Thursday, May 31, 2007

OBA's E-discovery conference

Too late to register and I am sorry I have not advertised this event earlier... This is a terrific conference organised by the Ontario Bar Association and co-chaired by The Honourable Mr. Justice Colin L. Campbell, Superior Court of Justice, and Daniel E. Pinnington, Director, practicePRO, Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO).

I was glad to meet again with the Sedona Canada colleagues and as you will see, the list of speakers was, to say the least, impressive. From Justice Campbell's Opening Remarks and Introduction to the New Sedona Canada Principles to his Concluding Remarks, passing by a lovely cocktail to meet with attendees, this conference was one of the best attended and organised I ever attended.

The opening session provided the attendees with the basic background
on electronic discovery needed to survive through the day. Justice Campbell also convincingly argued why E-discovery matters - or perhaps should - to all lawyers.

The day started with one of my favorite speaker, Ronald J. Hedges, now counsel at Nixon Peabody and former United States Magistrate Judge (1986-2007) in New York. Judge Hedges heard a lot of publicised e-discovery cases and always has funny examples to give. I guess that, now that he has to cope with billable hours and clients, we will benefit from his new perspective. Let's just hope he will not hide behind privilege and still entertain us with interesting examples! He made An Update on Current US jurisprudence and was joined by Master Calum U. C. MacLeod, Superior Court of Justice (now in Ottawa, before in Toronto) who made An Update on Current Canadian jurisprudence. They discussed the New US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Canadian law. We quickly realised that Canada is far behind what has developed in the United States – but we are quickly catching up! This session raised a bunch of interesting questions (unanswered, and it is not a blame ;-)) with respect to possible (and existing) cross-border issues. For example, do quebecers have a preservation obligation? If not, what about the documents that are relevant in a trial taking place in other canadian or american jurisdiction?

I had the chance to speak with two of the most knowledgeable e-discovery experts out there: Justice Campbell (Moderator) and Susan B. Wortzman, Lerners LLP. We had to introduce the attendees to the Sedona Canada Principles (TSCP) with a presentation entitled an Introduction to the Sedona Canada Principles: New Ways To Do Old Things. Basically, we went over the principles one by one and gave practical examples for each of them. I invented an acronym to describe what most be remembered from TSCP: CORP for Collaboration, Ongoing Basis, Reasonability and Proportionality. After thinking about it, I should have spoken about the E-discovery CROP!

We explained, throwing flowers at ourselves ;-), the TSCP is a pioneering effort to state some fundamental concepts and best practices for handling electronic evidence and e-discovery issues on a wide range of cases in any jurisdiction. They were prepared by practising lawyers, judges, in-house counsel, and Court and law society representatives from across Canada. We discussed how we have to say goodbye to “semblance of relevancy” and focus on the notion of proportionality, and mainly on the importance of the information for the adjudication of your case. We tried to convey that a Discovery Plan to address issues of preservation of information should be the starting point. My hope was for people attending to understand the new
rules of the road for handling e-discoveries in Canada. Ambitious, I know!

We were followed by Timothy O. Buckley, Borden Ladner Gervais, and
David Outerbridge, Torys, who discussed in an hands-on fashion Litigation Hold Letters and Making/Responding to E-Discovery Requests. They insisted particularly on the importance to consider proportionality and cost benefit in e-discovery files (if you ask me, all files!). They gave tricks on how to narrow the scope of your requests and still get the critical information you are after. What I found the most interesting was the part where they gave examples, templates and precedents developed by lawyers from the Ontario Bar Association and The Advocates’ Society. Good job! That's useful!

My fellows from TSC Karen B. Groulx, Pallet Valo, and Glenn A. Smith, Lenczner Slaght, made an interesting presentation entitled Information Technology for Litigation Management: A Case Roadmap to the Courthouse Door. They spent time discussing their daily job and the way they handle e-discovery files: From client intake and consultation through the collection of evidence, online document repositories, creation of a case strategy,
preparation of pleadings, motion practice, discoveries, and ADR. We came out of this session with the nuts-and-bolts guide to bringing the current mix of hardware and software to bear on all stages of the pre-trial litigation process.

Then, my beloved Peg Duncan, Director of (watch the title!!) Business Opportunities and Emerging Technologies at the Department of Justice in Ottawa. She made her well-known and appreciated Selecting and Working with Computer Forensics presentation.


Constructive comments: the microphones for questions tend to keep the people away from asking question, including me... Perhaps next time, attendees could raise their hands and have a mic brought to them.

Incredible work accomplished by the OBA: congratulations! I really enjoyed all presentations and, from what I heard, attendees too!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Le temps de parler a son ordinateur

C'est le moment d'essayer d'entrer quelque chose dans le RAM de votre ordinateur. Nuance vous offre Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred 9 pour 99$ au lieu de 199$ jusqu'au 31 mai 2007! Vous n'avez qu'à vous rendre ici.

