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The Rundown: This Week in Legal Technology – 11.06.10

What a wild week in Washington! In the aftermath of hundreds of thousands of people rallying for sanity, the Republicans trounced the Democrats in the House.

As for me, when I wasn’t cleaning the millions of dollars I had stuffed in my closet to hide from the IRS or arguing with my therapist about how versatile my JD degree is, I spent the rest of the time collecting information for this week’s Rundown. Among other things, this edition covers my discussion of the the book “6Ps of the Big3,” a major technology acquisition, a possible flaw in the workflow of the e-discovery process, musings of one of the world’s most widely traveled lawyers, and a new exam for certifying e-discovery qualifications…

Over the weekend, I received a copy of Amanda Ellis’s new book The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job Seeking JDs, which discusses six important “elements” lawyers can incorporate into their job search campaigns using the the “big three” social networking sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I haven’t had a chance to delve into the book just yet, but I wanted to make sure to give her a shout-out. Ellis is an attorney and legal recruiter based in Dallas, who provides a great example of how to promote one’s self through social media. If you are an attorney looking for work, you can learn a lot by following her on Twitter.

Chris Dale

* I could have written an entire post about the activities of globe-trotting UK lawyer Chris Dale, who is a major figure in e-discovery, or as they say across the pond, “e-disclosure”. In recent weeks, Dale has been everywhere from Singapore to Toronto preaching and picking up details about the industry. In one of his latest posts, Dale writes about how the e-discovery industry is growing and shrinking at the same time.

* EXAM TIME: The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) announced this week that it is launching a new Certified E-Discovery Exam. According to ACEDS, the examination “tests a candidate’s knowledge in areas from cost controls, litigation and preservation holds, budgeting and ethics to project management, technology, data culling, document reviews and cross-border discovery.” There has been a growing movement among e-discovery professionals to develop an official certification so that they are better able to establish their competence and experience. Although started this year, ACEDS has been quick to gain respect in the industry. The chairman of the ACEDS advisory board is William Hamilton, who is a partner at Quarles & Brady and an adjunct at Florida Law. It will be interesting to see if this exam gains a foothold in the e-discovery community.

* A few weeks ago, I mentioned the E-Discovery 101 course from the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP). As it turns out, OLP has a cornucopia of online e-discovery courses from which to choose. Besides the 101 course, they offer a more advanced class on e-discovery as well as one for people who consider themselves “techies.” OLP’s courses address issues of interest to the entire range of e-discovery professionals, from practice support to litigation associates, including such topics as EDRM, the duty to preserve, and the Sedona Principles. In addition, the Organization of Legal Professionals mentioned below offers e-discovery certifications.

* Merger of the week: Oracle is now “growing with confidence” as it snapped up the e-commerce company ATG for a cool billion. According to TechCrunch, this is Oracle’s sixth aquisition this year. I follow significant mergers and acquisitions for several reasons. The main one is that they bring work for lawyers, especially when the transaction draws a second request (which would lead to more e-discovery). With its billion dollar-price tag, this takeover stands a fair chance of being flagged for one.

* A few Rundowns ago, I posted the following EDRM chart, mapping the course of how electronic documents make their way through the review process below:

The chart was developed by attorneys George Socha and Tom Gelbmann, and the EDRM team. Seems pretty straightforward when it comes to the e-discovery process, right?

However, Jon Tredennick, CEO of Catalyst, noticed this potential FATAL flaw:

Look closely at the triangles in the EDRM. Notice that the triangle reflecting “Data Volume” starts high on the Y axis (top of the chart). It then drops down to the X axis (Y=0) at the right side of the chart, reflecting the end of the process—the trial or the hearing.And, look closely at the triangle reflecting “Data Relevance.” It starts on the X axis at the beginning of the process (Y=0) and rises high up the Y axis by the end of the process—trial/hearing.

What’s wrong with that? Well, just one thing. The triangles’ values should never drop to zero (intersecting the X axis), certainly not at the beginning and usually not at the end of the process as well. They need to be above the X axis. Y has to be positive at the beginning and end of the process.

Oh snap! Them are almost fightin’ words! Click here to see how Tredennick thinks the EDRM model should look.

The End is Almost Here? LTN Editor-in-Chief Monica Bay authored an article on legal futurist Richard Susskind and how, in this troubled economy, lawyers are warming up to his advice on the ways they can provide better, faster, and cheaper services. In other words, lawyers can provide more and better service to their clients at lower cost. But not so fast, say some lawyers, many of whom have brushed off Susskind’s futurist notions in the past. Could factors like a stronger economy embolden them to dismiss his ideas again?

Gabe Acevedo is an attorney in Washington, D.C. and the publisher of the e-discovery blog, Gabe’s Guide to the e-Discovery Universe. His articles on legal technology and discovery issues appear weekly on Above The Law. He can be reached at gabe@abovethelaw.com.

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