I am very much looking forward to moderating an electronic discovery conference in Frankfurt on 22 March. The hosts are AccessData and the speakers are drawn from a broad range of legal, technical and compliance backgrounds, and from well-known firms and companies such as the Luther Law Firm, Siemens AG, DRSDigital, Allen & Overy and Alvarez & Marsal. The programme is here.
Between them, these speakers will cover the growing importance of ediscovery in Germany, forensic services from the viewpoint both of those who collect and manage data and of those who advise on it, and matters of compliance and due diligence. Brian Karney, President and COO of AccessData, rounds the conference off with a session called Getting the Job Done: the Technology. My role is to open the show with a welcome and introduction, to keep us to time (no small challenge with this number of speakers crammed into one afternoon) and to lead the closing panel.
The number of corporate counsel at IQPCs ediscovery conference in Munich last year showed what an appetite there is for discussion about ediscovery in Germany. This is hardly surprising: Germany has the fifth largest economy in the world and the largest in Europe, with a 3.3% rise in GDP in 2010 following an earlier fall. Its exports in 2010 are estimated at $1.337 trillion; 6.7% of this went to the US, which also provided 5.9% of its imports.
That volume of trade with the US, quite apart from US investment interests, inevitably brings US-related litigation, regulatory and compliance implications. Germany’s position in the EU brings growing activity of the same kind, both from Brussels and of domestic origin. The last two years have seen Germany as one of the leading (perhaps the leading) player in the development of data protection and privacy activity. Like other civil countries of mainland Europe, Germany has no discovery tradition such as is found in the US, the UK and other common law countries.
There is, therefore, much to learn in a short time. Anecdotally at least, there seems to be recognition of this, at least amongst the bigger German companies and I anticipate a good turnout for an event as broadly structured as this one and with a cast of this calibre.
The venue is the Schlosshotel Kronberg outside Frankfurt. Who could not warm to an establishment which describes itself as Very Britisch and talks of Tradition, Hightea-Kultur und Schlossatmosphäre (Tradition, high-tea culture and castle atmosphere) which, it says “are inevitably associated with Great Britain”. Quite so. The conference finishes with a dinner at which I suspect the day’s discussions will continue.
There are places left for this event. The AccessData contact details are on the programme.