river, and several hundred thousand square feet of exhibit hall and conference facilities. There were people whom I knew to be there amongst the 1200 registered delegates at ILTA whom I did not see at all.

You wouldn’t find me checking in here for a holiday, but the Gaylord resorts are perfect for an event like this, provided that you don’t mind a 20 minute round trip between the conference centre and your room, as I had. The big events  - the opening party, the  big sessions and the final dinner – fitted comfortably into the cavernous rooms but there are plenty of quiet corners for conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2011 comes to life at Nashville

August 21, 2011

ILTA 2011 is slowly coming to life downstairs, but the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is so large that I am getting my information about it from tweets rather than from my own observation – there could be a London-style riot going on at the other end of this complex and you would not know it. I will put up some photographs in due course, though you really need the wide-angle lens which I left at home to get any impression of this place.

I’m not convinced that I could accurately have pointed to Nashville on a map before planning this journey and, indeed, since I don’t plan my journeys any more (my blessed wife does it for me) the journey just involved following instructions. BA gave me what they call an “involuntary upgrade”, with that curious implication that one might decline the opportunity to sleep horizontally, be offered food which is actually edible, and have access to a power outlet.  Changing terminals at JFK was a doddle thanks to the inter-terminal train, and it is worth recording (because one often hears differently) that the airline and security staff were welcoming and helpful, with apparently spontaneous smiles and offers of help if one looked at all uncertain.

On the small plane from JFK to Nashville I came across Charles Christian of the Orange Rag, the Legal Technology Insider and the American Legal Technology Insider, Rob Lancashire of digital dictation company BigHand, and legal technology writer Joanna Goodman. Charles introduced me to Rob Lancashire as “an expert on digital dictation” which is rather like introducing an occasional car driver to a Formula 1 engineer as an “expert on cars”. I am merely a user, whereas Rob Lancashire is BigHand’s managing director for UK legal and professional services. Read the rest of this entry »


Three new sponsors and HP buys Autonomy – all in a week’s work

August 20, 2011

This was never going to be a relaxing week, sandwiched as it was between a conference in Singapore and ILTA 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least I had written all my Singapore articles by the time I landed at Heathrow at dawn on Monday, with their themes of judge-led litigation processes, judicial intolerance of eDiscovery unreadiness and South East Asian business and educational ambitions.

ILTA is a fixed entry in the calendar of anyone interested in litigation technology. On the surface, it is a more relaxed event than most of the others, taking place in high summer, in casual attire rather than suits, in a resort, and spread over five days. A lot happens there, however, quite apart from the fact that Nashville is a long way from Oxford, England or, indeed, from anywhere – the journey time is the same as to Singapore with the added excitement of having to change terminals at JFK.

Like certain other things – conflicts between my sponsors, the revolting coffee on aeroplanes, and the unwanted attentions of legal PRs – these things go with the territory which I have staked out for myself, and are a small price for involvement in a global business which is worth billions, which I am passionate about, and which is occupied by interesting and likeable people. it is also a young industry, with the opportunity which that brings to make the weather and not merely to report on it.

What makes that possible is my involvement with those companies whose logos appear on the right-hand side of this page. Between them, they cover the full range of software and services used for electronic discovery in every jurisdiction in which discovery is a relevant concept. Their sponsorship does more than provide the time to write and the opportunity to go where the action is. It also gives me a direct line to the senior people in the industry, and the ability to get involved with the development of rules and the connections with judicial thinkers, things which do not of themselves create a viable business.

The addition of three new sponsors in one week may be a coincidence; I think in fact that it tells us something about the state of the eDiscovery and information governance market and the direction in which it is going. Read the rest of this entry »


Huron Consulting goes with Nuix

August 16, 2011

I rarely pass on press releases without some accompanying context, focusing on a few big articles rather than many snippets, but this one headed Huron Consulting replaces Autonomy with Nuix caught my eye as it was published.

Nuix provides software for electronic discovery, investigations and for information governance. Huron Consulting Group provides a range of business consulting services including eDiscovery and related services under the banner Huron Legal. Huron recently acquired the well-known UK-based eDiscovery service provider Trilantic.

Nuix is a pure software company, making its applications available either in-house or through services providers like Huron and many others. To have someone in Huron’s league say of Nuix that “there really was no competition” is a good endorsement to have.

Both Nuix and Huron will be at ILTA 2011. Nuix is offering a “$1,000 giveaway” to those who follow it on Twitter and tweet the phrase found on their competition page. Judging by the number of hits I have found for “Nuix” whilst searching Twitter for a link to the Huron article, Nuix is gaining many followers with this idea.

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UK Law Firms should come to ILTA 2011 – August 21-25 in Nashville

June 12, 2011

ILTA is the International Legal Technology Association, an organisation committed to encouraging the advance of technology in law firms and, just as importantly, the advance of law firms by the use of technology. Its guiding principle is peer encouragement – the idea that we can best acquire knowledge, information and confidence by mixing with those who face the same issues as we do.

