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ABA TechShow 2009 – Short and SaaSy

Were the ABA Damnit!

We're the ABA Damnit! We own you!

This was my 10th year at ABA Technology Show in Chicago. This year was particularly cool.  Here’s why:

Meeting The Heavies: To me, seeing people like Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighelle, Bob Ambrogi, Jim Calloway, Kevin O’Keefe, Brett Burney, Andy Atkins, Jay Foonberg (!) and the rest of my pretend blog friends … I mean pretend LinkedIn friends … is like reconnecting with long lost relatives. Exciting and a little intimidating. But all of them were really great and down to earth. Except that Kennedy. Such a prima donna. I kid, I kid.

Meeting Canadians: Who can forget meeting the Great Librarian of Upper Canada! Beat that. Then there was Phil of the Future (my name for him), Steve Matthews (nice guy), Brett Burney (I think he’s Canadian), Dominic Jaar (vive la Quebec libre!), the boys from Clio (or as I called them, the Booth Babes), and a host of other talent from the Great White North. It was great to meet you all: now go back where the ice doesn’t melt until July.

Technology Becoming Accepted: This year for the first time in memory I noticed a preponderance of grey hairs and the careful gait of partners scoping out potential buys for their offices.  This was not the brash, flash-in-the-pan TechShow of the late-90’s in which the Internet was decried as a fad.

SaaS, Saas, and more Saas: Software as a service was all over the place, and by next year it will be pervasive. This year I was knocked out by the number and variety of kick-ass SaaS providers at the show including Clio, RocketMatter, and VLO Tech. Clio was my hands-down favorite for a number of reasons – I intend to use it in my own practice. Whatever your cup of tea, the idea of throwing away the IT department in favor of the Cloud is gaining traction fast.

Less is … Less: One lamentable fact about this  year’s show – there was less of it than I’ve seen in a long time. Another casualty of the economy I’d say, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that many legal technology vendors have been slaves to profit instead of boosters for innovation and the slow economy is making it painfully apparent what a royal screw job they’ve been giving lawyers all these years. Many players couldn’t make it ? Good riddance to bad company.

Other than that however, it was a great experience as always and one that I heartily recommend to one and all. If you haven’t been to TechShow, go there. If you have, come back. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

For more coverage see my SmallLaw Column in TechnoLawyer.

Check out Twitter coverage of TechShow.

As always, I’d love your thoughts. E-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

ABA TechShow 2008 – presentation materials available

AI – Advanced IT/Security
CR – Client Relationships
ED – E-Discovery
GG Going Green
IN – Internet
LF – Large Firm / Corporate Counsel
LT – Litigation
MA – Mac Track
MO – Microsoft Office
MT – Mobile Technology
PO – Paperless Office
RM – Records Management
RT – Roundtables
SSI – Solo / Small Firm I
SSII – Solo / Small Firm II
SM – Show Me How

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monthly installment from Cybercontrols

Cybercontrols, LLC

FRCP Rule 34 provides that the requesting party can "inspect, copy, test, or sample the following items in the responding party’s possession, custody, or control … any designated documents or electronically stored information – including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations – stored in any medium from which information can be obtained …".

Generally, the producing party will provide disclosure of responsive data to the requesting party’s ESI production request by physically transferring the data by CD-ROM, DVD, or other storage media. However, amended FED. R.CIV. P. 34 allows testing, sampling, or in some instances for entry onto the property of an adverse party for the purpose of inspecting the property. Depending on the circumstances, Rule 34 has been interpreted to permit an inspection of an individual or corporate computer system by performing searches on computer data or by creating a forensic or "bitstream" image copy of the storage media for later analysis. Under certain circumstances direct seizure of a computer is permitted.

FED. R. CIV.P.45 authorizes similar options for the inspection of ESI of a nonparty.

One of the most fundamental issues about electronic discovery is how a court should respond to requests for electronic materials that have been "deleted." Courts consistently have held that discoverable ESI includes files that have been "deleted". Courts consistently have held that discoverable ESI includes "deleted" files. If restored, this information could be invaluable for exposing patterns of conduct, behavior or motives surrounding its deletion. However, it usually is necessary to present evidence of the relevance and "specific facts" justifying a request for the "deleted" data or the courts may label the request a "fishing expedition".

