Discovery, as all lawyers know, is the process of collecting and exchanging information about the court case to prepare for the trial. Traditionally, this was done by many lawyers over countless billable hours in which every page of potential evidence was examined for important information. Because of this, the more information existed in reference to a case, the more expensive the case was. As technology developed, law firms began using computers to do keyword searches and conceptual searches. Unfortunately, there were problems including picking the right keywords or concepts, misspelled words, how to structure the items, and that these searches only yielded 20% of important data. Recently, technology has advanced to predictive coding, or teaching a computer program to think like a lawyer would. But how cost effective and practical is predictive coding, and how well does it actually work?
In this episode of The Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simekdiscuss the evolution of technology and case discovery, how predictive coding works and is priced, and examples of cases that have involved predictive coding. Simek first explains the importance of culling, or filtering out unimportant data sets through DeNISTing, deduping, or filtering by dates. He then explains predictive coding in its simplicity: to feed a computer program information based on discovery attorneys have already done until the computer can accurately predict which information is important. Simek and Nelson then go on to examine the prices vendors charge for the predictive coding process and in which cases it might be profitable for the law firm or client. There is a steep, expensive learning curve involved; many mid-sized law firms probably will not profit and even very large cases only save an average of 15% using predictive coding. However, Nelson explains, predictive coding is the future of discovery, so it is important for lawyers to pay attention to when the benefits outweigh the costs.
Nelson concludes the podcast by giving examples of when predictive coding has already appeared in court cases. The landmark case was Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe, in which Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck allowed predictive coding to be used as long as the defense and prosecution agree to its use, there are a large volume of documents, it is the superior technology, it is more cost effective, and it is transparent and defensible. Inevitably, the conclusion is that it is not for the judge to micromanage the discovery process.
There has recently been an increase in virtualization of law practices and the rate at which firms are beginning to adopt internet-based technology solutions. There are significant advantages attached to those programs including mobility, flexibility, ease of installation and management, and decreased setup cost. But most lawyers don’t know what a virtual office entails, are wary of trusting a remote server, or worry about the security of working through a browser. What is virtualization, how does it apply to law firms, and why should lawyers be adopting this new technology now?
On this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Jared Correia interviews AbacusLaw CEO Alessandra Lezama about cloud-based case management systems and why lawyers should virtualize their firms. Lezama explains the difference between desktop as a service (DaaS) and software as a service (SaaS), the benefits of virtualization, and how to choose a company to help with this process. The encrypted remote servers should have geographic redundancy, regular and thorough security audits, and have local data centers. Lezama points out that lawyers are hesitant towards virtualization due to anxiety of the unknown or lack of time, resources, or knowledge but they must adopt new technology as a matter of ethical compliance. Because there are so many intricacies to this process, many lawyers do not know where to start. Lezama encourages attorneys to invest time, perform due diligence, and seek a good partner to help guide the process. In the long run, the relief of IT burden will more than pay off.
Alessandra Lezama is the chief executive officer of Abacus, a legal technology solution company that designs, installs, and manages virtual practice systems. Before joining Abacus, she was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of two Blackthorn Investment Fund companies, chief operating officer and CEO at American Internet Services, and has held key leadership roles in sales, marketing, and operations for Comsat International.
Despite all the attention that e-discovery has received over the last decade, it is still a relatively new part of the litigation process. For those lawyers who were never exposed to e-discovery in law school or their formative years of practice, the systems and products involving data collection and analysis can be overwhelming and complex. How much do lawyers need to know about information governance, data collection, data analysis, managed document review, and electronically stored information (ESI)? Alternately, for those practitioners who are already intricately involved in the culling and analysis, how is the technology and process changing?
In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview e-discovery solutions expert Aaron Lawlor about what is involved with ESI and data collection, current trends in data analysis, and future advances in technology and process. Lawlor urges every litigator to become experienced with the state and federal rules involving e-discovery in order to better serve their clients. He explains the process of researching key players in the case and then collecting, analyzing, and refining their relevant data. In order to facilitate this process, lawyers and data collectors narrow the data set early by a process of visualizing connections and communication mapping. It is important, Lawlor says, for every lawyer to become familiar with e-discovery and data reduction strategies, since they are such significant drivers of litigation costs and outcomes.
