Many attorneys still consider e-discovery to be a niche area of law practice, one they would prefer to stay well away from. But do lawyers have an ethical responsibility to be knowledgeable about e-discovery and competent in its practice? In California, the answer could soon be, “Yes.”
A proposed ethics opinion of the State Bar of California (Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0004) would require attorneys who represent clients in litigation either to be competent in e-discovery or associate with others who are competent. The bar is accepting public comments on the proposed opinion until April 9, 2015. Continue reading
The fourth annual ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery and Digital Evidence Conference takes place March 11-13 in Tempe, Ariz., and we are happy to be able to offer this blog’s readers a 30 percent discount on registration.
This annual conference — produced by noted e-discovery attorney and educator Michael Arkfeld and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University — features three full days of programs presented by some of the leading judges, practitioners and educators. Continue reading
What is the impact of data and technology on the modern law firm and lawyer? This was the question Forbes contributor David J. Parnell set out to answer when he recently interviewed John Tredennick, Catalyst’s founder and CEO, and Mark Noel, Catalyst’s managing director of professional services.
At one point in the wide-ranging interview — which was published on Forbes last week – Parnell asks Tredennick about some of the major changes in legal technology he has witnessed over the years. In response, Tredennick says that the legal industry is currently in the midst of a major transition with respect to technology assisted review.
Suddenly technology has come where you take a million documents in review—and for any big firm lawyer that’s a big smile on their face because with junior associates reviewing at 500 docs a day, you’ve got your year made—and somebody comes along and says, “You know, with a wave of a wand and a couple training docs, we’re going to cut that million documents down to about 50,000 docs that are probably important.” Maybe 95% of those billable hours go away. That does not make the lawyers smile. That does not make you smile.
But I’ve seen this for 30 years. The innovation comes out; the billable hour suffers; but you always have a few law firms that are not at the top, and then they say, “We don’t have 50,000 associates. Let’s go outsmart them. We’ll lead the way.” And they start taking business away from the big guys. And the corporate entities listen and change happens.
Elsewhere in the interview, Noel tells Parnell that technologies such as TAR are helping to ease the work of lawyers, but will never replace them.
Many people are realizing that they have to change the way they work. And tools like technology assisted review are changing the way attorneys work. But it’s not going to replace them. TAR tools can quickly analyze millions of documents for subtle patterns, but only humans can decide what’s important to the case, or what stories the documents can tell. So these systems are hybrids: The machines do what they do best, and the humans do what they do best. There will be plenty of work to go around for skilled practitioners who know the tools and have the right skillsets.
Read the full interview at Forbes.
In her column today for the popular legal blog Above the Law, technology writer Nicole Black says that one of the best items of swag at this year’s LegalTech New York was the new book from Catalyst, TAR for Smart People: How Technology Assisted Review Works and Why It Matters for Legal Professionals.
At LegalTech, Catalyst handed out the book in hard copies. But for those of you who did not make it to LegalTech (or who just don’t want to kill any more trees), the e-book edition is now also available. To get your own copy, download it here free. It is available in both PDF and Epub versions.
The book was written by Catalyst founder and CEO John Tredennick, with contributions by Dr. Jeremy Pickens,, one of the world’s leading information retrieval scientists and senior applied research scientist at Catalyst; Mark Noel, a lawyer who is managing director of professional services at Catalyst; and me, a lawyer and technology writer and director of communications at Catalyst. It features a forward by internationally known e-discovery lawyer Ralph Losey.
Starting from the premise that TAR is a sophisticated process that draws on science, technology and law, the book explains the basics of TAR while also exploring advanced issues and applications. The book serves as a practitioners’ guide to TAR, with a focus on the newest TAR protocol, Continuous Active Learning (CAL).
The Decade of Discovery—an acclaimed documentary that chronicles the impact of the information explosion on the courts and the government during the years 2002 to 2012—will be screened in an exclusive Denver-area showing on Thursday, Feb. 19, at the University of Denver, Davis Auditorium.
The documentary tells the story of a government attorney on a quest to find a better way to search White House e-mail, a teacher who takes a stand for civil justice on the electronic frontier, and the resulting revolution in the way law is practiced and the government operates. It was written and directed by Joe Looby, a lawyer and forensic technology expert.
The free screening will be followed by a discussion by an expert panel that will include the government attorney depicted in the documentary, Jason R. Baron, now of counsel to the law firm Drinker Biddle. Baron served 13 years as the first appointed director of litigation at the National Archives, and prior to that as a trial attorney and senior counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as counsel of record in lawsuits involving the preservation of White House e-mail.
Other legal experts on the panel will be:
- Craig B. Shaffer, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Colorado.
- David Thomson, professor, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.
- John Tredennick, founder and CEO of Catalyst.