Forensic images of a hard drive or other storage media can be created to preserve the data for later searching and analysis. The images can then be searched for deleted or altered files, unauthorized copies of software, or other artifacts.

It is normal to allow a party and/or their expert to be present during the imaging process.

Generally, courts hesitate to grant the requesting party on-site access to conduct the actual search because of the risk that data may be inadvertently altered. If access is permitted to the computer system, the producing party’s IT staff or a neutral third party such as a forensic expert is usually retained to perform the necessary computer tasks.

While a sizeable portion of a computer inspection may include conducting a keyword search to locate relevant documents and e-mails, a computer forensic examination of computer hard drives and other storage media has the potential of uncovering a vast amount of lesser known electronic "facts" pertaining to the case that would otherwise never surface. For examples of these ESI artifacts and how they might contribute to a case matter, click on the "Beyond the Smoking Gun" link below.

CyberControls is not a law firm. We are experienced specialists in the in the field of electronic discovery and production, computer forensics and the integration of computer technology and the rules of discovery. Our professional services teams are comprised of pretrial litigation consultants and field technicians and forensic experts. CyberControls’ expertise in computer forensics and investigative experience has proven to be an invaluable resource to hundreds of legal professionals across the country. Visit CyberControls at www.cybercontrols.net.

 

This Month’s Installment from CyberControls

LITIGATION HOLD DIRECTIVES ISSUED BY COUNSEL TO CLIENTS

 

Generally speaking litigation hold directives issued to Clients are protected from discovery as work product or attorney-client privilege. But there are exceptions …

 

The Courts have held that litigation hold directives issued by counsel to their clients are protected as privileged communications or work product. Gibson v. Ford Motor Co., No. 06-1237, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 226, at *19-20 (D. Ga. Jan.4, 2007); Rambus, Inc. v. Infineon Technologies AG, 220 F.R.D. 264 (E.D. Va.2004).

 

With so much attention on electronically stored information (ESI) in the discovery stage of civil litigation, a requesting party often times feels compelled to request a copy of all written directives issued by an attorney to their client when it comes to implementing the litigation hold of all relevant ESI, or to establish if such directives even were issued. This approach however, has been proven to be ineffective in court.

Behind this thin veneer of inquiry however, is a significant issue that if approached from another direction will successfully get to the heart of the matter. A number of critical questions need to be addressed when formulating a strategy to get the answers to issues that are connected with electronic evidence:

 

1. At what precise date did the client actually implement a litigation hold on all sources of ESI?

2. What reasoning was used to identify and inventory the specific electronic systems that would be subject to the litigation hold?

3. What if any prior existing litigation hold was in effect at the time of this new imminent civil case that involved some of the same systems or ESI?

4. What specific policies and procedures were already established to implement an effective litigation hold on electronic systems and all ESI pertaining to a civil lawsuit if any?

5. What are the names of the specific individuals who are assigned with litigation hold related responsibilities within the organization?

6. What are the reporting procedures within the organization to supervise all litigation hold activities throughout the duration of a case?

7. What if any operational constraints exist in the implementation of a litigation hold situation?

8. What specific procedures are implemented with any third-parties who have access to or responsibilities to service, maintain, program or otherwise interact with systems or ESI that has been identified to be subject to a litigation hold?

 

While it may be important to learn whether or not a producing partys counsel provided sufficient advice to their client to implement an effective litigation hold, ultimately it will all flush out once the answers to questions like those listed above are collected. Attorneys will soon learn that a form letter to their corporate clients advising to implement generic litigation hold procedures is insufficient to safeguard the client or themselves from spoliation accusations.

 

At CyberControls, our team of pretrial litigation consultants work at assisting commercial litigators in identifying effective avenues of inquiry to identify areas of inadequate litigation hold practices for a requesting party as well as providing recommendations to implement a rock solid litigation hold for commercial clients to be in compliance with their preservation obligations.

 

CyberControls, LLC is a computer forensics and e-discovery firm that provides pretrial consultancy support and conducts searches and examinations of electronically stored information for commercial litigation matters. Contact them by calling 847-756-4890 or visiting them online at www.cybercontrols.net.

 

Technorati tags: lawyer, law, electronic discovery, esi, litigation, consultant, federal rules of civil procedure, practice management, blog

your future partner is already pissed off

LMAO (laughed my ass off) when I saw this one. You may have read about the ‘associate salary’ debate. No? Let me fill you in. Turns out about 1% of graduating 3L’s receive first year salaries in the neighborhood of $165K. I’ll give you a moment to think that through. Good. Now keep in mind that this privileged group comes for the most part from the elite law schools. Here’s the thing, though — its those very sons and daughters of privilege who are complaining about excessive associate salaries! Yes folks, the End-Times are upon us. Stanford lawyers are out to save the world. We’re doomed.

 

 

To begin with, Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession, a student group, puts out a popular blog promoting ‘change’ at law firms (details withheld). That noble cause is inturn spurred by the legendary burn-out rate of associates at big firms. Even a recent ABA Journal piece by Scott ‘I’m a Zillionnaire’ Turrow reflects this open secret and curses the billable hour (‘out, out, damn spot’). Wait … long hours you say? Graduating in the top 10% of my class doesn’t automatically get me one of those high salaries their passing around? And where’s my bonus, dammit?

Say hello to your next ‘partner.’ Want to hear more? Let me fill you in on these 3 hilarious Q&A exchanges. Enjoy!

 

Q: so now what? what’s the point of all this? A: we created building a better legal organization in the hopes of encouraging law firms to reform their practices……..(Change, oh like e-filing)

 

Q: but what do we have to do with this? we’re not even at a firm yet. A: that’s exactly the point. as law students, we still have leverage to encourage reform……by choosing firms based on, billable hour expectations, pro bono, demographic diversity……..{ someone should inform them the largest group of potential employee’s are currently in Law Schools across this country}

 

And my Favorite…..


Q: it seems like you guys are pretty anti-firm. A: not at all. in fact,….. . we’re trying to fix precisely those issues which drive out so many young associate. but firms won’t change on their own. {Hence the status Managing Partner}

 

The truly surprising factor is that a concept change alone could potentially solve the problem. And it’s not as if the subject’s never been addressed. Hell, small firms and solo’s are the fallout of big-law slavery. What these do-gooders ought to be doing is proffering an actual solution. You know, empowering the latest crop of graduates to be successful by taking responsibility for their own destiny … or suffering the consequences.

Monsoon – Learn to Share

When we first spotted this story 10 days ago, it opened some interesting conversations.

Protecting Copy Rights – its simplest form, protection against infringements or out-right stealing your efforts for monetary gains. This however throws a curve ball that at first leaves you looking foolish, forcing you to re-read what you just read. An after careful viewing of the comments posted against the article you soon realize they(other readers) didn’t get either.

What attracts me is the prue ideology behind this. Monsoon uses Open Source Code (free software) to develop their “proprietary” backbone. This Code is actually BusyBox’s, which freely publishes and distributes. Under the agreement, use the code to build your tools, then make your code available. Which seems fair enough, in such an Open Sourced World, but will it prevail.

Remember the technical arm of Monsoon is in India, so when we get into semantics of what this license entails it could get pretty crazy, but a hell of lot of fun too watch….

Surface, just release the code everyone’s happy. Not so fast, Monsoon is claiming they have sold this to some pretty big heavy weights including some large Retail chains. They release the code, that relationship will dry up pretty fast. Not just distribution, OEM is more damaging. If under the rules of GPL version 2 is upheld, an a OEM used said code in development, they would be subjective to “making their code available”. The ripple in that scene……

If Monsoon has placed their relationships in a potential damaging position, it was nice reading about you. And their position to stand firm is wise, not like they have options. The court will be looking at principals and purity of legal writings, plus the kicker, BusyBox is only looking to UP-Hold the practice of “making your code available upon use”. Monetary considerations have little or nothing to do with this, expect maybe court cost afterwards.

honorable mention

Bryan Simms - the Connected Lawyer

just a note to say thank you to our colleague, fellow southwest suburban lawyer, and like minded attorney, the connected lawyer (a/k/a Bryan Sims the 2005 TechnoLawyer of the Year!), for letting me know that the bar association blogging policies pioneered on this blog a year ago were part of the discussion on Ethics and Professionalism given by J.T. Westemeier at the ITechLaw 2007 Annual Meeting and World Conference.

ITechLaw.org

document automation :: process consulting :: e-discovery consulting