Faites attention avant de vous lancer. Sachez que vous aurez besoin d'une dizaine d'heures afin d'apprendre à votre ordinateur à comprendre. Aussi, jetez un coup d'oeil à ce dont votre ordinateur a besoin pour tenir la route:

* Intel® Pentium® / 1 GHz processor or equivalent AMD® processor
* 1 GB RAM: DNS a vraiment besoind de 1GB poru lui seul donc je dirais que 2 Gb sont nécessaires si vous utilisez beaucoup de logiciels simultanément (dans mon cas Outlook, Word, IE, Hummingbird, VOIP PC client, Summation)
* 2.5 GB d'espace de disque dur libre
* Microsoft® Windows® XP (SP1 ou plus)
* Carte de son de 16-bit
* Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5 ou plus
* Lecteur de CD-ROM (pour l'installation)
* Casque d'écoute et micro anti-bruit approuvé par Nuance (inclu)

Merci Nerino pour l'info!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Alertes Google ou RSS?

Mon collègue Marco Rivard a publié un article sur les forums d'Obiter [inscription requise] concernant le service Google Alert. En gros, il explique:

Je viens de m'abonner au service d'alerte Google qui est en quelque sorte un
service gratuit de suivi dans l'actualité sur Internet d'un sujet qui vous

Il donne comme exemple:

J'ai entré les mots "Nathalie Normandeau" comme thème de mon suivi.
Impressionnant et très efficace ! En 24 heures, j'ai déjà reçu par courriel
les références de cinq articles parus sur le sujet et accessibles sur
Internet. Nous recevons une revue de presse au travail, mais je voulais voir
ce qui en était avec Google et c'est très bon.

Bien que j'utilise aussi les alertes Google, voici ce que j'avais à répondre:

C'est effectivement un bon service que j'utilise aussi. Par contre, ce que je préfère par dessus tout, c'est d'utiliser des fils RSS pour me garder à jour.

Par exemple, pour être à l'affut de toute nouveauté liée à Obiter, je Google Obiter, copie l'URL dans une application de création de fils RSS (Feedity) qui me fournit un fils RSS que j'ajoute à mon aggrégateur de fils.

Par ailleurs, je dois admettre qu'à première vue cette méthode est plus complexe que les alertes Google. En effet, comme d'habitude, Google vise la simplicité et compte!! Par contre, cette simplicité a un coût et c'est sa flexibilité. Comment suivre la jurisprudence récente sur un sujet précis? Et bien en utilisant le petit truc susdit!

Exemple: Je me rends sur CanLII et fais une recherche à propos de ville de Longueuil ( ;-) Marco) et en collant l'URL de cette recherche dans une application genre Feedity, je serai avisé de toute nouvelle décision où l'expression "ville de Longueuil" apparaîtra!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Le premier cabinet virtuel au Québec

Il y a un certain temps que j'en parle dans les conférences que je donne et il semble que ce jour soit arrivé! Un cabinet virtuel vient enfin de voir le jour au Québec ou devrais-je dire, un cabinet d'avocat(e)(s) québécois (e)(s) sur le Web! Je suis curieux des résultats de cette expérience et suivrai de près son développement. D'ailleurs, je tenterai de joindre l'auteur(e)(s) de cette initiative afin d'obtenir plus de détails et peut-être, de vous offrir une entrevue? Pour l'instant, nous savons que Me Brousseau est derrière ce site mais nous ignorons qui constitue son équipe.

Pour l'instant, le site offre des consultations à 30$ (un vrai deal!) et semble faire de tout pour les petits budgets. Ça répond définitivemen à un créneau de laisser-pour-compte qui avait déjà été identifié par nos ami-ricains. En ce sens, il joint une gallerie d'autres e-lawyers.

D'ailleurs, ce site arrive à un moment intéressant puisque je lisais il y a quelques jours sur le blog de Justin Patten un billet intitulé "Long term some lawyers face the destruction of their jobs" qui reprennait un article paru dans le Telegraph au même effet... I can only agree!

L'Association des avocats et avocates de province (AAP) dans la blogosphère!

Bienvenue à l'Association des avocats et avocates de province (AAP) dans la blogosphère! C'est un honneur de partager celle-ci avec d'autres confrères! Il semble que ce blog ait été créé à l’occasion de son 79e congrès, « Faisons connaissance », qui se tiendra du 27 au 30 septembre 2007 au Château Bromont mais comme le faisait remarquer un commentateur anonyme:

Espérons que ce blog survivra au congrès 2007 et qu'il deviendra l'outil par excellence pour échanger sur les positions de l'aap et du Barreau du Québec

Merci au Bref d'avoir publicisé ce blog!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Est-ce ethique de regarder les metadonnees?

Au tour de l'Alabama de se lancer dans le ring des avis relatifs aux métadonnées. Comme vous le savez, je suis un partisan de l'avis rendu par l'ABA à l'effet qu'il est éthique pour un avocat de regarder et d'utiliser les métadonnées contenues dans un document lui étant fourni par le procureur ou la partie adverse.

