Category Archives: federal courts

matrix of e-discovery software

How eDiscovery Works

How eDiscovery Works

Greg Buckles of the EDRM Project has created an easy to use, expandable matrix of e-discovery specific applications. This is not the only legal software list (litigation support firm lexbe has one here, and Findlawhas long had some level of software listings) this one should make it easy to sort through the veritable forest of ED applications out there, all of which claim to be the greatest thing since you-know-what.

ABA TechShow: The Video

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

 

Thought I’d share some choice video from TechShow 2009 featuring all 4 of the Best of Show winners that I wrote up in TechnoLawyer, plus interviews with some of my heroes such as Bob Ambrogi, Jay Funeberg, and Kevin O’Keefe, as well as sightings of legal blogging all-stars like Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighelle. I’m still excited.  

 

See related videos here and find me on YouTube as practicehacker

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 🙂

still a bargain at $1,000/hr

Who says lawyers can’t get good work these days? Take this piece for instance from the ABA Journal:

Kirkland & Ellis Seeks Fee of $18.50 a Minute for Bankruptcy Work

Posted Jan 28, 2009 By Debra Cassens Weiss

Kirkland & Ellis has requested a fee of $1,110 an hour in a corporate bankruptcy, a possible record amount, according to one expert. The hourly rate breaks down to $18.50 a minute, Bloomberg reports. The law firm is seeking the fee for its representation of titanium dioxide-maker Tronox Inc. Two other law firms are seeking nearly as much, requesting hourly rates in excess of $1,000, according to the story. They are Sidley Austin, in the restructuring of the Tribune Co., and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, representing Circuit City. Bankruptcy law professor Lynn LoPucki of the University of California at Los Angeles told the wire service that fees for lawyers and other professionals in bankruptcy cases are growing at four times the rate of inflation. “As the economy gets worse, the bankruptcy lawyers are charging more,” LoPucki told Bloomberg. “It seems that each month one sets a new record for hourly billing rates. $1,110 is, to my knowledge, a record for the debtor’s bankruptcy counsel.”

And you thought the economy was having problems!

this month’s installment from CyberControls

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CyberControls

Courts Unsympathetic to E-Discovery Ignorance

In a recently released analysis of this year’s judicial opinions on electronic discovery issues by Kroll Ontrack®, the dominant topics reoccurring in the 2008 judicial opinions were the importance of creating and enforcing sound document retention policies, the use of proper search terms for production, and the consequences when parties fail to properly comply with discovery requests. Of the approximately 138 reported electronic discovery opinions issued from Jan. 1, 2008 to Oct. 31, 2008, over half addressed court-ordered sanctions, data production, and preservation and spoliation issues. The breakdown of the major issues involved in these cases is as follows:

  • 25% of cases addressed sanctions
  • 20% of cases addressed various production considerations
  • 13% of cases addressed preservation and spoliation issues
  • 12% of cases addressed computer forensics protocols and experts
  • 11% of cases addressed discoverability and admissibility issues
  • 7% of cases addressed privilege considerations and waivers
  • 7% of cases addressed various procedural issues
  • 6% of cases addressed cost considerations

“It is clear that courts are no longer allowing parties to plead ignorance when it comes to ESI best practices,” said Michele Lange, director of Legal Technologies for Kroll Ontrack®. “These cases exemplify that judges can and will hand out sanctions for mishandling ESI and lack of document retention policies. Having a well-crafted document retention policy, ensuring cooperation between legal and IT departments, and partnering with an e-discovery expert can help prevent the same mishaps described in these cases, ultimately saving organizations hundreds of thousands in sanctions and reputation damages.”

The top five most significant cases from 2008 that summarized these issues included:

Court Imposes Sanctions for “Egregious” E-Discovery Misconduct

Keithley v. Homestore.com, Inc., 2008 WL 3833384 (N.D.Cal. Aug. 12, 2008).

In this patent infringement litigation, the defendants’ failure to issue a written document retention policy well after its preservation duty arose led the court to label the discovery misconduct “among the most egregious this court has seen.” The court ordered the defendants to pay over $250,000 in fees and costs associated with prior and future motion practice and expert fees, deferring additional amounts until actual fees can be determined, while also imposing an adverse jury instruction against the defendants.

Court Orders Forensic Examination and Denies Cost Shifting, Citing Producing Party’s Discovery Misconduct

Peskoff v. Faber, 2008 WL 2649506 (D.D.C. July 7, 2008).

In this ongoing contract dispute, the court followed up on its previous holding that it was appropriate to ascertain the cost of a forensic examination to determine if the cost was justified. The court found the defendant’s inadequate search efforts, failure to preserve electronically stored information and overall unwillingness to take “discovery obligations seriously” caused the need for a forensic examination. Since the problem was one of the defendant’s “own making,” the court refused to shift costs.

Court Orders Production of Text Messages

Flagg v. City of Detroit, 2008 WL 3895470 (E.D.Mich. Aug. 22, 2008).

In this ongoing wrongful death action, the defendants argued the court’s previous order that established a protocol for the production of text messages violated Stored Communications Act. The court was willing to modify the means of production and ordered the plaintiff to file a Fed.R.Civ.P. 34 production request, finding a third-party subpoena unnecessary. See also Flagg v. City of Detroit, 2008 WL 787061 (E.D.Mich. Mar. 20, 2008).

Magistrate Orders Parties to Cooperate in Production and Advised Expert Testimony May be Needed for Judicial Review of Search Methods

United States v. O’Keefe, 2008 WL 449729 (D.D.C. Feb. 18, 2008).

