Ethics and E-Discovery Panel Revisits Qualcomm Attorney Sanctions

Two of the attorneys involved in the Qualcomm litigation will give a first-hand account of the personal impact of the sanctions proceedings and discuss ethical and procedural challenges faced by lawyers who need to disclose attorney-client communications to defend themselves.

Washington DC – July 5, 2011 – Patrick Oot, General Counsel and Co-Founder of the Electronic Discovery Institute (“EDI”), announced today that a special ethics and e-discovery panel at the 2011 Legal Technology Leadership Summit will reexamine the Qualcomm v. Broadcom e-discovery sanctions opinions, particularly as they affected six of the attorneys representing Qualcomm.

On January 7, 2008, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major of the Southern District of California imposed sanctions on those attorneys for Qualcomm’s failure to produce certain electronic discovery (2008 WL 66932). Just under two months later that part of the opinion was vacated and remanded by U.S. District Court Judge Rudi M. Brewster (March 5, 2008, 2008 WL 638108). A little over two years after remand, Judge Major ultimately declined to impose sanctions and dissolved the order to show cause (April 2, 2010, 2010 WL 1336937).

Adam Arthur Bier, the junior-most attorney identified in the 2008 order who went on to found the San Francisco corporate boutique firm Bier Legal, will discuss the impact the order and its aftermath had on him personally and offer some thoughts on ways to avoid such situations. As stated by Bier, “It was, as others have rightly observed, every young lawyer’s worst nightmare, made all the more difficult by the fact that it literally took years to obtain an exculpatory ruling.”

Frank Cialone of Shartsis Friese LLP who defended several of the six attorneys will discuss the self-defense exception to the ethical rule against disclosing client confidences and will describe what has to be done procedurally and ethically to invoke the exception. Cialone stated, “Permitting lawyers to defend themselves and their reputations while giving due deference to safeguarding client confidences is a delicate balancing act with specific safeguards.” Cialone will also suggest ways in which the law firm and the client can work together to avoid such circumstances arising.

About the 2011 Legal Technology Leadership Summit
The Summit is co-presented by Above the Law, the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery, and the eDiscovery Institute. Summit information is available at: Sponsors include:

• Applied Discovery
• Clearwell Systems
• Datacert
• Ernst & Young LLP
• FTI Attenex
• Guidance Software
• Nextpoint
• Pangea3
• Planet Data
• QuisLex
• Recommind
• Thomson Reuters

About the Electronic Discovery Institute
The Electronic Discovery Institute ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization that identifies and promote technologies and processes that can lower the cost or improve the quality of handling electronic discovery. The EDI website, has reports and articles available at no cost relating to its prior work in evaluating document categorization and conducting industry surveys on duplicate consolidation, email threading, and predictive coding. Its Judges Guide to Cost-Effective E-Discovery has been very well received.

About Above the Law
Above the Law is a prominent source for original legal news, counting among its readers everyone from general counsels and senior partners at the nation’s biggest firms to the ranks of first-year law students. Written by lawyers for lawyers, Above the Law’s staff blankets institutions like the Supreme Court, law schools, life at firms both big and small, and the impact technology has on the practice of law. It’s the first with salary and bonus information and is a hub of professional advice for legal professionals at all career stages.

About the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery
The American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association serving attorneys, compliance professionals, digital forensics examiners, litigation support professionals, paralegals and technologists.

Contact Info:
Summit information is available at:

Joe Howie: