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

Are you actively looking for a way to advance your e-discovery career?

Are you seeking new skills or need to polish your area of expertise?

This course is for you!

Topics covered include:

•Project Management Methodologies: Which will work for your next e-discovery project?

•Role of a Project Manager

•What does it take to transition from senior paralegal to e-discovery project manager?

•What Should Be in Your Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

•Outline of Best Practices for Each Phase of Your SOP

•EDPM Responsibility Matrix, Planning Resources and Budgeting

•The 4 STAGES OF EDPM that every paralegal needs to know

•Managing virtual project teams

And I will also address the new attorney-centric EDBP in our discussion!

Don’t delay. Spaces are filling quickly! Join me live and online in an engaging environment open to asking questions and participating in the conversation. If you have a friend who is a litigation paralegal interested in making the transition to e-discovery project management, this session will provide a rare opportunity to learn e-discovery project management skills from an expert in the field of litigation support (if I may so humbly say so myself).

Marketing Litigation Support / E-Discovery In Your Organization

I used to teach a seminar on marketing litigation support within your law firm or corporate legal department. Over the past few years, this topic has come up a few times on the dynamic custom learning plans that I develop for individuals. A large part of being able to market your in-house services is to develop your sales skills. Here are 6 easy steps to follow for success:

1. Research the Customer

2. Deepen Your Understanding

3. Discover Where Your Customer Wants to Be

4. Decide Whether You Can Actually Help

5. Present Your Offering as a Solution

6. Ask for the Next Step

These steps are found in some shape or form in many sales training materials but I found them here. I highly recommend reading the article and checking out the book mentioned. Now, let’s discuss how to apply these steps to litigation support and/or e-discovery:

1. Know Your Customer. In a law firm, your customers are the attorneys and paralegals and the firm’s clients. In a corporation and government agency, your customers are the attorneys and paralegals plus any business or non-legal staff involved with the litigation project.  This could include the IT department if they are functioning separately from litigation support/ e-discovery.  Find out what their needs are and what is on their “wish list” when it comes to your services and technology options. Identify the folks who have a genuine interest in the technology and project management methodology and position them to be your advocates when you are not around. A good way to start your research is to send out a survey (no more than 7 questions) to gather information.

2. & 3. Be the Consultant. Review and draw conclusions from your survey results. Talk to your boss about the future of your department and the long range budget plans to give you an idea of what’s to come. You’ll need a little bit of HOPE to carry with you as you meet with your advocates to listen to their “wish list” and ideas. Ask open ended questions and share a little of the hope of what’s coming later.

4. Do NOT Over Promise! And risk under-delivering later… One of the challenges you may run into with your organization is that you don’t have a long range plan. And there is nothing to really look forward to because the overall strategy is to REACT then take action. If your firm buys software or technology based on client suggestions, then I suggest asking if you can talk to a few of your counter-parts at some of the firm’s key clients to gain a sense of where they are heading.  Then try to map out a plan for how you can support them long range. If you do have a long range outlook and plan for technology and service improvements, then fantastic!

5. Present Your Team As the Solution. Remember, you’re on THEIR team, too. You and your litigation support team are PARTNERING with the customer to support their litigation strategy. Draft a simple and short PowerPoint presentation that outlines your services, technology available, team members and function as a department within your organization. If you have enough people on your team, throw in a simple organizational chart. Add lots of pictures so that your customers will recognize you in the elevator. Include a simplified typical project intake and workflow model in your presentation. Save your presentation as a PDF and e-mail it to your advocates. Ask for their feedback. Make revisions if necessary. Request 15 minutes at the next litigation department meeting (to present in front of the attorneys and paralegals). Do this every 6 months or so.

6. Close the Deal. Here’s where marketing your litigation support team differs from simply selling a solution. You are a part of the organization. Sales gurus call this “inside sales.” You are marketing to “warm leads.” Part of the challenge over the years in marketing litigation support has been to make sure that your attorneys and paralegals not only know that you EXIST but what you exist FOR and HOW you can HELP them. When I was in the firm, I called it “hall surfing” … I would literally surf the halls on the litigation floors at least once per week. It looked more like I was taking my coffee break on another floor but there was a method to my madness. I would carve out 20 minutes of my day to sit with a notepad and pen in the break room and speak to whoever walked in for coffee. Mid to late afternoon was a great time because most folks needed their jolt to make it to the end of the day. Sometimes, “hello” / “how are you?” would work and other days, it was more specific about how’s their case going? May I offer some assistance?  These “breaks” might lead to impromptu meetings or conversations that would lead to influence, more technology advocates or basic trust necessary to successfully project manage their next big matter.

I hope these 6 steps help you to market your litigation technology solutions more effectively at your organization. Please let me know if you have questions. I am only an e-mail away 🙂

erika at learnaboutediscovery.com

Is your job slowing down your career growth?

