Washington and New York to Mitchell via privacy, Singapore and Lobachevsky

February 17, 2014

The problem with running a website which offers news and updates is that people notice when it lies silent – the essence of news is that it is new. In fact, I have never aspired to timeliness and, as I say often, if it is important now, it will be important in a month’s time. This post supplements a brief note which I put up last week. Most of it is about Washington and its wonderful memorials, about the week in New York with my panels on eDiscovery technology and privacy, and about the things which got in the way when I got home. That includes some ruminations on the fall-out from Mitchell v NGN, on the unpleasant and economically-illiterate thug who carries the proud title “Lord Chancellor” and his minions at the Ministry of Justice, and on the decline of London’s aspirations to be a forum of choice for international litigants, with side references to Hong Kong (where I go next) and Singapore. There is also a bit about plagiarism illustrated by Tom Lehrer. You get variety here, if not necessarily thematic consistency.

I was at LegalTech in New York, the biggest eDiscovery industry show in the world. This was my eighth LegalTech and I know the form by now – back-to-back meetings, a couple of panels to sit on, five party invitations every night, dinners with varying degrees of learning and entertainment thrown in, and someone to talk to round every corner. This year brought the added element of sudden snowfalls leading to deep pools of slush at every crossing, particularly tiresome when your meetings alternate between the Hilton on one side of Sixth Avenue and the Warwick Hotel on the opposite corner.

Our attempts, some four months earlier, to book hotel rooms were defeated by some sporting event which apparently drew most of the US population into New York for the weekend. The cost of flights to the US falls steeply if you include a Saturday, so we went first to Washington D.C. – “we” being me, my wife Mary Ann and our youngest son William. The weather was fine and, as always, we were drawn first to the war memorials. Read the rest of this entry »


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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A UK view of LegalTech from Andrew Haslam

March 8, 2012

Each year, Andrew Haslam of Allvision writes a comprehensive report of LegalTech through the eyes of UK visitors. I say “visitors” in the plural because Andrew solicits contributions and views from others and splices them together.

This year, it seems, contributions and views were not the only thing he picked up from LegalTech – he returned with a debilitating infection which is only now fading away. That may have affected the timing of this report, but has done nothing to lessen its quality. It can be found here.

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The Convergence of eDiscovery and Information Governance – the movie

February 29, 2012

I have referred more than once to the webinar which Nuix organised just before LegalTech with the title The Convergence of eDiscovery and Information Governance. I moderated it, and the panel comprised Craig Ball, Attorney and Forensic Technologist, Stephen Stewart, CTO for Nuix and David Cowen, Managing Director for The Cowen Group.

We ran it also as a session at LegalTech, and I did not really focus on the significance of the camera at the front of the audience. We were in fact being filmed, and the result is now on YouTube in four parts – the first is here, and the rest follow automatically.

I referred in opening to a comment made by one of the people who listened to the webinar, who thought that I should have let the speakers say everything they had to say about their subjects. Each of these panel members could comfortably fill an hour on his own and, as I pointed out, we had even less time for the panel session than we had had for the webinar. The only real challenge for a moderator running a panel of this calibre is to bring the session to a close on time and with all the slides covered; that occasionally requires a guillotine.

There was some overlap between the subjects which we covered and a dinner hosted by Nuix the previous evening. I wrote about that in a post called Innovation and informed risk-taking are an eDiscovery duty which defines part at least of my agenda for the coming year. Read the rest of this entry »


Huron eDiscovery Panel at LegalTech as the cross-border climate begins to change

February 20, 2012

My wide-angle lens is being repaired, so I have no photograph of the panel which Nigel Murray of Huron Legal moderated at LegalTech. There were eleven of us at the table for two consecutive sessions with the title A GC’s Nightmare – a US EDiscovery Request into Europe. The first part outlined the problems raised by the EU’s attitude to data protection and privacy and its conflict with US ediscovery requirements; the second part looked at practical ways to deal with the issues which arise. More than 140 people came to one or both sessions.

