As we all know, the internet continually disrupts society on a global scale. It has become a platform for the international exchange of ideas and, more importantly, brought hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. But with this disruptive platform comes challenges of safety and security, access to information, and censorship within multiple legal systems. How can we appropriately apply the legal standards and expectations from every country in the world to the internet which is, by nature, an international platform?
In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker about his path to general counsel of Google and the current legal challenges the multinational technology company faces. Walker examines internet disruption and censorship and talks about how Google approaches the legal balance between personal privacy and the government’s need for access to information.
Walker begins by talking about his path through the U.S. Attorney’s office, AirTouch Communications, Netscape (which became AOL), eBay, and then ending up in his current position at Google and how different sources of training gave him the experience to be a successful general counsel. Through his history in tech companies, he has interacted with the evolution of information law in privacy and defamation, jurisdictional questions, intellectual property definitions, the limits on patents and copyright, and new questions about antitrust in a digital economy.
Milch and Walker then transition into a discussion on threats arising to the internet as it is today. As Google is intimately involved in the balance between necessary encryption and government access to information, Walker discusses how his legal department approaches this fine line. Discussion inevitably turns to censorship and the “right to be forgotten,” a misnomer actually meaning the right to be delisted from the search engines. They talk about self-censorship within tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, collaboration in Silicon Valley after the Snowden Revelations, and the international goal of access to information and freedom of expression.
As general counsel and senior vice president for legal, policy, trust, and safety at Google, Kent Walker is responsible for managing Google’s global legal team and advising the company’s board and management on legal issues and corporate governance matters. Before joining Google, Walker held senior legal positions at a number of leading technology companies. Earlier in his career, Walker was an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, where he specialized in the prosecution of technology crimes and advised the Attorney General on management and technology issues.
Michael Fricklas is executive vice-president, general counsel, and secretary of Viacom Inc., a powerhouse in the digital content industry. Viacom, a global mass media company, owns Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike, Comedy Central, Channel 5 in the UK, and hundreds of other cable television networks. Because of the massive amount of media content it owns (mostly tv shows and movies), Viacom has been at the center of copyright issues involving YouTube/Google. Additionally, as a large corporation with many departments and outsourced legal work, cybersecurity and cyber attacks have become immensely important recently.
In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Michael Fricklas about his path to becoming general counsel of Viacom, his specific interest in technology law, and what it’s like to be general counsel in a company owned by lawyers. Fricklas also discusses the copyright infringement lawsuit between Viacom and YouTube, how he managed the corporation’s public reputation during that time, and what he predicts for the future of cybersecurity in law firms and corporate legal departments. Tune in for an inside look at how the digital age has influenced the job of general counsel.
Michael Fricklas has served in senior management of Viacom’s legal department since 1993 and has been general counsel and secretary, Viacom’s most senior legal position, since 1998. He has been deeply involved in the legal issues surrounding the digitization of content and, most recently, has become involved in cyber-security issues.
Legal Talk Network Producer Laurence Colletti interviews Lisa Dunner, chair of the Section of Intellectual Property Law, at the 2015 ABA Midyear Meeting. Dunner discusses the divisions of the section, patent, trademark, copyright, alternative dispute resolution, licensing, and other specialized divisions, and how they influence federal laws. Lisa Dunner is managing partner in the law firm of Dunner Law PLLC in Washington D.C.
Analytics is basically data analysis focused on distilling information useful for improving processes and decision making, often in a business context. When applied to law firms, analytics can be used to improve client intake, increase the firm’s efficiency, and identify silos. How is this possible? How can simply collecting and analyzing data affect your law firm’s fees and revenue?
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Jared Correia interviews data analytics specialists Patrick Fuller and Bill Sowinski about the analysis of current trends in the legal field, why and how a law firm should implement analytics, and the recommended technologies and processes for big and small law firms. Fuller discusses current trends in the Am Law 200, the Top 200 U.S.-based law firms ranked by revenue according to the American Lawyer magazine. He talks about how Am Law’s metrics are emblematic of the market and how this directly correlates to law firm revenues. Sowinski discusses why metrics and analytics are increasingly important for a law firm to be successful in the future. If used properly, analytics can become a differentiating factor for the firm and increase client intake. While big law firms can afford expensive technology and experts, Sowinski explains, small law firms can still use analytics by planning and implementing discipline to capture data. In the future of the legal field, Sowinski says, analytics won’t just be beneficial, they’ll be necessary.