ILTA has events and programs running throughout the year, including ILTA Insight in London each April (see my report of ILTA Insight 2011 and Joanna Goodman’s much fuller one on the Orange Rag). ILTA’s main conference takes place towards the end of August each year at a suitable US venue. The word “suitable” connotes several things, one of which is mere size, because thousands of people attend from every corner of the legal IT world. Other requirements include a certain level of comfort, with leisure attractions on- and off-site for participants and, perhaps, their families – this is the height of the summer holiday season. Last year’s conference was at Las Vegas (my report is here), which comfortably met all these criteria.

ILTA 2011ILTA 2011 takes place this year in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort from August 21-25. These Gaylord Resorts are vast and, as the Resort web site shows, there is something for everyone, not least the music for which the city is famous. Tasteful it ain’t, at least to British eyes, but you can go to Georgetown or the German castle at which I spoke last week if you want taste. I go for the programme, for the company, and for the opportunity to share views and experiences which is what ILTA was established to provide.

That exchange of views is as valuable to a UK lawyer or law firm IT director as to his or her US counterpart. If you run your eye down the packed agenda, you will see subjects which affect UK firms of any size. If your perception is that all US law firms are vast, wealthy and remote in kind from your own firm, then that perception is just not right. The majority of firms are relatively small, with the same pressures to cut costs and work efficiently as face UK firms, both for their own sakes and for the benefit of their clients. The agenda reflects that, and on subjects much wider than my own particular interest in eDiscovery / eDisclosure. This is what I said last year:

Not so very long ago, the role of IT departments was to provide passive services – an accounts system, a contacts database, word processing and print services. If that is all you have now – well, send your managing partner and IT director to ILTA next year, if you are still in business next year.

Your Pound buys a lot of US Dollars at the moment. As I write, BA will get you there and back for £826, and you could probably do even better by shopping around. Why not come to ILTA 2011?

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ILTA Insight 2011 in London

April 8, 2011

You may have noticed some recent diversification in the subjects which I cover. I have moderated a couple of US panels on law firm technology generally, written and spoken on the use of social media, and covered the Bribery Act. The latter has an obvious crossover into e-disclosure / ediscovery (one of my talks this week, for example, was entitled “UK Bribery Act adequate procedures: kicking information management up the agenda”); the others I do mainly because any pure e-disclosure talk or article will necessarily reach only those who are at least partially converted already, and these extra-curricular activities take me (and therefore my main subject) to new audiences. I enjoy doing them, but have no ambitions to challenge the pre-eminence of Charles Christian or Joanna Goodman in covering the broader field.

ILTA is the International Legal Technology Association, whose role (in its own words) is “sharing knowledge and experience of those faced with challenges in their firms and legal departments”. Its main annual event, this year from 21 to 25 August in Nashville, is an unbeatable opportunity to mix with people who share the same challenges as well as with those who offer solutions across the full range of legal technology including, but not limited to, the e-discovery/e-disclosure topic which is my primary interest. It would be good to see some more UK lawyers there this year.

ILTA runs a one day conference in London each year called ILTA Insight. It had no pure litigation content this year, but a wide range of other topics were covered on the agenda and it was, as always, attended by a diverse set of law firms. I imagine that Charles Christian’s Orange Rag will produce a proper report in due course, and I will content myself with three snippets picked up from the sessions which I attended: Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA Insight in London on 5 April

March 21, 2011

St Pauls CathedralILTA, the International Legal Technology Association, holds a one-day conference in London each spring called ILTA Insight. This year it is on 5 April at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel which, as its name implies, is centrally and conveniently located.

Charles Christian has helpfully summarised the program on the Orange Rag, giving me the choice between repeating his work, copying it, or linking to it. The latter seems to combine ease and propriety, so I point you to Charles’s article which gives the website details, the e-mail address of Peggy Wechsler, the Program Director, and a PDF of the program.

This is always a good event for anyone interested in the wider aspects of legal IT, not just for the sessions (a good selection, as always), but for the chance to speak to others who may be going down the same path as you. I am doing a New Law Journal panel elsewhere in the morning with Drew Macaulay of First Advantage Litigation Consulting amongst others, but will be along later.

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ILTA 2010 in Las Vegas: Strategic Unity, Defensibility and the Cloud

August 31, 2010

ILTA 2010 Strategic UnityILTA is the International Legal Technology Association. I am now back from ILTA 2010 Strategic Unity in Las Vegas, which was as busy and as good as ever. The red hot bloggers and tweeters were reporting on events as they happened. As usual, I prefer to wait and see what I can still remember a few days later, and to write about what interests me rather than what is seen objectively as important. My background post What happens in Las Vegas matters in the UK was a play on the old saying that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. These days, what happens in Vegas stands a good chance of being on FaceBook or Twitter in minutes, and the nearest I came to vice involved a new taste for cocktails, and cheesecake for breakfast (not, as my first draft had it, “cocktails and cheesecake for breakfast”, which just goes to show the importance of proper punctuation).