The panelists were chosen to give a rounded view of the legal and the practical problems from both sides of the Atlantic. Craig Cannon from Bank of America and Carter White of Lummus Technology Inc. represented the ones with the nightmares, the sleepless representatives of major US corporations whose business inevitably takes them into areas – and not just Europe – where US eDiscovery requirements conflict with more restrictive ideas about the use of documents and data. Amor Esteban of Hardy Shook & Bacon and Browning Marean of DLA Piper US offered the view from the US lawyers based in the US, whilst Farrah Pepper, recently moved from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to a role as in-house discovery counsel at GE had both viewpoints to offer. Natascha Gerlach is an attorney at Clearly Gottlieb in Brussels and she and Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy in London had the hands-on view from the European end. US Magistrate Judge Frank Maas of SDNY and Senior Master Steven Whitaker from the High Court in London gave the viewpoint of judges who deal with either end of the relevant requests. My role was to talk on the theme “How others see us” and to cover information governance. Nigel Murray was his usual urbane self, the conductor of an international choir whose singers were not guaranteed to sing to any pre-conceived score (there wasn’t one), but whose contributions covered every aspect of the problem.

With 300 words down just to say who was there, it would be foolish of me to try and summarise what each panelist said. Quite apart from anything else, whilst we had each chosen or been given our defined topics, there was no published running order. This allowed Nigel to follow themes as they developed, but since none of us knew who was going to be called next, this scribe had no realistic chance of capturing the contributions as they emerged – try doing this when you are on a panel, and you end up missing your own cue, conscious, perhaps, that you have just been asked a question in front of 140 people but with no idea what it was. Read the rest of this entry »


Taking stock of the eDiscovery world

February 15, 2012

This is a good moment to pause a little and look around the eDiscovery / eDisclosure world.  The wide range of topics which make this such an interesting field are all getting an airing at once. The stream of useful and relevant tweets is such that I had to turn it off to get anything done. If it appears to have a largely US flavour, much of it also has relevance in the UK and elsewhere.

I do not feel under any particular pressure to capture it all as it happens, and there are back-room things – the agendas for three forthcoming UK conferences and a White Paper, for example – which have some priority in terms of time allocation than the news stream which, if its elements are of importance at all, will still be so in a week’s time.  My web site also needs some attention to logos and indexes. It is helpful, nevertheless, to list some of the pending stories, if only to head off polite suggestions that I may have missed them. Since the point here is speed, I will ignore my usual rule about hyperlinking to everything referred to.

My involvement in or attendance at some recent events will be covered shortly. Monique Altheim has released videos of the eDiscovery sessions we did at CPDP in Brussels.  Nuix hosted a thought-provoking dinner at LegalTech which stimulated thought about the real meaning of “innovation” in eDiscovery.  It has been said of the cross-border panels hosted at LegalTech by Huron Legal and led by Nigel Murray that “the substantive information conveyed was top shelf” and there is talk of a re-run. Data protection and privacy move back up the agenda anyway thanks to the draft EU data protection regulation. Read the rest of this entry »


Setting the scene after LegalTech 2012

February 9, 2012

Well, who would have thought that the big topic of conversation at LegalTech would be the weather? Keen though I am to import British ideas into US eDiscovery, the near-obsessive British focus on temperature and precipitation can stay at home. The subject came up thanks to the contrast between the balminess of this New York January compared with last year, when we needed snowshoes and crampons to cross 6th Avenue. Getting back to the UK was a different matter weather-wise, but we will come back to that.

The other generic ice-breaker at LegalTech is “Have you seen anything new here?”. None of us can actually remember ever seeing anything truly “new” at LegalTech, at least by the standards of an industry which produces ever more interesting and sophisticated technology throughout each year. The bar is set very high, and the question is the industry equivalent of the conventional enquiry after one’s health.

The problem – my particular problem, anyway – is illustrated by the legal IT PR who wrote to me as the show closed to ensure that I had all the information I needed for the article I might write about her client. What do you suggest I do, lady? Write about everything? Type out a big list of all the companies and people I saw and call it an article? Pick out some and ignore others on some subjective or arbitrary basis? I did in fact write about some of the new developments before LegalTech, mainly on my Google Plus site, and will pick up some more in due course, mainly by pointers to good summaries by others. My main purpose in going to LegalTech, apart from participation in a couple of panels, is to meet people.

At a conference last year, I overheard one person asking another about the best way to meet people at conferences. The answer given was “Follow Chris Dale around”. That is more than a little exaggerated, but I pass it on because its implication broadly defines what I do in between the formal events – I meet up with people, largely by serendipity, and find out far more than I would in the (necessarily fewer) formal meetings which require fixed time slots. As I say, I will point you in due course to some of the more structured accounts of LegalTech 2012, but for now I merely invite you to “follow me around” on what is largely a personal account of the show, though by no means a comprehensive one. This article is general in nature; I will write separately about the panels and other structured elements of the show. Read the rest of this entry »


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