Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sustaining E-Discovery Management & Litigation Preparedness

Last thursday and friday (actually 2 weeks ago...), I had the opportunity to speak at a Marcus Evans conference entitled "E-Discovery Management & Litigation Preparedness: Critical Update on the Amendments to the FRCP and their Impact on Corporate Counsel and Records Managers". The conference took place at the Bellagio (btw: nice hotel!) in Las Vegas (Nevada) and attracted about 45 participants. Compared to other similar conferences that I attended, this one had an advanced crowd.

Once again, the participants were principally comprised of in-house counsels who seemed to be more aware of the issues and risks facing their companies than private practitioners. There were only 3 private law firms who were attending the conference... I can tell you that these firms were happy campers to have the chance to spend 2 (or 3, for those who attended the practice workshops) days with McDonald's, FedEx, Go Daddy, Glaxosmithkline, Verizon (and Bell Canada ;-)) in-house counsels... The leading lawfirm was Lewis & Roca who had a plethora of lawyers participating at the conference, as speakers or panelists. They were also giving free 1Mb thumb drives which I will make great use of!

Most of the counsels who were present had a good knowledge of the new amended federal rules of procedure that came into force on December 1st, 2006. From the interactivity of this conference, I can tell you that they attended to ask precise questions about the amendments implications for their companies and to know how other corporations are dealing with them. They were particularily receptive to the presentations giving practical examples of how corporations deal with the management and search for electronically stored information (esi), litigation hold letters and preservation obligations.

After the conference, I had the chance to spend some time with Lewis & Roca's Robert H. McKirgan and George L. Paul, the president of the conference. I had already met George in San Lorenzo De El Escorial, near Madrid, for the Sedona Conference workgroup 6 on internation electronic information. FYI, George wrote an excellent book on e-discovery (The Discovery Revolution: E-Discovery Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) that I invite you to add to your EDD library! He has also published numerous excellent articles regarding e-discovery. In fact, I enjoyed George's presentation so much that I invited him at the Young Bar Association of Montreal conference on Law and IT that will take place in April 2007. BTW, thanks for the drinks!!

Back to Marcus Evans conference... here is the summary of the event:

The new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure adopted in December 2006 focus on issues involving the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). Their adoption will usher in a new era in how companies and their counsel think and act regarding their ESI, from the way it is stored, to its risk of being stolen or hacked, to its being managed, to its being prepared for litigation. Every aspect of how companies control, or don't control, their ESI will impact their current, ongoing, and future discovery efforts. Add to this the fact that case law and local rules, while providing some guidance, currently lack specific legal precedent to address broad discovery rights that will be unaffected by the new rules, and it is clear that corporate counsel will soon face a new, unique, and potentially costly discovery landscape.

In-house counsel took advantage of this special opportunity to hear the co-author of ABA bestseller The Discovery Revolution: E-Discovery Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure break down the brand-new amendments to the Federal Rules. In this conference, which has been designed specifically for in-house counsel and Information Technology professionals, we learned how to control e-discovery costs, design a stellar document retention policy, and gain valuable insights into the world of E-Discover, metadata, back-up tapes and gigabytes, from experienced peer e-discovery practitioners and members of the federal judiciary.

As usual, here is the presentation that I made:

To be uploaded from ZohoShow

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