This avoidance of vice owed nothing to innate virtue. Between the educational sessions, the formal meetings, the social events and the random rencontres, there was no time for the more traditional Vegas pursuits of gambling, shopping, spur-of-the-moment marriage and energetic physical interaction with broad-minded fellow-delegates. I must improve my time-management next time. Read the rest of this entry »


Getting the timing right

August 19, 2010

The run-up to ILTA is not a good time to give the impression that I am too busy to take note of what is going on.  It is a time of product launches, when all the players in the e-discovery / e-disclosure market have something to say, so my InBox floods with press releases and every PR consultant in the market wants to make an appointment for ILTA; it is also the point when conference organisers need to get their Autumn programmes sorted out, with bullet points, flights and hotel bookings to organise.

I have been largely out of it all for a couple of weeks.  I made a deliberately oblique reference in my last post to “an unexpected domestic matter …. which has much of my attention for a few days”, but it is perhaps helpful to explain what I meant, in case I have been coming across as evasive or over-stretched, neither of which is true. Besides, my wife thought that the reference to an “unexpected domestic matter” sounded as if she had run off, and although she is out as I write, I  think she will be back later.

What was unexpected was that my father died a few days ago – no claim to uniqueness in that, of course, but it takes it out of you and you don’t get too much time to prepare. His transition from sounding fine to drawing stumps was very brief. Considerately, he chose the first week for months when we were all around, and gave us just enough notice to race down the motorway a couple of times to see him before he slipped off. He went down fighting – demanding his stick and his cigarettes, doing the crossword, and criticising what he found in the business pages of the paper – and I hope I make as good an end. Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome to Clearwell as new sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project

August 6, 2010

It is a great pleasure to welcome Clearwell Systems as the latest sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project. Given Clearwell’s present standing in the eDiscovery market, it is hard to realise that it was founded as recently as 2004 and had therefore been going only three years when I set up the Project.

How does one measure a player’s “standing in the eDiscovery market”? I do not purport to be an analyst, so my use of the word “standing” implies no comparative statistics or detailed research. One can look at Clearwell’s “Strong positive” rating from Gartner in 2009, and its “Top 5″ supplier ranking from Socha-Gelbmann in 2008, an the logos of its users on its home page – BP, Microsoft, Toyota, Walmart, FedEx and others – act as kind of reference, but my sense of their standing does not derive entirely from these things either. Nor do I get it just from the references which Clearwell attracts – a quotation from KPMG’s Paul Tombleson referring to the “simplicity and speed at which Clearwell processes data” appears on its home page, and Legal Inc’s web site carries an article called Legal Inc and Clearwell – cutting complex projects down to size .

What I am talking of is a less tangible sense than one gets from such hard factual sources. Clearwell gets mentioned a lot, amongst those who are potential users and amongst rivals, and in a way which conveys ubiquity; for the benefit of non-Latinists, that means they turn up everywhere. This goes beyond their appearances on product selection short-lists. Clearwell is, in addition, a regular and informed commentator on the market, with an active blog, a range of useful white papers, and tweets which do more than merely promote its own products. They also support TREC, the Sedona Conference and lead several EDRM projects. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA Insight 2010: lawyers risk becoming just part of the clients’ process

April 28, 2010

The most powerful single message from ILTA INSIGHT 2010, held in London yesterday, was that lawyers risk becoming merely part of the clients’ processes in a slot marked “insert lawyer here”. Technology must become part of the lawyers’ business processes, and not merely an adjunct to them.

St Pauls CathedralILTA INSIGHT 2010 took place yesterday at the Grange Hotel St Paul’s Hotel. Peggy Wechsler and her team put on an interesting programme, as ever, at an event which always manages simultaneously to be friendly but challenging. ILTA’s scope is much wider than my own specialist subject, e-Disclosure, embracing every aspect of bringing technology to the business of being a lawyer and, in consequence, has a delegate contingent which is wider than I usually see. There is a greater emphasis on law-firms-as-businesses, which tends to be side-lined at pure e-Disclosure conferences. It deserves a place there – the internal decision-making about this aspect of the litigation process should be driven as much by the firm’s own costs as by those incurred by the clients.

