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 »

Function and process at the airport

August 24, 2008

Litigation support involves more these days than a bit of law and some rules. You need an interest in functional design and in process and workflow. It is also a business where time and resources matter, and where much effort is devoted to working out how to apply the fewest people for the shortest time needed to achieve the client’s objective.

I seem to spend quite a lot of my time travelling these days (I am in Dallas as I write this), and I wonder why the same interests do not have a place at airports. Take the check-in, the first section you come in the long haul through to your seat. It is a place where impenetrable static obstacles – a series of queues – form north-south to your entrance, whilst large numbers of people need to move east-west and west-east laden with baggage, whilst others stand around waiting for….something – the end of the world sometimes seems both more imminent and more desirable. 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.


Some conclusions from Socha-Gelbmann

August 20, 2008

As the dust settles on the 2008 Socha-Gelbmann Survey, it is perhaps useful to pick out a couple of the conclusions which particularly affect UK corporations, law firms and suppliers. As I have reported elsewhere (Project sponsors ranked by Socha-Gelbmann) those who sponsor the e-Disclosure Information Project were well represented in the rankings tables, with Anacomp, Autonomy Zantaz, Epiq Systems, Guidance Software, LexisNexis and Trilantic all appearing in one or more of the charts (the links, incidentally, are to their respective press releases on the subject).

George Socha and Tom Gelbmann have written a commentary on the market as it appeared to them following this, their last survey in this form. Commentary on commentary does not necessarily add value, but I highlight what they say about analysis, about a perceived shift from services to software and about staffing up to enable law firms to meet the challenges and take the opportunities which exist in this market. Read the rest of this entry »

A big culling exercise on holiday

August 20, 2008

After a while at this game, one begins to see parallels with the EDRM stages in areas of life which have nothing to do with documents. I am just back from a week in a remote cottage in Cornwall whose garden had been neglected for a year. In EDRM parlance, its document management was a mess and it needed a good cull before it was fit for review. Read the rest of this entry »

Delivering knowledge by ear

August 20, 2008

I am always interested in seeking out different ways of delivering information about electronic disclosure – much of what I do in the e-Disclosure Information Project involves digging out news and comment, distilling what seems helpful, and pointing people towards it.

My own preferences are broadly traditional whether as recipient or giver of information. I like the interaction – or at least the potential for interaction – which you get from an old-fashioned lecture format and (as you will gather since you are reading this) by writing about the subjects. The web gives immeasurably greater reach to both these methods – as soon as I save this article, it can immediately be read by anyone with a web connection from Sydney to San Diego. Whether it will be, in August, is a different matter, but it will still be here when everyone gets back from their holidays, giving an unparalleled combination of immediacy and longevity. We have come to take this powerful reach for granted in a very short time. Read the rest of this entry »

Distinguishing between training and education

August 20, 2008

We tend to use the words training and education in an arbitrary way, ignoring the practical and perhaps hands-on element implicit in the idea of training.

Lord Krebs expressed the distinction rather nicely in a recent speech  in the House of Lords. he said:

We should distinguish between education on the one hand and training and skills on the other. These are not the same thing. If my daughters came home from school and told me that they had been to sex education classes, I would be comfortable; if they said they had been to sex training and skills classes, I would not.

His context was the sensible suggestion that different universities ought to be offering different things, not merely emulating each other. The comment applies rather well to the different types of knowledge and skill needed to handle electronic disclosure and the context – the rules of court, the  legal context and the clients’ needs – of which it is a part.


Knock the knocking copy to expand the market

August 19, 2008

This is a matter of impression rather than analysis, but I reckon that running down your opponents plays less well in the UK than in the US and that this is true equally of selling things and of politics. Americans applaud the spirited attacker where we sympathise with the underdog. Whatever it does for sales in the US, I don’t think it works here.

I am no slouch myself when it comes to handing out adverse comment and I admire deft and clever attacks in print on those who deserve it. I just don’t think it sells things. Perhaps that is because most of it is neither deft nor clever and much of it simply invites close scrutiny both of the attacker’s argument and of his own position. Knocking copy draws fire not just from the “victim” but from others, and those who deal it must be bomb-proof themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

The Aussie e-Discovery Dream Team

August 15, 2008

Renée Lee, International Marketing Director at Guidance Software, is leaving Guidance and will shortly be joining eDiscovery Tools. The e-Disclosure Information Project’s loss on one side is balanced by a gain on the other

I had been two days in the remote Cornish cottage which we borrowed last week before I strayed into a patch of garden where my BlackBerry sprang to life (yes, I know it has a switch somewhere to turn it off). The first batch of messages to come through included a short one from Renée Lee at Guidance Software briefly asking recipients to note that this was her final day at Guidance Software. Since Renee and I had been talking a couple of days earlier, planning my imminent visit to Guidance in Pasadena, this came as something of a shock.

As a communication from someone highly skilled in communication, the message was somewhat short on information. It took another 24 hours for me to establish that Renée is going to join Jo Sherman and Seamus Byrne at eDiscovery Tools. Read the rest of this entry »

Meeting FoxData properly at last

August 15, 2008

Nearly a year after FoxData agreed to be the first sponsor of the e-Disclosure Information Project, I have at last been to see the company’s premises and met Ian Manning properly

The order in which logos appear beside these pages reflects the sequence in which companies agreed to sponsor the e-Disclosure Information Project. For those new to this site, the Project’s purpose is to increase awareness about electronic disclosure by bringing together all those with an interest in what is often the biggest single expense in civil litigation. Of all the players – courts, practitioners, corporate clients and suppliers – the group which is most remote from the practicalities is the one which has to make the decisions about case management, the judges. Read the rest of this entry »

Project sponsors ranked by Socha-Gelbmann

August 12, 2008

It is probably a grave dereliction of duty to disappear on holiday just as George Socha and Tom Gelbmann publish their annual Electronic Discovery Survey provider rankings, but that is no reflection on the performance of those of my sponsors whose names appear in it.

Anacomp, Autonomy Zantaz, Epiq Systems, Guidance Software, LexisNexis and Trilantic all appear, some of them more than once, in a survey regarded as the most objective and authoritative report on an industry whose 2007 revenues, at $2.794 billion, were up 46% from 2006. Read the rest of this entry »


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