Aaron Lawlor is the senior director of Global Legal Solutions at UnitedLex Corporation. He has spent the past decade addressing his clients’ e-discovery needs, first as an attorney at an Am Law 100 firm, then as the cofounder of a boutique consulting and managed document review company. His company was acquired by UnitedLex in 2013 and, in his current role, he partners with in-house and outside counsel to implement value-driven e-discovery solutions.
While preparing for a trial, gathering documents for a transaction, or simply running errands, most lawyers face each day with an overwhelming number of things to get done. From simply remembering them all to putting the list into proper priorities, every legal professional could use some help. How can technology play a role in bringing the list of to-dos under control? What are some questions lawyers should ask when choosing a to-do task management tool?
In this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss taming the to-do list, their own approaches to using technology to help with task management, and questions every lawyer should ask when looking for a management tool to suit their needs. Kennedy shapes his list management around David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” a system which allows him to see his weekly calendar as a big picture and sort priorities to avoid being overwhelmed by the enormous list of projects. Mighell says lawyers should watch for eight essential functions when looking for the right task manager:
Available on Multiple Platforms
Ease of Entry
Assign Priority Levels
Notes and Attachments
Ability to Share Task Lists
He recommends every lawyer weigh the importance of each of these before choosing a task management tool. Both @DennisKennedy and @TomMighell stress that this is a personal choice and ask the listeners for feedback on the to-do technologies they like best. After the break, Kennedy and Mighell discuss the recent tech news story about Russian cybercriminals accumulating a hoard of more than a billion user passwords. They examine whether lawyers should be worried about this data breach, and what they should do to protect their online accounts. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews John Isaza, a pioneer in information governance and records management, at the LegalTech West Coast Trade Show. Together they discuss the concepts of defensible disposition as well as risk, readiness, and revenue as they pertain to information governance and law firm data. Although attorneys can’t sell or disseminate client data, they should be prepared to discuss the issue of profitable data with their clients. The foundation for an excellent information governance system includes these recordkeeping principles: accountability, transparency, integrity, protection, compliance with regulatory/privacy/global requirements, availability, retention, and disposition (ATIPCARD).
Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews Hunter McMahon, director of discovery and technology at Driven Inc., at the LegalTech West Coast Trade Show. McMahon explains the issues during an e-discovery project including quick data retention turnover, balancing privacy and security, and using appropriate data capturing technology. In starting e-discovery, he says, the best strategy is to start with custodians, managers and users with information that can narrow the search for data. Driven Inc. develops platforms for e-discovery that process, analyze, and produce data in a single index to reduce errors.
E-discovery is an intricate and complicated process where law and technology intersect to find solutions to complex litigation challenges. Lawyers and legal professionals going through the e-discovery process are often overwhelmed with data and information in varying systems in different stages of technological advancement. From millions of documents to tight production deadlines, no one understands the realities of the e-discovery frenzy better than an e-discovery case manager.
On this episode of The ESI Report, Michele Lange interviews Joe Edlund and Matt Samet, two e-discovery case managers from Kroll Ontrack. Edlund explains that it is the job of a case manager to establish a working relationship with the lawyer, including training on the data software, explaining data sets and performance, helping to make deadlines, and generally decreasing stress. Samet describes some of the benefits to the legal professional of having an e-discovery case manager. They are able to see the client from beginning to end and organize data recovery systems, identify response documents, and be proactive about potential issues. Through an open and communicative relationship with engineers and project level support, case managers are able to make the hectic process of e-discovery easier and more manageable. Stick around to the end for a fun quiz about job descriptions.