Patrick Fuller is Director of Corporate Solutions for Datacert|TyMetrix Legal Analytics. Patrick has made an art form of translating big data into intelligence for use in business development and organizational strategy. He has more than 17 years of experience in the legal profession.
Bill Sowinski is the director of decision support services for Datacert|TyMetrix Legal Analytics. He works with clients to structure and analyze their legal data, facilitating the development and deployment of measured strategies and supporting policies designed to improve performance. Previously an insurance defense lawyer, Sowinski is a litigation expert and a pioneer in the legal analytics space.
In February 2011, an Ecuadorean court found the Chevron Corporation liable for environmental damage caused by oil-drilling activities in the rainforest region El Oriente in the 1970s and 1980s. Chevron, which in 2001 purchased Texaco (the company which had actually operated the oil wells), was ordered to pay $19 billion to the class-action plaintiffs who brought the suit. These plaintiffs, a collection of small farmers and indigenous peoples, had the support of a team of Ecuadorean and American attorneys, including the charismatic Steven Donziger. Donziger, a media-savvy graduate of Harvard Law, had helped them gain the support of variety of environmentalists and celebrities.
Although it is tempting to fit this into a simple narrative–either “scrappy band of lawyers wins enormous victory for oppressed people against an evil corporation” or “responsible corporation preyed upon by voracious plaintiffs attorneys over scurrilous accusations”–the truth just isn’t that simple. And the $19 billion verdict was far from the end of this story.
“When you combine the rainforest, multinational oil company and indigenous tribespeople, most people think they know the story with just those three facts,” said Paul M. Barrett, author of the new book Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win. “Life is always more complicated than that.”
Barrett first reported on this case when he wrote a profile of Donziger for Bloomberg Businessweek, where he is assistant managing editor and a senior writer. In this Modern Law Library podcast, he discusses with moderator Lee Rawles the wild twists and turns this case has taken, both before the verdict and afterwards.
As of this publication, legal battles are still being fought as accusations of fraud, forgery, bribery and conspiracy have been leveled against Donziger and the rest of the plaintiffs’ legal team. And as Barrett explains, the result of those battles could have severe and wide-ranging effects for all class-action lawsuits against major corporations.
On the coattails of presidential support and possible regulations from the Federal Communications Commission, Net Neutrality makes its way back into public debate. Proponents claim it will keep the internet a level playing field while opponents believe the opposite. One side worries about oppressive corporations while the other is concerned about oppressive government. Not surprisingly, opinions for or against tend to follow political party lines. On this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host J. Craig Williams interviews Chris Fedeli from Judicial Watch and Professor Jonathan Askin from Brooklyn Law School. Together they discuss the meaning of net neutrality, the pros and cons of regulating, and what it takes to keep the internet innovative. Tune in to hear about free market principles, consumer protection, and data packet discrimination.
Chris Fedeli is a senior attorney with Judicial Watch where he has litigated multiple cases in state and federal courts concerning election integrity, ballot initiatives and referendums, and government transparency. Prior to joining Judicial Watch, Fedeli was a senior associate at Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington D.C., where he represented clients in communications law litigation and regulatory proceedings. In 2009, the ABA’s Communications Lawyer published Fedeli’s article criticizing the FCC for its net neutrality regulations, which have since been overturned twice by the DC Circuit.
Professor Jonathan Askin is a professor at Brooklyn Law School where he teaches technology, telecommunications, and entrepreneurial law and policy. He is also the Founder of the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic, which represents internet, new media, communications and other tech entrepreneurs on business development, policy advocacy, and law reform. During the 2008 Presidential Election, Askin chaired the Internet Governance Working Group for the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign.
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.
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.
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.