E-Discovery

If you read a lot of e-discovery articles — and I know y’all do — you know that judges are quickly losing any patience for attorneys who don’t have their act together during e-discovery (or even regular old discovery).

I know that nothing about the process is simple or easy. I know e-discovery is expensive and time-consuming and involves complex computer programs that most people don’t understand. But seriously, everyone needs to hurry up and figure this stuff out.

Otherwise you might end up like the attorneys for the city of Washington, D.C., who got benchslapped so hard on Monday that they won’t be able to see straight for a week.

Read on to learn about what Chief Judge Royce Lamberth (D.D.C.) described as a discovery abuse “so extreme as to be literally unheard of”….

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Last month, we announced our exciting Legal Technology Leadership Summit, which we’re hosting in partnership with the Electronic Discovery Institute and the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery (ASDFED).

We are pleased to announce TCDI and Planet Data as VIP Ambassadors of the event. We also continue to add great speakers to the panels, including Nishan DeSilva of Microsoft, Ronke Ekwensi of Pfizer, Paul Meyer of Towers Watson, and Demetrius Rush of Zurich N.A.

Space is limited, so please sign up now to attend.

Legal Technology Leadership Summit

Earlier: For Legal Technology, Above the Law Needs An Entire Summit

Burka in the court?

* The three defendants in the civil wrongful-death action brought by Robert Wone’s widow are keeping their mouths shut. [National Law Journal]

* But their former house is open — and once again on the market, for the tidy sum of $1.6 million. [Who Murdered Robert Wone?]

* Professor Eugene Volokh wants to know, with respect to wearing religious head coverings to court, can’t we all just get along? [Volokh Conspiracy]

Lavi Soloway

* Congratulations to Lavi Soloway and his client, Henry Velandia, whose deportation proceedings have been adjourned — due in part to a recent decision by Attorney General Eric Holder, vacating a BIA decision in another case involving a same-sex couple. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Speaking of judges and gay marriage, maybe Justice Kennedy should trade Salzburg for São Paulo this summer. [ABA Journal]

* What is behind the spring bonus phenomenon? One big factor: the boom in the lateral hiring market. [Vault's Law Blog]

* Speaking of the state of the legal economy, we’ve already linked to the big Economist article on the legal profession — but check out this great photo, in case you missed it. [The Economist / Tumblr]

* Are harsh sanctions for discovery violations a good thing? Ben Kerschberg thinks so. [Law & Technology / Forbes]

* Don’t forget to wish your mom a Happy Mother’s Day! (Unless your mom is Vivia Chen.) [The Careerist]

* Litigators: Do you know about the usefulness of Rule 56(f) 56(d)? [What About Clients?]

* When Glenn Reynolds is away, Ann Althouse will play. [Althouse via Instapundit]

* Were your law school classmates this attractive? Probably not. [YouTube]

Above the Law is partnering with the Electronic Discovery Institute to host a Legal Technology Leadership Summit from September 6 to September 8, 2011. We’ll be bringing together lawyers and technology professionals and offering a special track dealing with digital forensics, managed by the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery. And since this is ATL, we’re rolling to the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida.

If your law firm or organization is interested in attending, we’d love to see you. Click here to sign up now.

Patrick Oot, General Counsel and Co-Founder of the Electronic Discovery Institute (“EDI”), described the summit as an opportunity “to provide a setting where thought leaders from large organizations and corporate legal departments can collaborate on the current state of the law pertaining to various uses of digital information.”

Speaking for Above the Law, David Lat noted that legal technology directly impacts the day-to-day life of many of Above the Law’s readers. The summit will bring together counsel from many major corporations and leaders in providing cost-effective technological solutions.

Clients expect their lawyers to be using technology to keep costs down, lawyers expect technology to be intuitive to a bunch of people with liberal arts degrees, and Above the Law expects that putting all these people together will be good for the whole industry. Tech gurus, thought leaders, clients, David Lat and Elie Mystal, and a Florida resort. What could possibly go wrong?

