LTNY 2013 in Review

Legal Tech New York 2013 is now behind us… what did you see? what did you learn?

This event is arguably the most important legal technology event of the year as most of the major industry players will schedule new product and service announcements for the week of the show. Here are a few good resources for finding out what you missed… even if you were there:

  • You will find several “live” blog posts here
  • Here are a few posts on current trends at the show
  • News & Notes from Law.com
  • Scroll through the chatter on Twitter #LTNY
  • A good overall wrap up of the show and don’t miss the links to the right for the daily reviews

If you read through all of these posts, you will feel like you were there and be completely “in the know!”

The Power of Informal Learning Experiences

What is missing from your learning experiences today?

According to this infographic, the power of the informal learning experience is what’s missing.  This week, you may be with many of our industry peers in New York City at Legal Tech New York. This conference and trade show presents a great opportunity to experience the power of the informal learning experience as you network and visit the exhibit halls.  The conference itself is a formal learning experience and you may spend time sitting and listening and taking notes on your iPAD. However, what I have enjoyed and valued the most over the years has been the informal conversations with my peers.

It has been my experience as a trainer that adults who need to learn a skill or concept in order to successfully complete a task or project, absorb information best in an informal setting. Many of us are still dealing with test anxiety from driver’s ed or the SAT … even if that was 25 or 30 years ago. LOL! Sitting in a traditional classroom is not for everyone, especially if a “test” or assessment is looming at the end the of week. When I was the lead trainer at Litworks, it was not uncommon for one or two students to become ill at the end of the week in anticipation of their presentation assessment. If you suffer from test anxiety then perhaps you might want to take a look at other options for learning … I call it the “hide-the-veggies-in-the-cookies” method.

Informal learning through coaching and targeted learning plans allow you and your team to work at your own pace and have fun while doing so. Watch a webinar, listen to a podcast, read a blog post or white paper on the subject matter you need to learn. Take your time so that you can digest and apply the new information to your daily workload.  Then have a conversation with your learning coach to make sure that you understood it all. Many of us are the only person we know (outside of work) who understands e-discovery or litigation technology. So that limits our learning conversations to our co-workers and /or our boss … maybe you have a good report with your vendors and can comfortably ask them questions… but if you’re a service provider, who do you ask? I’ve had some very real conversations with industry professionals who enjoy simply having an existential discussion about e-discovery and the fall of the Roman Empire. :-)

In a recent Gartner report, it was suggested that CIOs would have better results with talent management if they trained their staff instead of outsourcing for skills. In other words, why hire an outside consultant when you have capable staff? It benefits the whole company or organization if new skills are learned and applied to projects. This is especially true in e-discovery project management as you and your team work to develop a repeatable and defensible process and workflow.

This internal development consisted of measures such as job rotations, training on the job, stretch tasks, shadowing and mentoring. Other effective techniques for holding onto or fostering the necessary skills internally were paying above average salaries and recruiting people from the business side of the organization.

Most litigation support and e-discovery professionals are not formally trained. We were recruited from the business side of the organization: IT, paralegals, attorneys.  We learn on the job through shadowing and mentoring. If you are an e-discovery or litigation support manager, you should be mentoring your team and encouraging them to share tasks and mentor others. It does not have to be formal. Everyone is too busy to attend a training class anyway…  ;-) Mentor your paralegals and invite them to watch you set up a processing project or the technology component of a document production. They may never actually do it themselves but for the purpose and success of an e-discovery project, they should know and understand what it takes to accomplish the technology tasks. Informal learning experiences work well with busy attorneys, too. It is one of the reasons, I believe that internal litigation support staff generate great value to a law firm or corporate legal department.

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about whether it makes more sense to insource or outsource the litigation support department.  If you want to read the articles that sparked the discussion, you may do so here and here.  The article in favor of keeping and investing in your litigation support team points out that “institutional knowledge, trust and accountability” are all excellent reasons for direct employment of litigation support professionals. I think that firms that choose to outsource their staff will find these three areas lacking in the long run while they may save a few dollars in the short term. However, if the organizational infrastructure does not exist to support and develop the litigation support team, then perhaps outsourcing is the best move. I don’t think a blanket approach is best for any organization. All of this said, I strongly support informal training as a successful means to support and develop your litigation support and e-discovery team. I would include paralegals and attorneys in this approach. Formal training has its place in the learning and educational process but I have to agree with the infographic that the true success lies in the informal moments that build teams, build relationships, and enhance learning.

informal training infographic

E-Discovery Project Management Training Just for YOU!