- Kelly Twigger, principal, ESI Attorneys.
- Francis Lambert, information governance expert.
The event begins with a reception at 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by Catalyst and the Denver chapter of ARMA International.
More information is available on the Catalyst website or through the law school’s site.
If you are attending LegalTech New York this week, don’t miss this first-of-its-kind event: a LegalTech rock concert, “15 Years of E-Discovery, What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been.”
(Read on to learn how to get VIP access and drink tickets.)
The concert kicks off Wednesday night, Feb. 4, at 9 p.m. and continues until midnight. It will be held in the West Grand Ballroom at the Hilton, so you don’t even have to go outside and face the elements.
The concert will feature your favorite LegalTech musicians and there will be a few suprises thrown in as well. It promises to be a fun party, with music and dancing, VIP guests, and one very special tribute.
All registered LegalTech attendees are welcome, but stop by the Catalyst booth at LegalTech (#1411) for special VIP access and drink tickets.
Catalyst is sponsoring the event, along with co-sponsors ALM, Brainspace, Ricoh, DSicovery and MarkLogic.
If you follow this blog at all, you know that Catalyst’s founder and CEO John Tredennick is a prolific writer on e-discovery and, in particular, on technology assisted review. Now, he has written a book about TAR, TAR for Smart People: How Technology Assisted Review Works and Why it Matters for Legal Professionals, and it is being released tomorrow at LegalTech New York.
Recognizing that TAR is a sophisticated process that draws on science, technology and law, Tredennick set out to write a book that explains the basics of TAR while also exploring advanced issues and applications. The book serves as a practitioners’ guide to TAR, with a focus on the newest TAR protocol, Continuous Active Learning (CAL). Continue reading
Catalyst is proud to be sponsoring an all-star plenary session at LegalTech New York next week, Taking TAR to the Next Level: Recent Research and the Promise of Continuous Active Learning. The session, which takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 12:30, will feature a panel of internationally known e-discovery experts, and will be moderated by Catalyst’s founder and CEO John Tredennick.
The panel will discuss the latest research on protocols for technology assisted review, focusing on newer methods and, in particular, on Continuous Active Learning, which has been shown to identify relevant documents more quickly and with less human effort, thereby further reducing review costs. Continue reading
Rarely do we use this blog to blow our own horn. But when a widely acknowledged leader in the field of e-discovery singles out Catalyst for having “the ideal e-discovery team,” we cannot let it pass unmentioned.
That is exactly what happened in a recent post by Ralph Losey at his e-Discovery Team blog. The topic of his post was visualizing data in a predictive coding project. He begins by discussing how an e-discovery team should be composed. It should include not just lawyers and technologists, as is often the case, but also scientists, Ralph says. Further, the lawyers on the team should be sophisticated about search. Finally, the lawyers should not simply be part of the team, but they should lead it.
He then continues:
For legal search to be done properly, it must not only include lawyers, the lawyers must lead. Ideally, a lawyer will be in charge, not in a domineering way (my way or the highway), but in a cooperative multi-disciplinary team sort of way. That is one of the strong points I see at Catalyst. Their team includes tons of engineers/technologists, like any vendor, but also scientists, and lawyers. Plus, and here is the key part, the CEO is an experienced search lawyer. That means not only a law degree, but years of legal experience as a practicing attorney doing discovery and trials. A fully multidisciplinary team with an experienced search lawyer as leader is, in my opinion, the ideal e-discovery team. Not only for vendors, but for corporate e-discovery teams, and, of course, law firms.
Even if Ralph had never mentioned Catalyst in this quote, we would emphatically endorse the point he makes. In the final analysis, discovery is a legal and judicial process, despite all the technology that supports it these days. Having lawyers at the helm who understand the law and the legal process is critical to ensuring it is done right.
Thanks for the kind words, Ralph. You are one of the true pioneers in our industry.
Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck
It is less than three years since the first court decision approving the use of technology assisted review in e-discovery. “Counsel no longer have to worry about being the ‘first’ or ‘guinea pig’ for judicial acceptance of computer-assisted review,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck declared in his groundbreaking opinion in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe.
Judge Peck did not open a floodgate of judicial decisions on TAR. To date, there have been fewer than 20 such decisions and not one from an appellate court.
However, what he did do — just as he said — was to set the stage for judicial acceptance of TAR. Not a single court since has questioned the soundness of Judge Peck’s decision. To the contrary, courts uniformly cite his ruling with approval.
That does not mean that every court orders TAR in every case. The one overarching lesson of the TAR decisions to date is that each case stands on its own merits. Courts look not only to the efficiency and effectiveness of TAR, but also to issues of proportionality and cooperation.
What follows is a summary of the cases to date involving TAR. Each includes a link to the full-text decision, so that you can read for yourself what the court said. Continue reading