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 »


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 »


Lots of things to catch up with in eDiscovery and civil justice

February 14, 2014

Yes, there is much to be writing about, and it will all appear here soon – including a post explaining what I have been doing and why there has been a gap in my reporting and commentary.

Briefly, I have been at LegalTech in New York with a brief break in Washington before that. As well as consuming time and energy, LegalTech always generates both material for articles and correspondence. We made a number of video interviews there and have been working to produce those.

Meanwhile, my Twitter timeline has been full of tweets and links about the ever-increasing volume of judgments following the UK Mitchell decision, as well as some vociferous opinion on them – those who sneer at Twitter as being all about what other people had for breakfast are missing a valuable – and always current – source of information. A second strand involves the conflict between Lord Chancellor Grayling’s ambitions to attract legal business and the way in which he and the Ministry of Justice seem intent on driving that business away; other jurisdictions, not least Singapore, are offering sensible alternatives.

In between all that, I spent time being sedated by a dentist, in rearranging appointments thanks to Oxford’s new status as an island, and working on the agendas for forthcoming conferences. Lastly, and more personally, my mother seemed threatened by serious illness which was somewhat distracting – and now, thankfully, not what it appeared to be.

Normal service will be resumed soon.

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Evidence, privacy and proportionality at Lawtech Europe Congress in Prague

January 30, 2014

I have no particular ambition to write up events as soon as they finish. Distance lends perspective, and anything worth reporting at all will be as valuable a couple of months later. The Civil Procedure Rules of England and Wales gave me enough to be getting on with at the tail end of last year and I only now turn to what was covered at the Lawtech Europe Congress in Prague, the second one organised there by Frederick Gyebi-Ababio.

My own interview filmed on the day gives a summary of why it is important to hold events in central Europe, and correspondingly important for eDiscovery people be there. Prague sits in the middle of a big region and one which is full of potential, not least because of its trade with the US. It is important for businesses and those who advise them to understand the expectations of US discovery, both because they have to face it and because it will become increasingly necessary for these jurisdictions to adopt their own discovery rules – as I say in the interview, a jurisdiction which establishes the content and validity of documents by notarised prints or screenshots has some catching up to do.

This is not just because of litigation – we see a activity by regulators from the US, the EU and within each region, all of whom wants to know what the story is. The story lies in the electronic evidence, and whilst much of the interest perhaps still lies in criminal investigations, civil eDiscovery cannot be avoided. Those who provide professional and technical services will cede the ground to the big four consultants, who are already there for other reasons, if they do not register their presence to some extent.

Paul Salazar of Siemens gave the keynote address, sponsored by Exterro. He ranged broadly over the duties of internal counsel, describing the processes which they must develop in order to anticipate and manage eDiscovery demands.

The emphasis on process can easily obscure the importance of data as evidence. Yuval Ben Moshe of Cellebrite opened the show with a panel whose focus was eDiscovery and the rise of evidence on mobile devices. He had as his panel members Patrick Burke eDiscovery Counsel at Reed Smith, Jo Sherman of edt. and Damian Murphy, an English barrister establishing his own chambers specialising in eDisclosure.

2013-10-E-4236Damian Murphy, Jo Sherman, Patrick Burke, Yuval Ben Moshe

Between them they gave us a good balance between the technical components and the need to focus on what really matters. It is not necessary for proportionality to be enshrined in the rules to get the idea that resources must be proportionate to what you are trying to achieve.

My first panel covered the relationship between scope, method and cost – how much do you need to collect, what is the best way of doing it, and how do you keep the costs within reasonable bounds whilst doing a good job? Read the rest of this entry »


Reducing the number of documents to be reviewed

January 22, 2014

Charles Christian’s Legal IT Insider has published a very good article by Drew Macaulay, Managing Director of Consilio in London. Its title is Establishing effective cost controls in litigation and regulatory investigations, and gives the same emphasis to budgets as a Consilio webinar due to take place on 24 January (I wrote about it here) and registration is here) called Understand and control discovery costs in cross-border litigation.

Consilio-webinar

Drew’s article needs no summary from me – it is a clear and succinct explanation of the factors to be taken into account in any eDisclosure / eDiscovery exercise. I draw it to your attention, and specifically in a UK civil procedure context, for one half sentence in the article which reads:

“The primary cost driver and disclosure exercise is the number of documents that need to be reviewed…” Read the rest of this entry »


Judge Facciola and Jason Baron top the bill at UBIC’s Washington seminar

January 20, 2014

UBIC is perhaps best known as a provider of software and services specifically aimed at electronic discovery and with a particular specialist skill in managing Asian languages. It is more broadly based than that, however, and extends into information governance and the management of risk and cost, and into wider areas of search and analysis.

UBIC is running a series of what it calls Signature Seminars, at which speakers from relevant disciplines address issues which affect companies and their lawyers. I took part in one of these, in Washington on 6 December.

UBIC invited me to moderate a panel called Information Governance and Data Privacy Challenges under US Regulatory Investigations. If I had had any doubts about accepting this invitation (it is a long way to go for a 60 minute panel), they were dispelled by the company I would be keeping. The opening speaker was to be Jason Baron, information governance and eDiscovery counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath; the closing speaker was US Magistrate Judge John Facciola. My panel would be sandwiched between these eminent speakers. Who could resist?

UBIC’s own page about the event is here. It includes links to a video of Jason Baron’s full presentation, and to interviews with Jason Baron, with Christina Ayiotis and with me (I talked mainly about privacy and about metrics and budgets), together with a set of my photographs (you can see those also in a more easily-skimmed wallpaper layout here.

Inormation governance, eDiscovery, technology-assisted review and privacy all featured, as did a barnstorming performance from Judge Facciola about the changing requirements of the lawyers of the future. By “future” he meant now; if part of what he said was critical of lawyer unreadiness, part (as with Jason Baron’s talk) saw a bright future for those who “get it”. Read the rest of this entry »


EDiscovery leaders and career opportunities highlighted by US legal publications

January 16, 2014

Electronic Discovery / eDisclosure is a new discipline. It has passed the Wild West stage but it is still new enough and small enough that the contribution of its founding members can be recognised with the perspective of time. Three US legal publishing companies have produced lists recently of individuals whose contributions have helped shape the industry.

What value lies in reciting other people’s lists? I hear you ask. Well for one thing, my coverage is selective, with a bias towards people I know or have some connection with. For another, two of these articles are not readily available and it is not open to me to just link to them. Third and more importantly, I am keen to encourage people to see a promising career path in eDiscovery; we can’t all be Laura Kibbe or Andrew Sieja, but we can see opportunities in this young and growing business area.

NLJ’s inaugural list of 50 Business Law Trailblazers and Pioneers

Most recent of the articles is the National Law Journal’s inaugural list of 50 Business Law Trailblazers and Pioneers (you see where I got the Wild West imagery from).

This, as its name implies, is concerned with the practice and development of the wider legal scene; I am not sure that electronic discovery would have rated a mention in such a list ten or even five years ago.

Epiq - Laura KibbeOne of the people on the list is Laura Kibbe (pictured left), a Managing Director at Epiq Systems, whose career, summarised in this Epiq press release, has encompassed all sides of the eDiscovery battlefield – as outside counsel, in-house counsel, and currently as Head of Expert and Professional Services for Epiq’s eDiscovery business. I have the pleasure, from time to time, of sharing platforms with Laura, most recently in Hong Kong last year. Not everyone in this industry has the ability to explain lucidly what are the business benefits (as opposed to the pure technology benefits) of eDiscovery tools and processes. Laura has this ability, and it is always a pleasure to share a platform with her. Read the rest of this entry »


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