A few of you out there have asked me about scheduling training opportunities at times when it doesn’t interfere with work. So this month, we started offering training webinars on Wednesday evenings (8:00pm EST). Hopefully, this is a convenient time for you to focus your energy on moving your career forward this year.

This week and next week, we will learn about e-discovery project management.  Here are the links to REGISTER:

Learn About E-Discovery Project Management (Introduction)

This course is now available on-demand. Click the link to the registration page above to access.

You will learn:

  • How to apply general project management methodologies to e-discovery
  • How to properly assess project risk, scope, schedule and to document a defensible project plan
  • How to communicate effectively with your project team

Learn About E-Discovery Project Management (Advanced)

This course is now available on-demand. Click the link to the registration page above to access.

You will learn:

  • How to apply Agile Project Management methodology to e-discovery projects
  • How to develop project management assets for your organization (standards, project plans, checklists)
  • Effective and realistic communication strategies to save TIME, save MONEY, avoid RISK and manage CHANGE

These courses are designed for anyone responsible for supporting and project managing litigation & electronic discovery technology resources… or would like to transition into an e-discovery project management role with your firm or organization. The more you know about e-discovery project management, the more prepared you will be to compete in this industry for the best jobs and opportunities.  

DON’T HESITATE, REGISTER TODAY!

Both project management courses will be recorded and available on-demand within a week after the live training.

Learn About E-Discovery: PROCESSING

This picture has to be my absolute favorite illustration to kick off a discussion (or lesson) on the processing or conversion of electronically stored information for the discovery phase of litigation.

(Please note: I have nothing against bunnies… well, except for the ones that ate all of the broccoli and spinach in my garden last fall.) This graphic shows us how the corporate clients will provide ESI in it’s native format only for the law firm to flatten it into a TIFF or PDF image format. The original blog post that addresses the case of the flattened bunny can be found here and is well worth the time to read. Four years ago the debate over producing documents as TIFF images vs. their native format was in full swing.  The “dead bunny” case was discussed further in this video.  While the video and blog post reference a case from 2009, it is still a relevant topic today as many case teams are still unclear about the PROCESSING phase in e-discovery. I think it is important to note that we can not make processing decisions in a vacuum.  The project plan for processing can not be finalized without the final plan for production format(s). This is why it is considered a best practice to identify and agree upon production formats at the beginning of the case.  For example, if the parties agree to producing native files, then there is no reason to spend money converting files to TIFF images for the review. Also, if you are looking for creative ways to save money, your case team will want to address both processing options and the resulting production format options at the same time.

Let’s take a look at a few current resources to learn about ESI PROCESSING today:

ESI Processing does not have to be a mystery

The general objectives of processing include identifying exactly what elements or items of ESI have been submitted for processing, including their associated metadata. This allows intelligent and informed decisions to be made that can reduce the volume of data selected for continuation along the path to review. At the same time, the application of processing technology and analysis to the data needs to be performed under strict standards of quality control and to bear in mind chain of custody requirements. (read more of this article here)

The EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) – Processing Phase

My blog post on understanding technology used for Processing ESI

The technology available to converting ESI to a “reviewable” format is pretty straight forward… data in/ data out. However, you’ll notice in the sample product demo that there are a lot of options so ask lots of questions to be sure that you understand the output from the system.  How will it help your document review? Will the output from the processing system allow you to meet the agreed upon production requirements?

 

Learn About E-Discovery is now offering weekly webinars. This week’s topic: Introduction to E-Discovery Project Management.

 

2012: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

I love that I can always count on starting the new year with a review of old news. :-)  Everyone writes a “what happened last year” blog post and as an e-discovery trainer, it’s a fantastic way for me to summarize important points, events, lessons learned and cases from each year.

 

Here’s my list of favorites for 2012:

 

Essential Skills for E-Discovery Project Managers

Happy New Year!