Many of us can become pretty complacent in our jobs assuming that our employer will send us to training or provide educational opportunities from time to time. How many of us take it upon ourselves to explore career training opportunities beyond those offered by our employers? I was reading my Twitter page a little while ago when I saw this tweet:

Are You Making Your Employees Stupid? http://bit.ly/RjnPMt 

A quick scan of the article referenced and the statistics made me think… is your job slowing down your career growth? Don’t miss out on improving your skills just because your employer does not value training. It doesn’t mean they don’t value you… they may be one of the statistics mentioned in the article who doesn’t realize that on-the-job experience is not enough to keep up in today’s e-discovery market.

If you are an employer, what are you going to do today to avoid becoming a statistic?

(*hint*)

If you are looking to build your e-discovery project management skills, check out this on-demand presentation I did a few months ago or simply, keep reading this blog.

Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 5 of 5)

It’s pretty easy to execute a Google search on “e-discovery” and immediately become overwhelmed by the amazing volume of information available. Where should you begin reading? What’s fluff? What’s not? What’s educational? What’s marketing jargon? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dedicate MONDAY mornings to reading about electronic discovery basics. Each week, look for a new post to learn about e-discovery without becoming overwhelmed.This  week, we continue our series on technology used to support e-discovery with a few resources for you to learn more about ESI Production.  This will be our last entry in this series… since statistics show that only about 1% of cases ever make it all the way to trial, most of us will end our e-discovery technology journey at the production phase.

ESI Production

Definition

Discussion

Software (not an endorsement)

I hope you learned something new about e-discovery technology or reinforced your on-the-job training with the five short lessons provided here over the past few weeks. If you have questions or if you are interested in a custom learning plan, please send an e-mail to erika at learnaboutediscovery.com.

Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 4 of 5)

It’s pretty easy to execute a Google search on “e-discovery” and immediately become overwhelmed by the amazing volume of information available. Where should you begin reading? What’s fluff? What’s not? What’s educational? What’s marketing jargon? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dedicate MONDAY mornings to reading about electronic discovery basics. Each week, look for a new post to learn about e-discovery without becoming overwhelmed.This  week, we continue our series on technology used to support e-discovery with a few resources for you to learn more about ESI Review & Analysis.

REVIEW

Definition

A good working definition for document review is a task completed by attorneys to determine which documents (electronic or paper) are going to be useful as the litigation matter moves forward.

EDRM definition

You may be tasked with managing a team of reviews… if that is the case, then read this, too.

Software

Most of the litigation technology software over the past 25 – 30 years has been developed to support this phase of litigation. It is not unique to e-discovery but electronically stored information was the catalyst for major new developments in litigation technology over the past decade or more. Here are a couple of the most recent examples and two of the traditional tools in today’s marketplace (this is not an endorsement of any tool…)

Traditional Option # 1 and Option# 2

Newbie #1 and Newbie #2

Discussion

The majority of the litigation budget is typically spent on the attorney review. This article discusses some of the ways to cut time and cost using technology.

ANALYSIS

Analysis can be a difficult term to define in our world as much of the technology has driven the definition in recent years. However, simply put, “analysis” is what the attorneys do when they review. In an effort to save time and trim costs, technology has developed to assess and analyze litigation data early in the case as well as later. The technology does NOT replace the attorney review. The courts are still inconsistent on whether or not to require the technology but seem to be leaning towards requiring it… And I always say: The tools are not as important as the process. Do not bet your whole case on the technology available. My two cents. That said, here’s some useful information about ESI Analysis (again, not an endorsement):

Definition

Software 

I hope this overview of ESI Review and Analysis has been helpful to you as you continue to explore and learn more about e-discovery!

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at erika at learnaboutediscovery.com

Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 3 of 5)

It’s pretty easy to execute a Google search on “e-discovery” and immediately become overwhelmed by the amazing volume of information available. Where should you begin reading? What’s fluff? What’s not? What’s educational? What’s marketing jargon? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dedicate MONDAY mornings to reading about electronic discovery basics. Each week, look for a new post to learn about e-discovery without becoming overwhelmed.This  week, we continue our series on technology used to support e-discovery with a few resources for you to learn more about ESI Processing (a.k.a. conversion to a reviewable format).

Here is a good article that defines processing… it’s part one of two in a short series of articles. I recommend reading all of them to gain a full picture. Then there is a link to a “sample” software program demonstration that is commonly used by both service providers and firms. (Please note, this is not an endorsement of this software… I simply liked the available video demonstration.)

Definition

Software

 

Learning Tip: Most service providers have database programmers on staff who are able to provide an additional level of data manipulation beyond what the software simply does out-of-the-box. Keep this in mind when considering DIY ESI processing options. Be sure to ask your service provider about the tools they’ve developed in house to fill technology gaps in the processing software. Typical tools sets include features to copy data, clean up data and organize data for export.

 

Learning About Data Maps

Most data maps or content maps or “who-knows-where-the-data-is” diagrams are anywhere from 9 to 18 months out of date.  Any IT network manager will tell you that creating a diagram of everything on the company network is not a fun or easy activity. Add to that the litigator’s need to know who has/had access to potentially discoverable information and the size of the task more than doubles. Today, we fortunately have tools that help automate parts or all of this but how effective those tools are depends on a lot of variables. Our interest now is to provide a few resources and definitions to help you begin conversations with your e-discovery team about data mapping.

