Browning Marean Celebration of Life Service on 20 September

August 27, 2014

I understand that Browning Marean’s Celebration of Life service will be on Saturday, 20 September at 2:00 pm at the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Escondido, 1500 S. Juniper St., Escondido, CA 92025.

Although I pass this on as coming from an impeccable source, it would be good to get some more “official” notification before booking flights etc. (once a lawyer, always a lawyer).

Since writing the above, I am told that DLA Piper has published a notice which accords with the information I was given.


Delivering eDisclosure advice from both sides of the fence: interview with Stephanie Barrett of Navigant

May 27, 2014

One of the continuing themes in eDisclosure / eDiscovery, in the UK as in the US, is about finding (and then keeping) people with appropriate skills. Wherever they work, eDisclosure people need to have their feet on two sides, one to do with legal procedures – the timelines and deadlines, the formal requirements, the resource management and the control of costs – and one to do with technology. That has its own processes which involve far more than “pushing buttons” (I use that expression because many lawyers use it as shorthand for the whole range of computer and process functions, apparently assuming that this is all you have to do).

eDisclosure (I will stick to the English term) is a new discipline, attracting people from law and from IT as well as from other areas. Legal purists dislike the term “the eDiscovery market”, but it has all the elements of a market: lawyers in corporate legal departments or in law firms have a problem to solve, and a new industry of software and services providers has sprung up to serve them, competing with each other with their differing technologies, their range of support services and, not least, the quality of the people whom they employ.

Part of that competition, as I implied in opening, is that both sides of the divide need to attract the right kind of staff. It is not unusual for people to cross the divide, moving from a software and services provider into a legal department or law firm, or vice versa.

Steph-Profile-Pic-2One such is Stephanie Barrett, who has recently joined Navigant as a managing consultant after seven years of delivering eDisclosure support at a London law firm. What is it like to make that move, I wondered. What are the similarities and differences between the roles? Is there a “dark side” and, if so, which side is it?

Chris Dale: Can you start by telling us what your role is at Navigant?

Stephanie Barrett: My role as a managing consultant at Navigant involves providing project management and consulting support, overseeing each stage of the EDRM model, along with advising on processes to maximise efficiencies and achieve value for our clients. Read the rest of this entry »

A tribute to former Senior Master Steven Whitaker

April 10, 2014

While I was away, Steven Whitaker resigned as Senior Master of the Senior Courts in the Queen’s Bench Division. Steven Whitaker’s skill lay in making procedure the servant of justice; the prevailing orthodoxy is that procedure is an end in itself, with individual justice in individual cases subordinated to efficiency at all costs.

Steven Whitaker has many friends and supporters amongst those who are interested in justice as it is defined in the overriding objective. For some of us, that interest is primarily a professional one – in the context of case management generally, of electronic disclosure specifically, and of cross-border discovery, each of which he influenced for good. For many others his actions had a direct personal effect, principally the victims of mesothelioma, whose group litigation he managed firmly with an eye to the urgency appropriate to the circumstances and for which he won praise in Lord Justice Jackson’s report. He is also a good bloke, that highest of understated English compliments.

Before I turn to my own tribute, see some of the comments which turned up on Twitter as the news of his departure broke.


Read the rest of this entry »

Launch of the Information Governance Initiative

February 19, 2014

The most interesting topic of discussion at LegalTech 2014 was not some new technology nor the proposed revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but the launch of the Information Governance Initiative. That is certainly not to dismiss the technology at LegalTech – Equivio launched Equivio Zoom for Information Governance in the same week as the IGI, and Recommind’s Axcelerate 5 made its appearance at LegalTech for example – but the technology is servant to the objectives, and information governance is increasingly seen as the objective which matters; that is why Equivio and Recommind are among the supporters of the IGI.

The inspiration behind the IGI comes from the strong team which has assembled at Drinker Biddle & ReathBennett Borden, Jay Brudz and Jason Baron who, with Barclay Blair of ViaLumina and others, have long been the instigators of constructive thought about information governance.

What is information governance exactly? That is addressed in the description here of IGI’s mission, which lists thirteen key components of IG. None can deny their importance; it is evident too that things will be missed – benefits and opportunities as well as risks – if the management of information sits in thirteen separate silos within a corporation. Read the rest of this entry »

Second Annual New Zealand eDiscovery Conference on 19 March 2014

November 19, 2013

New Zealand is quietly getting on with improvements to its civil procedure rules, supplementing its Discovery Rules of 2012 with a new Electronic Bundles Practice Note.

Andrew King of eDiscovery Consulting in New Zealand has announced the date for the Second Annual New Zealand eDiscovery Conference following the success of last year’s inaugural event. It is 19 March in Auckland.

There is an article about it here. It is being run in conjunction with Ernst & Young and the speakers include Browning Marean from DLA Piper US and His Honour Judge David Harvey.

I had just committed to being in the US in that week when I found about this event, and will not be able to attend – a pity, since New Zealand has been active in the development of good eDiscovery practice, and Judge Harvey is one of the leading judicial thinkers on electronic discovery, electronic evidence, and the use of technology by lawyers and courts. Here is a link to an article which introduces and links to his paper Judging e-Discovery Disputes, which he presented at the Courts Technology Conference 2013 in Baltimore (I aim to write properly about this when the tide goes out a bit).

If I cannot be in New Zealand in March, my consolation is that I may instead get to the other jurisdiction of growing interest in eDiscovery terms, Canada. I wrote recently about the document review centre which Epiq Systems have just opened in Toronto, and that and other factors suggest that a visit to Canada is well overdue.

Perhaps I will make it to New Zealand in the following year.


Jason Baron joins the Drinker Biddle information governance and eDiscovery team

October 7, 2013

It is not often that I pay much attention to deadlines and embargoes. If the story won’t matter in a month’s time then it is not worth writing about now. Equally, I have not hitherto written much about what goes on within law firms, most of whom are merely users and consumers of electronic discovery rather than influencers and agents for change.

I make an exception today, because Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP has boosted its information governance and eDiscovery group by appointing Jason Baron as Of Counsel based in the firm’s Washington DC office. I predicted great things for the Drinker Biddle IG team, but I did not see that one coming.

Jason Baron has long been Director of Litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).The holder of that post will always be important in the eDiscovery world simply by virtue of his or her position, with its responsibility for the enormous volumes of email and other documents which government creates.

Jason has done much beyond the call of duty. He represented NARA as co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production, and has served as editor-in-chief on three Sedona commentaries. He was also a founding coordinator of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology TREC Legal Track.

I have heard him speak several times, always with authority and a refreshing new angle. It is not easy to be simultaneously authoritative and challenging – authority generally equates to responsibility, and responsibility usually implies a conventional approach; Jason makes responsibility sound interesting – something which will matter in his new role. Read the rest of this entry »

Reed Smith: 6 reasons to Insource Litigation Support

January 23, 2013

A lot of what I write suggests to law firms that their clients’ interests and, indeed, their own, may lie in delegating much of their eDiscovery / eDisclosure function to others. I usually link this to Professor Richard Susskind’s observation about how law firms must find ways of working which are quicker, cheaper, more efficient or to a higher quality “using different and new methods of working”.

Outsourcing, in its various guises, must be considered in this context, whether that be by using software which is hosted and managed by someone else or by taking advantage of the many (and competing) managed review services which can often perform this most expensive component of eDiscovery / eDisclosure to a quality and at a cost which few law firms can match.

I am careful always to make it clear that outsourcing is not the answer in every case, but is something which should be considered alongside purely internal solutions.  As the UK moves towards costs budgeting and enforced proportionality, the ability to offer alternative ways of giving disclosure becomes more important. You do not need to be driven by the rules of any one jurisdiction to want to be able to offer clients and the court a range of options. Read the rest of this entry »


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