Click after the jump for the full press release from EDI…

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Recently on my blog I have been posting different viewpoints as to whether the e-discovery industry should have its own specialized certification. In the past year there has been a push by several organizations to establish standards of testing in the industry.  In fact, a few weeks ago, the newly formed Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists or ACEDS (prenounced “A-Saids”) held an inaugural conference in Hollywood, Florida. Although ACEDS was just founded last year by the Intriago Group, led by a former McDermott Will & Emery partner, Charles Intriago, the meeting had over 300 attendees — not bad for a first conference.

I had the chance to speak with two attorneys who spoke at the ACEDS meeting. They provided me with a better understanding of whether the movement toward certification is simply a passing trend or a sign of things to come…

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In 1995, Betty Dukes took a job at a Wal-Mart near San Francisco, working as a cashier and greeter for $5 an hour. A “greeter” represents the face of the company as consumers walk through the door. Little did Dukes and Wal-Mart know that Dukes would ultimately become a face of Wal-Mart nationally, under much different circumstances. 

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Dukes is now the lead plantiff in a gender bias suit that may become the largest class action in American history, with attorneys for Dukes seeking to represent a class of possibly 1.6 million women. SCOTUS will be determining if the plaintiff cases against Wal-Mart are sufficiently related for them to be certified as a class. 

So what does this have to do with legal technology, which is what I cover for ATL? Everything. And no matter what the court decides, the legal and technological ramifications of this case do not bode well for the retail giant… 

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From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out. People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.

Bill Herr, a lawyer who used to supervise document review for a chemical company, discussing new e-discovery software that can analyze documents quickly and cheaply. Herr is quoted in an interesting New York Times article entitled Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software.

From “concept searching” to “cloud computing,” every year there are new buzz words and catch phrases that enter into the lexicon of legal technology. Of course, when you are dealing with technology of any sort, you should expect to update jargon regularly (such as from 3G to 4G to 5G, whatever that means).

2011 is shaping up to be no different. This year’s “it” phrase is already emerging in the industry. It evolved from the buzz words of yesteryear, and if this new phraseology is worth its salt, these new advances could drastically change how law is practiced for years to come.

So what is legal technology’s newest terminology?

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Daniel de Juan, a sales engineer from Mitratech, summed up perfectly what LegalTech was like for me this year: “Being at LegalTech is almost like being at a casino, in the sense that you lose all track of time.”

Two years ago, I found the conference to be pretty intimidating, and that was when the conference was much smaller due to the weak economy. Last year, LegalTech New York was much bigger, and I found it slightly overwhelming. This year, due to some bad planning on my part, I came home from LegalTech utterly exhausted.

It seems I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. After a quick search on the Internet, I have seen only a few things written up about the conference, so I’m guessing many people went through the same experience. (For example, I spoke with members of The Posse List on the first night, and they told me that they were gearing up to do 36 interviews during the two and a half day conference — so it must have been a whirlwind for them as well.)

That said, here are some musings from my adventure last week….

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Ed. note: Gabe Acevedo will be covering LegalTech for Above the Law this year. If you are interested in communicating with someone from ATL about LegalTech coverage, please contact Gabe at gabe@gabesguide.com. Thanks.

The pregame show for LegalTech New York 2011 has been in full swing the last few weeks. Vendors and their PR reps have been constantly reaching out via emails, text messages, phone calls, and smoke signals, to contact industry experts, “thought leaders,” law firm decision makers, members of the media, and, perhaps most importantly, knuckleheads like me. All are doing their best to generate “buzz” before they announce their new products, alliances, services — fill in the blank as you see fit — at the conference.

Then, at 9:00 AM on Monday, LegalTech New York will open with what I am certain will be a riveting keynote address from Gabriel Buigas, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Hewlett Packard, entitled Legal vs. IT: Turn the Battle into a Solution to Meet Compliance. At that point, everything will reach a crescendo.

Well, not exactly.

Don’t get me wrong; I am sure Gabriel Buigas will give an excellent speech. But the real action will begin at 10 AM, when the doors to the exhibit hall open. That is when all hell breaks loose, and hundreds of technology vendors will be eagerly waiting to share with you the great news about their respective companies.

With that as a backdrop, here is some of what I expect to see at this year’s LegalTech….

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