Products and suppliers have taken a back seat in this blog whilst wider issues and travelling have taken most of my time. Anacomp’s CaseLogistix has been busy, with a new paper on the discovery of audio files. It has a new blog as well
The e-Disclosure Information Project began with a narrow focus both as to subject-matter and as to geography – a handful of UK Civil Procedure Rules and their application in courts in Birmingham and London. It quickly became clear that lack of information about the problems raised by electronic documents, and the solutions available to solve them, was as big a problem as the rules and procedure, which led me to a mission to draw attention to them. That quickly acquired an international dimension, because both problems and solutions are the same everywhere and it made sense to tap into the thinking in other jurisdictions. More recently, recession has brought a darker – and more urgent – tone to what I write and talk about. Within the last few days, we have had the first reported case on the management of electronic disclosure and the announcement of a government-inspired (but judge-led) inquiry into the costs of litigation with its parallel implications for both access to justice and hard economics.
It stretches, in other words, from matters of state policy to the minutiae of rows and columns of data, from broad conceptual things to hard facts, from legal matters to practice management, and from Birmingham to Sydney. In recent weeks, the travelling, the policy and legal aspects, and an apparently endless sequence of speaking sessions, have dominated both my time and my writing. Meanwhile, the technical developments and the news from suppliers continues unabated as they move to meet the expectations of clients and the increasing demands of US courts, and I have a backlog of supplier information to catch up with.
The litigation review platform CaseLogistix was the first such application in which I took a close interest, going back before the Project began. Its appeal extended beyond technical competence and an obvious suitability for the UK litigation market. It set the pattern for my getting to know the people behind the corporations and the realisation – obvious when you think about it – that people buy from people, and that all the glossy advertising in the world is no substitute for sitting down with the technical and the marketing people, and trading my knowledge of the UK legal and law firm framework for a share of their strategic thinking.
The acquisition of CaseLogistix by document repository and business process systems giant Anacomp led to substantial investment in CaseLogistix which showed most obviously in the ground-up redevelopment of the core product and in a series of strategic alliances with other providers. There was a lull in the full roll-out of CaseLogistix in the UK as a result, but the upshot is a new UK team under the leadership of Stephen Davis which is making up the ground in terms of the product’s place in the UK market. Four data centres in Europe, two of them in the UK, are reminders of Anacomp’s roots in data storage.
Anacomp’s smart new branding has been rolled out here with a UK-specific web site which includes a link to the brochure and a demo request. Much of the news and other resources are inevitably US-led – but the US leads in this area anyway and we are foolish to ignore case studies and other sources of experience from other jurisdictions grappling with the same issues.
One of the growing issues in disclosure / discovery is audio. Sound recordings are specifically identified in the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as being subject to the same discovery requirements as other types of electronically stored information. The definition of a “document” in the UK Civil Procedure Rules is “anything on which information of any description is recorded” which clearly sweeps up sound files along with everything else.
Financial organisations, now rather prominent in the context of pending litigation, have been recording telephone conversations for years, and every government department and “service” organisation takes up your valuable time when you ring them by warning that you may be recorded “for training purposes” before routing you, via a series of other equally useless messages, to an unattended extension. The growth of Unified Message Systems has led to an enormous increase in the quantity of voice messages sent automatically by e-mail. Attention hitherto has focused on the storage and management of the vast file volumes which result – buying more space is easy but does nothing to solve the discovery / disclosure issues. Simply deleting them is even easier but if done at random rather than pursuant to a policy (the same kind of document retention policy as you have for everything else – don’t you?) may cause even more significant issues on disclosure.
Anacomp have a White Paper on this which can found on the Resource guides page. The same page has a link also to Tom O’Connor’s useful paper A New Paradigm for Working with Electronic Documents – don’t be put off by that word “paradigm” which excites a particular loathing in the UK outside the scientific world. The paper itself is full of good sense.
The same is true of Tom O’Connor’s new blog on the Anacomp web site. The analysis there of the benefits of using native files is a helpful one for those unsure of the considerable benefits of using electronic files, complete with metadata and attachments, as the original user and recipient saw them.
Contact Stephen Davis at Anacomp UK: firstname.lastname@example.org