Joe Edlund is a Kroll Ontrack case manager who partners with law firms and corporate clients to provide sound advice and best practices in connection with e-discovery management. Matt Samet has experience as a case manager and is also a portfolio manager at Kroll Ontrack, also providing clients with e-discovery solutions.
Technology has changed the world of law firms and businesses, affecting the way lawyers are required to retrieve, record, and archive information. Instead of communicating entirely by email or phone, professionals are now also exchanging valuable information by instant message, collaboration systems, or social media. It is important for paralegals to understand the ways in which this data is stored and maintained as it can often result in expensive lawsuits.
On this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews social business management expert Doug Kaminski about data recovery, ediscovery, regulatory requirements, and archiving information that is exchanged through new forms of communication like social media. He emphasizes the importance for paralegals to become technology savvy, not only to assist in relevant lawsuits, but also to expand their skill set. As communications evolve, Kaminski explains, there will be an increased amount of potential evidence passed through instant messaging and social media. Paralegals should be knowledgeable about the laws concerning data retention in order to inform on custodial interviews and depositions. And most importantly, paralegals and everyone should be aware of the consequences of online communications.
Doug Kaminski, VP of Sales at West & Canada at Actiance, specializes in litigation, electronic discovery sales management, technology security, corporate compliance, corporate governance, information governance, archiving, social media, and enterprise software. He is requested as a speaker nationwide on topics including corporate compliance and governments, social media, security, and electronic discovery.
Every law firm can run into incidents of employee misconduct, data breaches, and intellectual property theft. In the age of modern technology, data breaches, insider trading, and other security problems require extensive technological forensics. Partners and firm owners, as well as lawyers working within the firm, need to understand why a digital investigation is needed, what steps should be taken within an investigation, and who should be involved. Having this knowledge can save the firm thousands of dollars while uncovering the truth.
In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview ediscovery and compliance attorney Patrick Oot about how attorneys should be prepared on technology issues when they start to investigate criminal and civil matters. Everyone leaves technology footprints, Oot explains. Whether dealing with an internal investigation or with client data, the most important asset is unbiased, comprehensive, and well documented research. When hiring a digital investigator, the firm should always find an outside expert who is experienced with data breaches, understands how data moves through the system, and can manage proper narrative to the regulators. Properly conducting a digital investigation can make the difference in the credibility and success of a law firm.
Patrick Oot is a partner in the DC office of Shook Hardy and Bacon LLC where he leads the practice on e compliance and digital investigations. He is one of the few ediscovery and compliance attorneys in the nation that possesses the tripartite experience of an in-house corporate counsel from a fortune 16 organization, a senior attorney at a federal regulatory agency, and a partner in a large law firm. Patrick has extensive experience advising on discovery and investigative matters involving commercial litigation, compliance, regulatory requests, antitrust matters, and personnel issues.
When a law firm breaks up or a lawyer leaves to start a new practice, there are always clients, contingency arrangements, and hourly cases to split up. It is important to know what ethical steps a lawyer or law firm should take when parting ways. If the firm splits up, who has the rights to the name, brand, clients, or even client files? How can both parties ethically allocate unfinished business, accounts receivable, or unsettled contingency prearrangements? An ethical and professional split is inevitably beneficial for the future of the law firm and the lawyer.
On this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon D. Nelson and Jim Calloway ask legal ethics expert Tom Spahn about the proper way to professionally deal with the various situations that arise when a law firm splits up. He explains that lawyers and their firms should remain civil and open to negotiation before the lawyer has left. Firms have run into trouble while trying to penalize leaving employees on an individual basis. He discusses the ethically proper way to deal with unfinished business doctrines, document retention programs, and fiduciary duties to clients. Due to technology, there are new issues to consider including digital files or property ownership of domain names. Overall, however, Spahn emphasizes that every partner has a continuing duty to make sure every client is adequately served.
Tom Spahn, often known as “Mr. Ethics” in Virginia, practices as a commercial litigator in the Tysons Corner office of McGuireWoods. He has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professionalism, and has spoken over 1,200 times on ethics and other topics in the United States and abroad.