In this criminal prosecution, the co-defendant filed a motion to compel claiming the government did not fulfill discovery obligations. Applying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to this criminal action, Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola ordered the parties to participate in a good faith attempt to reach an agreement on production. The court also suggested that judicial review of search methods may require expert testimony, since for lawyers and judges to make search term effectiveness judgments are to go “where angels fear to tread.” See also United States v. O’Keefe, 2008 WL 3850658 (D.D.C. Aug. 19, 2008).

Court Denies Motion to Retract Privileged Documents Finding Lack of Reasonable Precautions Taken

Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc., 2008 WL 2221841 (D. Md. May 29, 2008).

In this copyright infringement case, the plaintiff sought a ruling that 165 electronic attorney-client privileged and work-product protected documents produced in discovery were discoverable. Determining the defendants did not take reasonable precautions by relying on an insufficient keyword search to prevent inadvertent disclosure, the court found the defendants waived their privilege. The court noted several measures could have helped prevent this waiver, including a clawback (or other non-waiver) agreement the defendants voluntarily abandoned and/or complying with the Sedona Conference Best Practices for use of search and information retrieval.

CyberControls is made up of 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. To discuss a specific issue you may be facing as a respondent or requesting party in a commercial litigation matter call us at 847-756-4890 or visit www.cybercontrols.net.

 

 

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This Month’s Installment From Cybercontrols

Contrary to the old phrase, “…be careful of what you ask for you just might get it”, commercial litigators need to be alert to the fact that electronically stored information (ESI) encompasses far more than just e-mails, documents, photos and instant messages. The problem for a requesting party is that a producing party, unless otherwise directed, will only concern itself with identifying, collecting, reviewing and ultimately producing readily accessible “active” files. The yield from this routine approach may not be even close to a full representation of the full extent of the available ESI that relates to the case and the actions of persons of interest while they used the computers in their custody. Computer forensic examiners refer this lesser known category of useful ESI as computer artifacts.

Short of a full computer forensic examination, a requesting party may want to consider including in their initial e-discovery production requests that a number of computer artifacts be included with the

responding party’s production. These artifacts may include:

  1. Each computer’s Windows registry history to include all installed software, and external hardware devices connected to each computer of interest.
  2. Each computer’s Master File Table (MFT), which will clearly identify the complete file structure including distinct folders on each computer for future reference.
  3. Each computer’s Internet History Files, which will disclose the Internet activities of each computer custodian.
  4. Produce all link files (.lnk) from each custodian’s computer, which may show the usage of relevant files that are stored on external storage devices.

This approach has the potential of avoiding a full fledged fight that a computer forensic examination request would surely foster. But, a reasonable request for some of the items listed above would help to eliminate concerns and suspicions that relevant ESI was being withheld. The Windows registry would help establish whether any scrubbing software might have been installed on a particular computer or not.

It also would help identify if any external media devices were connected to the computer-if so, did the producing party conduct their e-discovery on all of those devices for relevant ESI or not?

The Master File Table of each computer will provide a complete road map of the user’s file structure and the folders in which data files were stored. If the Internet activities of certain persons of interest are rerevant, these activity files may prove to be crucial to the requesting party.

Finally, the link files (.lnk) are often the most irrefutable means in which to determine the date and time when specific data files were last accessed and/or modified by the user of a computer whether those files were located locally on the computer or on a network’s file server.

CyberControls has dubbed this added element to the e-discovery production request as the “Computer Artifacts Report.” It’s important to note that a producing party is obligated to take the necessary precautions when collecting these computer artifacts not to modify, alter or corrupt the data itself. An e-discovery or computer forensics specialist can provide the necessary instructions and/or support for this.

Computer artifacts can also prove to be quite helpful to a responding party when counsel is searching for additional elements to help bolster aspects of a case where the production of documents or e-mails is insufficient. Such artifacts can also help to stead off a more intrusive and costly computer forensic examination initiated by the requesting party.

CyberControls is made up of experienced specialists in electronic discovery, They can be reached at 847-756-4890 or on the web at www.cybercontrols.net.

Monthly Installment from Cybercontrols

Cybercontrols

Cybercontrols

Drive-By Rule 16 Conferences

Over the past year, CyberControls has shared its perspective on the importance for all commercial litigators to develop a heightened awareness and mastery in preparing for the inevitable challenges associated with electronically stored information (ESI) in their cases. Whether you represent the producing party or requesting party, the vast majority of e-discovery related disasters are easily traced back to inadequate pretrial planning, preparation and effective communication with the client and opposition.

With so much being written about the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the past eighteen months, is it any wonder why the level of e-discovery disputes in courts is on the rise? In the June issue, Law.com posted an article “E-Discovery From The Bench,” by Jason Krause, which is a well researched collection of comments from a wide array of jurists weighing in on all aspects of electronic discovery, such as:

“You see a lot of wasted opportunities in many cases coming out of the Rule 26 meet and confer and the Rule 16 conference with the court,” says Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. “In many cases lawyers treat the Rule 26 conference like a drive-by conference and there is no meaningful attempt to address these issues.”

Mr. Krause’s article goes on with . . . Judges say the No. 1 problem is that lawyers come to the Rule 16 meeting without having learned anything about the electronic records that will be in dispute in many cases. “You can’t come to the judge and just say ‘I don’t know.’ The fact is you need to know what you don’t know,” says Chief Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm of the U.S. District Court for Maryland. “But more than that, you have to know what is reasonable to ask for. You can’t come to the judge and ask for everything and a pony.”

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.

CyberControls welcomes the opportunity to discuss any specific issues that you may be facing as a respondent or requesting party in a commercial litigation matter at 847-756-4890 or visit our cyber site at www.cybercontrols.net.

Tags: e-discovery,electronic discovery,cybercontrols,computer,forensic,FRCP,Rule 16,Federal Rules of Evidence

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