The British election has so far not thrown up a single defining slogan, that killer combination of words which simultaneously captures the mood and skewers an opponent. Abby Ewen of Simmons & Simmons came up with one at an ILTA INSIGHT session led by Charles Christian of Legal Technology Insider and the Orange Rag blog. The context was the identification of things which lawyers are good at, as opposed to all those other things which they do as part of their traditional work for clients and to the (relatively novel) idea that they are running a business. Abby said that  “not much of what lawyers do is all that clever stuff they went to university to learn”. It was important, she said, to “try and extract the things which lawyers are not very good at”. The corollary to that is that the clients are only interested in those things which the lawyers are good at, so that they, and the charging rates which go with them, are applied only when necessary. Read the rest of this entry »


Plenty to do in an ever busier eDiscovery market

April 22, 2010

It is very flattering when people write in to ask if I am all right because they have noted that the number of blog posts is down in a particular week, suggesting as it does that people do not merely read what I write, but look out for it.  It would, no doubt, be a very pleasant life if I could just sit in my office writing carefully-honed articles but, if that was all I did, I would soon run out of things to say. Furthermore, blog posts are not the only written output, and writing is not the only way of meeting my objective of spreading the word about e-Disclosure.

To allay the suspicions of those who may think that I have taken a week off, it is worth quickly summarising what has been going on. It is useful, periodically, to give some idea of the range of activities which promote the subject, because it shows how much activity there is in the market. Read the rest of this entry »


Hear Master Whitaker at ILTA INSIGHT 2010 on 27 April

April 14, 2010

ILTA INSIGHT 2010 takes place on 27 April at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel.  INSIGHT 2010 is ILTA’s 5th annual event in the UK and brings a pocket-sized and UK-focussed version of the excellent main ILTA conference, which I go to every year in the US.

It is an opportunity to hear from leading technologists and business strategists, from the UK and the US, who will share their expertise on matters of great interest to the legal profession. The main event so far as I am concerned (I am allowed to say this in an e-Disclosure blog) is a session called Technology as a Component in Lord Justice Jackson’s e-Disclosure Recommendations in which Senior Master Whitaker and I will discuss the technology aspects of e-Disclosure developments in England & Wales. In this area of case management, you cannot separate the operation of the rules and the use of technology – you have only to look at Master Whitaker’s own judgment in Goodale v Ministry of Justice (I wrote about it in Goodale v MoJ – a template judgment for active management of eDisclosure) to see that some understanding of the available technology solutions is required by judges and practitioners alike. This point was made by Lord Justice Jackson in his recent Report on Litigation Costs, whose only express recommendation on the subject was for education. The Jackson Report, the proposed new Practice Direction and ESI Questionnaire (the latter was annexed to the Goodale judgment) and some other recent cases will all be covered in our session.

There is plenty else going on, as the ILTA INSIGHT brochure shows. Other sessions include: The Evolution of Office, Traversing the Generation Divide, Business Processes (BPM, BPA and BI), The Future of the Traditional Desktop, 21st Century Collaboration, the Electronic Working in the RCJ, Electronic Evidence – Preservation to Production, and a presentation by LITIG on their Review of Case and Matter Management Systems.

There is no fee for law firm and law department professionals to attend this event, but space is limited.  Registering online at www.iltanet.org/INSIGHT2010, or by e-mail to Peggy Wechsler at peggy@ILTAnet.org.

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Big reception for Marean-Dale video

October 19, 2009

Browning Marean and I made two short videos at ILTA09 with Kina Kim of PivotalDiscovery. The “big reception” in my title refers to the venue rather than the reaction, but this means of conveying information is well worth doing.

Years ago, back in the late 1980s, I attended a video presentation course with my then law firm partners. The idea was not to prepare us to appear in moving pictures but to improve our general presentation skills by showing us where we went wrong when speaking in public. My own weakness, I discovered, lay not in how I looked when being filmed, but in what I did when I was merely in the background. I realised that I fiddled constantly, scratching imaginary itches, rubbing the side of my nose and generally moving about all the time. When I first stood in front of audiences, I had to remember to remove everything from my pockets to make sure that I did not jangle keys and coins whilst speaking.

I have kicked that last one, I think, but my most recent video appearance shows up a new bad habit – continuous hand gestures like a demented weather girl signing for the deaf whilst warning of stormy weather ahead. Read the rest of this entry »


New edition of American Legal Technology Insider

September 14, 2009

The current edition of the American Technology Insider is out, with Charles Christian’s report on ILTA 2009 and some spending statistics which are realistic rather than cheery in the short-term at least. There is also, as always, a succinct summary of the latest industry news.

The American Technology Insider introductory page explains what is covered in ALTi, and how you can get one delivered to your mailbox for free. There is also a section headed “For PR and marketing departments” which makes it clear that ALTi is news-driven rather than led by advertising.

The British version seems to have been  around for ever. The means of publication may have changed but the format and the style remains as it began, probably with a report of the implications for lawyers of Charles Babbage’s planned Differential Engine in 1822. There is no obvious reason to change a formula which works and, more than a year after the launch of the American edition, that formula seems to go down well there as well.

Consistent with its own emphasis on short, snappy reports, the new edition of ALTi carries a quotation from Donna Payne of the Payne Group: “If you can’t demo a product in 15 minutes, you don’t have a product”. The point, I think, is not so much whether you have a product as whether you can get an audience for it. I went round the ILTA booths asking for 15 minute demos. They all seemed a bit taken aback by this, but I have to say that they all rose well to the challenge.