Project Management has remained a popular topic in the e-discovery world for the last few years… I think 2013 will not be different. In fact, the upcoming Legal Tech NY trade show has dedicated at least one of its e-discovery track sessions on the next level of the e-discovery project management discussion: Process. Here’s an excerpt from the session description:

What is a Quality eDiscovery Process and How Do You Defend It?

The lack of formalized standards in eDiscovery poses challenges with respect to both methodology and defensibility. With the high stakes of litigation, growing expectations on the part of the judiciary, and the increasing frequency of spoliation motions, the components of the eDiscovery process continue to be susceptible to attack. As a result, litigants are often forced to focus on defense of their process, rather than the merits. Moreover, courts are frequently asked to evaluate the reasonableness of a particular process in retrospect, only after a party has made a significant investment in technology and resources. These issues should be considered and faced head on, from the inception of a matter.

An article from nearly a year ago supports the idea that the tools are not as important as the process.  It’s easy to focus our energy on the technology used to support e-discovery, but the real priority should be the process. As an e-discovery project manager, what are the essential skills that will empower you in 2013 to help your team stay focused on THE PROCESS?

  • Continuing Education – Look into a certificate program to formalize your project management skills and take advantage of online resources like webinars, blogs, podcasts that are specific to e-discovery.
  • Be the Change You Seek – Training is a great catalyst for change in your organization. If you want your team to focus on the e-discovery process, then develop internal training that is process oriented.  Many e-discovery project managers are also the defacto e-discovery project management “trainers” for their teams. It’s not enough to train your team to use the technology, they need to understand the process the technology supports. Training will allow you to gather input on creating “defensible processes while simultaneously increasing efficiency and reducing costs” in a tangible way that can be implemented immediately.
  • Marketing & Sales Skills – I wrote about this not too long ago. Your team will need you to be able to present, persuade, negotiate and justify proposed solutions.
  • Advisory Skills – You should be monitoring trends and emerging technologies to prepare yourself for the direction e-discovery is heading in 2013 and beyond. Review the articles, blog posts, podcasts and webinars that are plentiful right now discussing what worked and didn’t work in e-discovery in 2012 and that look toward the future in 2013. Be aware of what’s going in the industry so that you can advise your team when questions arise. You will be expected to play a role in recommending alternative solutions and strategies for both internal and external projects.
  • Technology – The beginning a any new e-discovery project is “all hands on deck” and if e-discovery technology is “new” to your firm, then some degree of experimentation with workflows may be necessary. You will need to know the ins/outs of the technology solutions available at your firm to make wise and informed choices as to how you will implement them to support the e-discovery process in your organization.

 

So as you explore your options to grow your e-discovery project management career in 2013, keep a close watch on your PROCESSES … their quality and defensibility. 

The Georgetown Advanced eDiscovery Institute

The Advanced eDiscovery Institute

A continuing education program by Georgetown Law School

This year the program was held December 6 & 7

The agenda and roster of speakers can be found here.

This conference is considered one of the most highly regarded e-discovery learning events of the year.  Learn something new about e-discovery today by reviewing the blogs and articles below:

Exterro’s E-Discovery Beat Blog live blogged notes from the conference

Other notes & blogs summarizing the learning experience

E-Discovery Project Management for Paralegals Notes

Thanks to all of you who participated in the live recording of the webinar on e-discovery project management for paralegals earlier this week! I enjoyed sharing best practices and project planning tips. After live seminars and webinars, it has become my practice to provide a few extra notes here at Learn About E-Discovery dot com based on the questions from the audience.  The 90-minute recording will be available on-demand soon so check back for the update and URL.

One of the questions that came up was regarding CHECKLISTS. When creating / drafting a standard operating procedure, you’ll want to include a checklist that isn’t too long or too short that covers the primary information you will need as a project manager to get your project started.  Here are a few sites that offer practical examples:

One     Two     Three     Four

If you or your friends are interested in additional project management training for e-discovery, please send me an e-mail … erika at learnaboutediscovery.com

Don’t Miss This LEARNING OPPORTUNITY! December 5th!

Don’t miss this learning opportunity! THIS WEDNESDAY! December 5th!

Learn About E-Discovery Project Management!

Live for 90 minutes on December 5th!

Register TODAY to join me online for a live training session

E-Discovery Project Management For Paralegals

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Save $20 using the discount code: erika20off

More Info…