À la lecture de l'avis émis par le barreau de l'Alabama, vous aurez compris que je m'inscris en faux! Encore une fois, comme l'ont fait les barreaux de la Floride (Opinion 06-02) et de New York (Opinion 749), le Barreau de l'Alabama est d'avis que:

Absent express authorization from a court, it is ethically impermissible for an attorney to mine metadata from an electronic document he or she inadvertently or improperly receives from another party.

Là où j'ai un problème avec ces avis c'est qu'on fait du nivellement par le bas... Alors même que la réponse à la question 1 est:
Lawyers have a duty under Rule 1.6 to use reasonable care when transmitting electronic documents to prevent the disclosure of metadata containing client confidences or secrets.

Le résultat final est que, si un avocat ne respecte pas cette obligation, la partie adverse ne peut en bénéficier... Alors pourquoi aurions-nous cette obligation? Je comprends la logique des Barreaux qui ont un fonds d'assurance responsabilité et qui veulent réduire les risques de poursuites mais, à mon sens, cette attitude n'est pas très progressiste. C'est comme si, à l'époque papier, on avait créé une règle prévoyant que l'avocat a l'obligation de regarder au verso du document qu'il transmet mais qu'à défaut, la partie adverse ne peut que regarder le recto...

Pour plus de détails, voici l'avis complet.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

WIM Censored

WIM Blocked
Originally uploaded by jaardo.
Googling China, I stumbled upon an old post on Slaw regarding the Great Firewall of China, a website that verify if your website is censored. I decided to try WIM (remembering I had read somewhere that was censored) and confirmed I was censored. I guess I will have to move away from Blogger when E-discovery hit prime-time in China!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Alabama Lawyers May Not Mine Metadata

The Alabama State Bar's ethics panel advised in a recent opinion (Alabama State Bar Office of Gen. Counsel, Op. RO-2007-02, 3/14/07) that the unauthorized mining of metadata to uncover confidential information in electronic documents constitutes a professional misconduct.

The panel relied primarily on the New York State ethics opinion, of which I discussed earlier, that disapproved the idea of mining for metadata. Unfortunately, it did not refer to ABA Formal Op. 06-442 (2006), which advised that lawyers have no ethical duty to refrain from reviewing and using metadata embedded in electronic documents received from the opposing counsel or party...

Monday, May 07, 2007

The YBAM-ABA YLD Joint Congress : A Real Success!

Traduction d'une entrevue de René Lewandowski publiée aujourd'hui sur Droit-inc.

Big hit over the weekend for the joint congress of the Young Bar Association of Montreal (YBAM) and the American Bar Association – Young Lawyers’ Division (ABA-YLD).
Over 500 young lawyers, amongst which 50% coming from the USA, took part to a variety of conferences and meetings, over a three days period at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Montreal.

« An excellent opportunity to make contacts with our americain colleagues », says Nicolette Kost De Sèvres, YBAM’s president, , visiblement ravie du succès de l’événement.

Jay Ray, president of the ABA-YLD, attended the event and interviewed him. Ray is a a 35 yo lawyer who practice as a commercial litigator in private practice in Dallas, Texas. : What does the ABA-YLD does?

Jay Ray : Many things! Howver, our first mission is to be the voice of the young American lawyers. We help them to become the best lawyers and tomorrow leader in their communities. We also promote the lawyer profession and we want to make the legal system as accessible as possible. Accordingly, we have numerous programs. : Which programs?

Jay Ray : In the USA, we have a program that helps ethnic minorities to become lawyers. We also provide legal assistance to Aids victims. We even have a new program which helps our « heroes » (policemen, firefighters) to prepare their wills with lawyers for free. : Why did the ABA-YLD chose Montreal for its Congress?

Jay Ray : It had been ten years since we last went out of the USA. The last time, we went to Vancouver. Since most of our members know Toronto, Montreal was the obvious choice! Moreover, we have excellent relations with the YBAM. But above all, Montreal is such an incredible city. : But why outside of the USA?

Jay Ray : It is an opportunity for our members to acquire an international experience, to exchange with canadian lawyers and understand their legal system. Furthermore, with the globalisation, the chances to work in different jurisdiction increase daily.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Forward This at Your Own Risk

A post in the blog summarizes a theory put forth by Ned Snow, assistant professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law, who found a 250-year-old common law tradition granting copyright protection to authors of personal correspondence and now claims that forwarding an e-mail is a violation of copyright law… Here is the paper: A Copyright Conundrum: Protecting Email Privacy.

I am of the opinion that, if no means are taken to protect the copyrights, it is not an infringement to forward the email. In fact, unless the sender uses IRM (Information Rights Management), that is readily and freely available, I think he waives any such rights.

Do not hesitate to forward this piece!