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How was ILTA for you?

September 3, 2009

There are two halves to the question “How was ILTA for you?”. One is the personal reaction. Did I learn something and see some interesting technology? Did I meet interesting people? Did I have fun? The answer to all these questions is Yes, as I expected. The more serious question concerns the state of the industry, by which I mean the lawyers who are involved in e-discovery for litigation and regulation and their clients as well as those who provide software and services to them. Let’s take the easy bit first.

Gaylord National

I am luckier than most at ILTA. I have no responsibilities apart from talking to pleasant people about a subject in which I am interested. I have no stands to put up and man; I do not have to do any hard selling or make any buying decisions; such formal meetings as I have are a pleasure rather than a burden; I do not have projects running back in the office and anxious clients to keep contact with; I have no staff to be responsible for nor is anyone responsible for me. My sole “duty” is to see people I know and like, to meet people I do not know, and to write about some of it afterwards.

On that basis, I am easily pleased. The venue was just fine, the organisation impeccable, the sessions and booths interesting, and I was in conversation with agreeable people from arrival to departure except when I chose to sit quietly writing. A lawyer from the US, the UK, or anywhere else where documents are collected for civil proceedings could have informed him or herself at any level – those new to the subject get a gentle immersion which they can take at their own pace, whether in sessions, by going round the stands or by just talking to others; those who want a higher level of learning, technology or discussion can easily find it. Read the rest of this entry »


E-discovery double-act on video

August 29, 2009

A few days after advocating the use of YouTube videos to promote new ediscovery understanding, I found myself in one with Browning Marean of DLA. Appearing soon at a cinema near you – well, on PivotalDiscovery.com anyway.

Saxon swims with stickIf you put a labrador, like my dog Saxon, down almost anywhere – the Moon, say – it does not take him long to find a stick or tennis ball. He does not look for them, particularly, but they just turn up. Much the same is true of me at an e- discovery conference – I wander around, confident that I will soon come across somebody I know or total strangers who seem to know me (which is one up on Saxon who does not generally get hailed by passing tennis balls).

I was walking around the opening party at ILTA 09 having, as I thought, spoken to everyone I knew, when a figure detached herself from a crowd and introduced herself. It was Kina Kim of PivotalDiscovery. com which describes itself as “the community for ediscovery and litigation professionals”. PivotalDiscovery has links to other sites and articles (including, as it turned out, one of mine), a career portal, and an index of events. It also has videos, including some on YouTube, and can be followed on Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »


Collaborating to avoid the end of lawyers

August 29, 2009

I am not going to give you a full report of Richard Susskind’s talk to ILTA last week. Its basic premise is well-known to anyone interested in this area; I have written about it before; if you are interested, you would have read the book; and anyway, recording a Susskind speech is like trying to catch Niagara in a bucket. If you are not interested in what he says, then you will be dead commercially within five years anyway, whether you are in-house counsel responsible to the board, or a law firm hoping to receive instructions. This does not mean that you have to agree either with Susskind’s premises or his conclusions, but you do need to know what the arguments are.

Richard is not, it seems, much taken by my comparison between him and Private Frazer (see Richard Susskind End of Lawyers resources. Of course, (and as I acknowledged) a précis which characterises his message simply as one simply of doom ignores the fact that the title of his book The End of Lawyers? ends in a question mark. Even that chap who used to wander along Oxford Street with a banner proclaiming the imminent end of the world offered redemption to those who repented, and Susskind does the same. Redemption however, whether in business terms or in the wider spiritual context, lacks a simple road-map. We do not even have a destination, just the certainty that where we are is not the place to be. Recognising that much is a good start.

A better 'ole

Instead of summarising the lot, I will pick one or two of the points which Richard Susskind made which seemed to me to have particular relevance in the litigation support context. Read the rest of this entry »


Recruiting one’s strength for post-recession litigation support

August 28, 2009

The Litigation Support Peer Group had a session at ILTA09 called The Future of Our Litigation Support Profession: What Lies Ahead? These are the people who actually do the work, so their reports and their views are worth having. They, and the high-level recruiter who sat with them, were optimistic, and that looks like more than mere hype.

What is interesting about discovery and electronic discovery, at least from where I sit, is that it embraces everything from state policy down to the minutiae of data handling, passing on the way some sophisticated technology, board-level strategy in law firms and their clients, and wider concepts like justice, winning and the like. It is also interesting, however, in career terms and in how firms and companies set up, structure and run the business unit which handles disclosure / discovery. Amidst all these high-flown business, technical and philosophical areas are people, in ones and twos or in teams, who are actually doing the work. Lest the reference to “business unit” may seem to imply big teams in grand departments, I see it as embracing also a single person in a small firm whose management is of projects and outsiders rather than of  internal teams and who does not have to have responsibility for staff to need the tactical and strategic skills which were discussed in the session.

