I have recently done a number of events with Jonathan Maas of Huron Legal, talking to barristers and solicitors in Leeds and London, at ILTA Insight and in Brussels.
His consistent theme has been the need for lawyers to identify the scope of the disclosure problem as early as possible – as I put it in this interview “in the very small window between inception and the case management conference”.
While not underestimating the potential difficulties of any eDisclosure exercise, Jonathan Maas emphasises that the initial and urgent task of identifying what data exists is not necessarily a major task if early instructions are given by the lawyers to appropriately-qualified people. Huron, for example, will undertake this first stage at a cost which is proportionate to the objective – to equip the lawyers with the information they need to make early strategic decisions about the case.
We also talk in this interview about one of my pet themes – the apparent willingness of many regional firms to assume that all document-heavy work will go to London. To me, the availability of technical resources from Huron Legal and its rivals bring equality of arms to firms of all sizes. The rules and the role of the lawyers are the same whatever the case, and the ability to delegate the technical aspects to a third party means that the size, location and experience of the firm are irrelevant; with the right allies it can engage properly and proportionately in electronic disclosure.