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

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Most data maps or content maps or “who-knows-where-the-data-is” diagrams are anywhere from 9 to 18 months out of date.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 1 of 5)

Last week, we introduced electronic discovery with a few resources to begin your educational journey. This week, we will begin a 5-week 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):

Information Governance

Traditional information technology and records management professionals have the responsibility of making sure that the business information is stored for real-time access and general business use/needs, preserved to meet government regulations and preserved in the event of a disaster.  Thanks to e-discovery, they must also concern themselves with data and information that may potentially be discoverable in litigation. The challenge for those with IT and records management responsibility is how to effectively determine what should be saved and not blow the budget doing it.

Definition
Software

 

Identification / ECA

Traditional early case assessment does not specifically require technology. However, over the last decade, attorneys and case teams have successfully used search & retrieval tools to make informed strategic decisions about how to move a matter forward or towards settlement.

Definition & Software

 

Next week, we will cover the preservation and collection phases of the EDRM.  Remember, the tools are not as important as the process. Our next lesson series will cover e-discovery project management best practices in our weekly lesson.  Learn something new everyday as you take control of your career and educational journey.

LTNY 2012 in Review

Learning about electronic discovery includes keeping up to date with the latest technology and practice trends in our field. Legal Tech New York 2012 was this year’s first major trade show and conference. Here are a few of the top blog posts & articles covering the event:

Apersee

E-Discovery Journal

E- Discovery Daily

E-discovery Beat

Legal Talk Network – podcast 1 and podcast 2

eDisclosure Information Project

Discovery Resources

Predictive coding dominated the sessions. Most agreed that it is coming – you should be prepared – but even the most enthusiastic advocates cautioned it does not necessarily replace humans. Two primary drivers for adoption emerged: 1) skyrocketing costs associated with human review teams, especially when data volumes are very large; and 2) superior accuracy of technology-assisted review, which is not susceptible to the random errors and inconsistencies of humans, and which can identify and remediate inaccuracies through a process of iteration.

In addition to the excitement about predictive coding, cloud-based data and ECA were also hot topics. Another common theme might be summed up with the phrase “methodology matters” – that is, business process is critical and must be well understood before you can make real progress in improving efficiency and controlling costs.

My new favorite phrase is “methodology matters” to describe what is essentially project management. Technology is great but if your business process is lacking, then you might as well plan on wasting a lot of time and money.  And by now, you can tell that the other major topic at LTNY this year was predictive coding (also known as computer assisted coding).

What did you learn about e-discovery at this year’s show? What changes to your practice are you making since you returned from NY?

Early case assessment – Getting Started (ECA)

Early case assessment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I would recommend learning about early case assessment by reviewing the Wikipedia entry on ECA first. Then take a look at the article by Eric Barnum that discusses ECA with or without technology. This article is critical to understanding the attorney point of view as well as the fact that lawyers have been doing ECA for decades and it really has nothing to do with e-discovery. However, because of e-discovery, it is not a step in the litigation process that can be skipped. And finally, George Socha and Tom Gelbmann bring everything together in a recent article from Law Technology News.