The Litigation Support Peer Group of ILTA is run by and for people like this. One of the many things that is interesting about the industry is that few have grown old working in it because it is itself too young (they may feel that they have aged fast, but that is a different point; Browning Marean claims to be 36, for example). Those in senior positions in litigation support have, by and large, transferred across either from the pure law side or from IT. Every firm has developed its own way of doing things, and three of those sitting on the panel are examples of those who have forged careers and taken on responsibility in what is a whole new area of practice. Read the rest of this entry »


Bigger in America

August 22, 2009

It is obvious why American discovery must necessarily be bigger than discovery anywhere else. Everything else is bigger here and it is perhaps a point of honour – there would be a sense of failure if any other country had bigger discovery exercises than America.

Rain at ILTATake the rain, for example. It was pouring down when I last left the US, after CEIC in Orlando in May. We could barely see the car in front as we drove to the airport. That same storm seemed to have reached Washington today, as Nigel Murray of Trilantic and I drove towards the Gaylord National Resort in Washington, the venue for ILTA09.

Like its twin in Dallas which was ILTA’s venue last year, this place is enormous. I spent the first hour or so exploring its vastness. It is not that there is nobody here. As its name implies, the Gaylord is a resort, and, for the weekend least, there are a lot of families here. There are two wedding parties going on – I can guess that they are separate parties because their respective guests are stunningly turned out in what appear to be themed uniforms, pale green silk for one and deep red and white for the other. Do only beautiful people go to weddings here or is there something about weddings which makes everyone look attractive? This is another of these “which came first” questions, rather like the ones which arise about the size of document populations – did the technology for document creation and storage develop to meet a need for more documents, or do we create more documents because the technology exists? Read the rest of this entry »


Gone to ILTA

August 22, 2009

I will be at ILTA09 in Washington for most of the next week.

ILTA09

I have a few meetings and will go to some of the litigation sessions, but most of the time will pass in bumping into people and chatting. That does not sound like hard work, I know, but it is nevertheless what the job entails. I enjoy it and it tops up what I otherwise acquire by reading and e-mail contacts.

Reports will follow, not necessarily from ILTA itself (no time for that, too many people to talk to) but on my return at the end of next week.

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Socha and Gelbmann survey the EDD market

August 20, 2009

No time to précis it or comment on it, but George Socha and Tom Gelbmann have published their annual overview of the results of their annual survey on the Legal Technology News site.

If asked to pick the most important single observation from it, I would pick the shortage of expertise in the market-place, with providers, law firms and corporates reported as fighting each other for the few people who actually understand what is involved in handling electronic documents. That is important because it can only grow as a problem as we come out of recession. You can take or leave the predictions of 20% or 25% growth which some of the Socha-Gelbmann respondents apparently predict (I am prepared to take them myself) but it is certain that a generation of skilled and knowledgable people is not going to spring from nowhere.

I will give a more thoughtful assessment when I get back from ILTA in Washington. At the moment, my focus is rather more on clearing my decks before heading for the airport.

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Richard Susskind End of Lawyers resources

August 20, 2009

Having yesterday bracketed Richard Susskind with Private Frazer of Dad’s Army, that other well-known prophet of doom from Scotland (whilst immediately accepting that “We’re all doomed, doomed I tell ye” is an “unduly succinct and not wholly accurate précis” of Richard’s book The End of Lawyers?), I should make amends by pointing you to a list on the Legal Informatics Blog of what is a pretty impressive list of commentaries and reviews of the book and its thesis.

Richard Susskind is speaking at ILTA in Washington next week. I will be there and will report back in due course.

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Go to LegalTech 2009 in New York

January 12, 2009

Last year, I wrote articles after each of LegalTech in New York and ILTA in Dallas, lamenting the fact that almost no UK law firms were represented at the two most informative events on the subject of e-Discovery / e-Disclosure.

I thought it might be more helpful this year if I promoted the events in advance rather than in retrospect. LegalTech takes place in New York from 2 to 4 February. There are two pages on my web site which aim to persuade UK lawyers that it would be a good idea to go.

One simply advocates just that. The other is a list of events, many given or sponsored by UK suppliers, which I think ought to be of particular interest this year.

More will follow on this site, including some practical information about getting there and making the most of it. If you have any questions about going to LegalTech, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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E-Disclosure Information Project first birthday

December 1, 2008

November marks the first anniversary of what became the E-Disclosure Information Project. It did not have that name when I ran a half-day training session for judges in Birmingham last November but it was effectively launched with that event. This Commentary began a year or so earlier.

That first session was made possible by generous support from forensic collections expert FoxData whose Ian Manning has continued to back what I do, by turning out to speak and with useful information and introductions as well as financially. Tyrone Edward, now at Ernst & Young Forensic Technology & Discovery Services, made the suggestion for a business model which has allowed me to spend substantially all my time on spreading information about electronic disclosure. The Project is sponsored by the companies whose logos appear here, but on the basis that it is independent and product-agnostic.

