Sunday, September 21, 2008

Women in eDiscovery

How time flies when you're having fun!

I hadn't realized that my last post was way back on the 4th, and seeing as I had some unexpected free time today I decided that I'd better put together a quick post!

As some readers will know, I'm the Assistant Director of the Toronto Chapter of Women in eDiscovery. The Toronto chapter, although not (yet!) the largest, has been one of the most rapidly growing chapters, reflecting a previously unmet need for education and networking among litigation technology professionals.

We usually have around 30 members turn up to each meeting (sometimes more, sometimes less) and, now that the "formalities" meetings are over, we're starting to get into the swing of things.

Our last meeting, on September 17th, was held at Torys (thanks Ceyda!); lunch was sponsored by KPMG; and Kelly Inglese (from McCarthy's) spoke. Our meetings are going to be held on the third Wednesday of the month at lunchtime.

If you are a woman involved in litigation support, legal technology or eDiscovery, join Women in eDiscovery (it's free!) and check us out.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bikes are not designed for stairs

I live in an upstairs apartment. I like it that way because I can't stand the sound of people tramping around above me. Trust me, I've lived in a number of places where people have lived above me and am always amazed at how many people find it necessary to walk around their apartments in hobnailed boots at 3 a.m.

But there are disadvantages to living upstairs.

Lugging bags of groceries up the stairs.
Lugging anything up the stairs.
But especially lugging bikes up stairs . . .

If I could get a stair lift thing that would work for bikes, I would. It's the only thing I dislike about living upstairs. And the only regret I have over opting for a hybrid bike over a road bike. (I have a Trek 7.2 FX. It's a great bike, but boy is it heavy!)

When Clients Go Bad . . .

A great blog on LLRX by the highly esteemed Conrad Jacoby about a client who obviously did not "get" the whole litigation hold thing.

His post covers a disaster of a case in the US (where else?); Southern New England Telephone Company (“SNET”) v. Global NAPS, Inc., 2008 WL 2568567 (D.Conn. June 23, 2008).

The short version is this: Company executives chose not to preserve electronic evidence, instead choosing to use "Window Washer" (a file shredding utility that advertises itself with the catchy slogan of "What you do on your computer is YOUR business. Keep it that way!") several times to delete and overwrite key evidence. Then they stood up in court and claimed, while under oath, that the deleted evidence (a number of key documents apparently) had never actually existed. This was in direct contradiction to earlier sworn statements made in other earlier litigations.

The use of Window Washer was picked up (of course) by the computer forensics expert, and the case was thrown out of court.

Unlike other You Have To Be Kidding Me cases (such as the notable Zubulake, and the more recent Qualcomm/Broadcom debacle), the blame for this particular eDiscovery disaster was lain squarely at the feet of the recalcitrant client.

But this one case hardly lets lawyers off the hook. Lawyers are still responsible (on both sides of the border) for informing their clients about the risks, and plain stupidity, of deliberately erasing evidence; be it paper or electronic.

So this case simply illustrates what I have often said - don't let your clients do DIY eDiscovery.

Get in an expert.

Be sure you've advised your client, in writing, of the risks associated with certain actions.

Be sure you have told them how to avoid those risks.

And then monitor, monitor, monitor for compliance with your advice.