E-Discovery attorneys, project managers and paralegals will want to become familiar with their client’s data map as early as possible in a litigation matter.  If you’re the e-discovery liaison for a corporation, you will be want to be very familiar with your organization’s network data map.  According to the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, here’s what you need to know about data maps:

You can’t secure it if you can’t find it. An essential component to a successful electronic discovery project is an accurate picture of the target company’s data sources. It is important to keep in mind that all company information technology infrastructures are not created equal. The hardware and software deployed to accomplish commonplace tasks such as managing company e-mail or creating data backups, varies widely from organization to organization. Indeed, it likely varies within the target company if the timeframe in question is broad enough, or if the company is widely distributed in various geographic locations.

This identification process implicates many types of servers with active and dynamic data (e.g. file servers, collaboration servers, e-mail servers) and many interrelated data management systems (e.g. document management systems, financial systems, disaster recovery and backup systems). This includes servers responsible for general company data, as well as user specific data, such as user home directories or departmental shared directories. It also includes the myriad of devices that users employ to utilize that data, including desktop computers, photocopiers, calendars, Instant Messaging (IM), text, PDA’s and cell phones, smart phones, and memory cards. Lastly, it implicates inactive data archives on various media such as hard drives, servers, recycle bins, tape backups, flash drives, CD-ROMs and DVDs. All of this is further complicated by the fact that legacy data, potentially across all these categories, may exist from previous company systems within the relevant time period. The necessary hardware, software or technical expertise to access such legacy data may no longer exist within the target company.

Additionally, I would add the following resources for learning about e-discovery data maps to your reading:

ESI Data Mapping Resources

Best Practices

And if you are an information governance or records management professional, then you may find this resource helpful, too:

Five Free Apps for Diagramming Your Network

Introduction to E-Discovery: Technology (Part 2 of 5)

We are learning about ESI Preservation and Collection for week two of our series on e-discovery technology. This is technology used in support of electronic discovery projects. Following the phases or stages laid out in the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model found at www.edrm.net) we will take a look at the technology used for each phase (these are not endorsements, simply examples):

Preservation

Preservation is a topic of great importance but exactly how important it is is often realized too late in the discovery process. Today’s e-discovery lesson provides a few articles that not only define preservation in an e-discovery context but also include ideas and recommendations for preparing to preserve data. Technology and software applications designed to meet this need in the marketplace come from both the left and the right of the EDRM as corporations try to plan ahead with improved information governance policies and law firms work to advise clients in the early planning stages of litigation.

Definition Preservation Obligations, ABA article

Software – Download a free copy of the Gartner Industry Report on e-discovery software here .

Collection

The collection and harvesting of electronically stored information is also, often a not-well-thought-out part of the discovery plan. The question of how “forensically defensible” the collection needs to be is the starting place for developing your collection plan. Start here with a few basics about collection and collection technology…

Definition – EDRM Guide

Software EDJ Tech Matrix, Law.com article

 

Next week, we will share a few foundational resources for processing ESI.

Becoming an E-Discovery Project Manager

Earlier this afternoon I was honored to be the guest speaker at the Atlanta Chapter of Women in E-Discovery monthly meeting.  In an effort to save a tree or two, I thought it would be a good idea to share our meeting notes via this blog instead of printing a traditional handout.  I would like to thank my hosts, the meeting sponsor and the chapter members for their attention and interest in learning more about e-discovery project management. I enjoyed our time together and hope the resources listed below will help as we move forward on our learning journey together.

“New Job Title, Same Job? Becoming an E-Discovery Project Manager”

  1. Defining the Role of an E-Discovery Project Manager
  2. Developing Standards Your Team Will Follow
  3. Identifying Opportunities to Save Time & Money
    • Why metrics matter
    • Managing your project with metrics
    • Change management – you must be intentional about following through with your change management process & plan.  Make sure the right people are authorizing project changes and that those changes are well documented.  To successfully manage change, you’ll need to confirm that the requestor understands how the project scope, schedule and resources will be impacted by the requested change prior to moving forward.
    • Use technology to manage technology

This is just a brief outline of what we covered in a 45-minute presentation this afternoon. Please let me know if you have questions. erika at learnaboutediscovery dot com  

 

The 7th Circuit E-Discovery Pilot Program

Learning about e-discovery requires both a practical and theoretical approach. We need the practical knowledge to complete our everyday tasks. We need someone to think through the theoretical knowledge in order to improve our everyday practices. There are a few electronic discovery “think tanks” around the country the most notable is The Sedona Conference.  Recently, the principles, updates, theories, and ideas coming from the 7th Circuit E-Discovery Pilot Program have taken center stage in leading the charge on a number of e-discovery project management issues of greatest concern.  Topics e-discovery project managers should pay specific attention to include:

  • discovery conference (meet n confer/ FRCP Rule 26f) best practices
  • solidifying the role of the e-discovery or ESI liason (litigation support professionals)
  • the work of the technology sub-committee

To learn more about this program visit their website and check out this podcast which provides an excellent overview.