The main outputs from the e-Disclosure Information Project are what I write here and on my website, and conferences. There are 228 posts on this site. None of them are simple regurgitations of press releases – PRs are invaluable sources of hard information, but I am more interested in the context and the implications of a software or services initiative than in the bare words of a press release. Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome to Interwoven Discovery Mining as sponsor

September 20, 2008

You will observe a new logo on the roster of sponsors who are supporting the e-Disclosure Information Project of which this blog is the outward and visible sign. I am very pleased to welcome Interwoven iscovery Mining on board.

Recently acquired by content-management giant Interwoven, Discovery Mining has made a good name for itself as a provider of on-demand hosted e-Discovery services. Its strengths include ease of use, predictable costs and scaleability. The aim is to get the data in quickly and make it available for speedy review with the minimum of user learning, and to make it easy to get it out again for export to other systems or for third parties. Read the rest of this entry »


CaseLogistix improves native document handling

September 2, 2008

CaseLogistix, Anacomp‘s litigation document review platform, has announced new functionality to handle native documents and other changes. Anacomp are amongst the sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project.

CaseLogistix has always had the ability to handle documents in their native format (150 file types at the last count). The enhancement assigns a unique identifier to each document – as opposed to pages – allowing concept search tools to treat single-page tiff files as a single document.

Other changes include improved management of redacted files, printing of attachments with parent documents and other parent/child enhancements, a combined native/image tab in the document viewer and direct native file ingestion. Read the rest of this entry »


Pay-per-use EnCase for in-house e-disclosure

September 2, 2008

A new pricing model announced by Guidance Software allows companies to use its EnCase® eDiscovery on a pay-per-use basis. Hitherto, EnCase® eDiscovery has been available to end-users only by outright purchase. The new structure gives them the option of paying only for what they use, with no up-front licence fees.

The charges are tied to the amount of data searched, collected, processed and put into load files. The monthly invoices break down the usage by matter, which should make it straightforward to recharge the costs internally or to insurers.

Outright purchase of a perpetual licence remains an option for those with the throughput to justify capital budget monies. For those who opt for the new pricing method, the usage rates decrease with higher levels of commitment. Read the rest of this entry »


No UK law firms at ILTA 2008

August 30, 2008

After this February’s LegalTech in New York, I wrote a piece called Why no UK lawyers at LegalTech? in which I suggested that UK law firms – partners and/or their senior IT staff – would benefit enormously from a few days in a place where almost every e-disclosure supplier and expert, including a large contingent of experienced UK litigation support managers, gather every year. There they could see demos of every application worth seeing, talk to pretty well everyone with knowledge and experience – and have a good time as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Signs of cultural differences

August 29, 2008

This has little to do with electronic discovery, but says a little about the cultural differences between the UK and the US, something which is relevant to those who sell in both jurisdictions.

Visiting remote parish churches recently in rural Suffolk and Cornwall, I came across notices solemnly warning that it is illegal to smoke in the church. At the door of the Gaylord Hotel in Texas which was host to ILTA this year, I came across this notice:

Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign collections need more than big feet

August 29, 2008

You will have seen from other posts that I have been at the ILTA conference in Dallas this week. ILTA is the International Litigation Technology Association and its conference title was Global Perspective, Peer Advantage, a title conveying the theme that attendees, regardless of size or location, can gain something from adopting a global perspective and from meeting with peers.

The opening session on the litigation track was very much about global perspectives. Browning Marean of DLA Piper LLP, Nigel Murray of Trilantic and Stephen Dooley of Sullivan & Cromwell talked about international discovery exercises under the title International discovery and handling foreign language data. Two international law firms and a UK-based litigation support company with a growing US client-base made a good team to give us the global picture.

Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2008 opens in Dallas

August 25, 2008

ILTA 2008 kicked off this evening with a big party at the conference venue, the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Dallas, Texas. If the conference itself yields anything as extraordinary as the venue, it will be some event. Why should this be of any interest to UK lawyers and their corporate clients, and to judges?

I reckon this place was designed by a committee, each of whose members worked in secrecy, ignorant of the plans of the others – you know, the way some law firms manage their discovery. Cultural references included Buckingham Palace, Colditz, Bents Fort, Disneyland, the Whitewater Shopping Centre, the largest upmarket international hotel you have ever seen, a space centre, and the “40 Acres” backlot at Culver City which was the setting for so many Hollywood films. You could film the burning of Atlanta and Star Wars inside here at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »


Similarities greater than the differences in Pasadena

August 24, 2008

Friday 22 August

I am sitting by a hotel pool in Pasadena as I type this. The sun reflects off white buildings and blue water. Bronzed beauties recline a few feet away, and it hard to recall that I tried to buy a pair of Wellington boots a couple of days ago to cope with the English summer.

The closest reminder of England is the Beckham Grill opposite, complete with an old London cab on a stand outside. Perhaps the waitresses wear Beefeater costumes and say “Am I bovvered?” to enhance the restaurant’s claim to Englishness, just as English people adopt a drawl and wear a big hat to convey that they are being American. Cultural differences are a little more subtle than that. Read the rest of this entry »


Off to Pasadena and ILTA

August 20, 2008

I am off tomorrow morning to Pasadena, coming back via Dallas where ILTA (the International Litigation Technology Association) is holding its big annual conference.

The draw in Pasadena is Guidance Software who, as I wrote in a recent post, were early sponsors of the e-Disclosure Information Project which I run, and who have been enthusiastic supporters ever since. This is a welcome opportunity to get to see the senior management, including CEO Victor Limongelli whom I met briefly in London last year.

ILTA is an opportunity to catch up with people with whom I correspond or speak but rarely see. There is an increasing amount of information-trading about developments in electronic discovery between those in the UK and the US, as well as Australia. The problems, and the solutions, are obviously similar. The rules and the practice are perhaps less alike in practical effect than they may appear to be. Superficial impressions of scale are misleading – big cases are big cases in all these jurisdictions, but most US lawyers litigating electronically are in small firms. What is different is the culture in which lawyers, judges, suppliers and clients work towards cost-effective solutions pro rata to all sizes of case, and cultural differences are best identified face to face.

Most of the Project’s sponsors will be there – OutIndex, Guidance Software, LexisNexis, Epiq Systems, Anacomp / CaseLogistix, Autonomy Zantaz and Trilantic – a chance to  meet the US people where generally I deal with the UK end, as well as to see others who may become sponsors. As at LegalTech in New York every February, I go with few pre-booked appointments, confident that the days will be filled with discussions which add value to what I do in the UK.

I should be able to write about it all from there, at least as a technical matter. The practice is likely to be otherwise.

If you are at ILTA and would like to know more about the e-Disclosure Information Project, do come and say Hello or send me an e-mail.

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E-disclosure conferences and seminars 2008

May 12, 2008

I have updated on my web site the list of conferences, seminars and similar events known to me for 2008, with hyperlinks to the programmes where they are available.

I have left up the programmes for the past events, since between them they give a good idea of what people are interested in and what are thought to be the key topics for this year. I say that because conference organisers have a good eye for what is topical, and those which I am involved with (which is most of them) have done an impressive amount of research. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA 2008: judicial training in e-disclosure

April 17, 2008

I have already given an overview of the excellent ILTA INSIGHT 2008 conference in London yesterday (ILTA 2008 – not just another e-disclosure conference). Two sessions dealt with electronic disclosure.

The first was given by Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons, His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC and me, and covered the advances which we are making in promoting awareness of e-disclosure to courts and practitioners. The second, which will be reported separately, concerned the management of risk in an e-disclosure context. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA INSIGHT 2008

April 10, 2008

ILTA INSIGHT 2008 takes place on 15 April at the Hilton London Tower Bridge. I will be speaking there with Mark Surguy of Pinsent Masons and HHJ Simon Brown QC in a session to report on the progress which has been made on the management of electronic disclosure since the three of us met last year.

We have run a training session for 14 judges in Birmingham, addressed two packed meetings of local practitioners there organised by the Law Society and made, or been booked to make, a number of speeches, podcasts, and webinars on this subject. In addition, I write about every possible aspect of the subject and take every opportunity to connect with anyone interested in the subject. Read the rest of this entry »


Relevant is irrelevant to standard Disclosure

April 9, 2008

I spend a sadly disproportionate amount of my life touring the Web with the aid of Google, looking for things which are relevant to disclosure of documents, and in particular electronic disclosure.

Look, I even talk like Part 31 of the CPR – I can’t get through an opening sentence without using words like “disproportionate” and “relevant”. But, of course, “relevant” is neither here nor there in deciding whether a document is to be disclosed – is it?

The subject comes up because I have just stumbled on the e-Disclosure web page of a large and very well-known firm. Two things caught my eye. One was the assertion that the documents which must be disclosed are all those which are “relevant” – they even put “relevant” in quotation marks as if to imply that they had taken it from the rules themselves. The other is that the Civil Procedure Rules have nothing expressly dealing with electronic documents. One of these assertions is misleadingly wrong. The other was true when the article was written, but is no longer true. Read the rest of this entry »


E-Disclosure conferences in London 2008

March 13, 2008

There are several e-Disclosure conferences in London this year, including a couple which have not been seen in this space for a bit. Conference organisers have a keen eye for what is topical and have obviously decided that 2008 is the year in which people will want to know about e-Disclosure.

So they should: the Commercial Court Recommendations and the new spirit of judicial proactivity in case management are not the only factors which will make it necessary to be on top of this subject. Read the rest of this entry »


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