Exterro Webcast: “Advances in E-Discovery Project Management” – March 19 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST

Brett Burney will be participating in a webcast sponsored by Exterro entitled “Advances in E-Discovery Project Management” on Tuesday, March 19 at 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST.

Details are posted on the E-Discovery Beat Blog from Exterro and you can also click the registration link.


Columbus E-Discovery Roundtable Breakfast (Fri. Jan. 20) – “Designing an Effective E-Discovery Workflow”

Brett Burney will be participating in an E-Discovery Roundtable Breakfast on Friday, January 20, 2012 in Columbus, OH. Brett will be joining Geoff Wilcox of Black Letter Discovery, Marc Fulkert of Jones Day, and Joe Grespin of TechLaw Solutions. Details below:

Black Letter DiscoveryTechLaw Solutions

Topic: “Designing an Effective E-Discovery Workflow”

Date: Friday, January 20, 2012

Time: 8:00am to 9:30am (Networking Breakfast at 8:00am; Roundtable Discussion begins at 8:30am)

Location: Black Letter Discovery
10 W. Broad St.
Suite 575
Columbus, OH 43215

RSVP: Geoff Wilcox, Executive Vice President, Black Letter Discovery

Excellent Coverage of LegalTech West Coast 2011 from E-Discovery Insights Blog

LegalTech West Coast 2011 Brett Burney Speaks

I was honored to be invited to speak at LegalTech West Coast last month (May 17 & 18), but I didn’t get a chance to post on my experiences.
Fortunately, my friend Perry Segal was there and did a fantastic job of covering the show on Day 1 and Day 2.

I had not met Perry before the show, but he had graciously filled in for me last year when I had to miss a speaking engagement in the Los Angeles area. Since Perry lives close to the area, I reached out to him at the last minute and he was able to fill in. So I was elated to meet him in person and my only regret is that we didn’t have time to sit and talk (you’ll see from his Day 2 post that he was quite busy).

I had a great time at LegalTech West Coast. It’s a much smaller show than it’s New York sibling, but it’s always great to catch up with friends and network with folks in the industry.

Fios Webinar: State E-Discovery: An Important Year for Changes

Fios State E-Discovery RulesTom Allman will be giving his fourth annual Fios webcast on the state of the states’ adoption of e-discovery rules on Thursday, December 9, 2010.

I regard Tom as one of the most informed folks on state e-discovery rules, and regularly provides updates on the topic such as this one from September 9, 2010. I depended heavily on Tom’s research when I wrote my article “Mining E-Discovery Stateside” for Law.com.

As significant as the amendments were to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, I believe it’s even more important at the state level, although many folks overlook them. In fact, I’ve had litigators tell me they don’t have to worry about that “e-discovery stuff” because their case isn’t in federal court, even thought they’re sitting in a state that has adopted the FRCP amendments almost word-for-word.

The two best, updated resources I usually point folks to for state e-discovery rules is:

I highly recommend registering for Tom’s Fios webinar on December 9, 2010, and make it a point to learn more about how e-discovery rules are being adopted by the states.

State Rules of Civil Procedure for e-Discovery

Webinar: eDiscovery Project Management

I’m thrilled to be presenting a webinar hosted by Encore Discovery Solutions tomorrow (Friday, June 11, 2010) entitled “eDiscovery Project Management.”

The topic is a popular one these days. Many legal professionals “manage” projects everyday, but the intricacies of e-discovery require that we adopt traits found in the technical discipine of project management.

I’ve written about e-discovery project management for TechnoLawyer and that article is available here.

I also recorded a podcast on ESIBytes.com with Karl Schieneman entitled Can You Project Manage Electronic Discovery?

You can register for the eDiscovery Project Management webinar at Encore Discovery’s website. Even if you can’t attend in person tomorrow, still sign up as Encore graciously provides an archive of recorded webinars that can be accessed later.

Update: Archived recording of the Webinar is available from Encore Discovery Solutions here.

Viewing a Lawyer’s Prize Through IT Eyes

eye on laptop screen.jpg

An excellent IT perspective on e-discovery today from Ira Winkler entitled “Arrogant lawyers: the greatest threat to your organization.” Winkler is a well-respected writer on corporate information security.

I’ve witnessed the same scenario in corporate environments concerning e-discovery that Winkler describes in the first few paragraphs such as “information security staff traditionally look at their role in the e-discoery process as ensuring the integrity of the data…” and “many people are intimidated by their organization’s lawyers – they just want to follow orders and gather the data.”

I even appreciate Winkler’s accounts of a couple of projects he’s been involved in and see the same blustering and pomposity in many litigation matters as described by Winkler.

But I don’t quite agree with Winkler’s assertions 1) that large corporations have “unlimited financial resources” to throw at litigation matters or 2) the perception of lawyers as arrogant in the context of dealing with IT professionals.

First, no corporation that I’ve worked with in the last few years involved in e-discovery has unlimited financial resources. True the legal department may enjoy a little more latitude in spending than other departments because of the pressures of corporate litigation, but unfortunately, a lot of that money is NOT spent on thorough, carefully considered e-discovery tools or scrutinized workflows.

Second, what Winkler asserts as the “arrogance” of lawyers in his article is what I would describe as the “technical ignorance” of lawyers. Winkler states that the question “do they even know what they are disclosing?” is the most critical question that information security professionals should be asking their lawyers because “nobody really knows what they are releasing.”

Winkler comments on how he has witnessed companies “try to image the data so that you cannot search the data with text based tools. There seems to be an attitude that if we can’t find the data, they can’t either.” And while I agree with Winkler that this is still unfortunately the attitude of many lawyers today, it’s not because the lawyers are arrogant, it’s because lawyers freely admit that they have no idea how an e-mail archiving system works (or even if the company has one), don’t know how their company’s network share drives are set up, have no clue about the company’s backup procedures, and couldn’t tell you what e-mail system they’re using.

Winkler also neglected to mention one other important player in this game – the outside counsel from a private law firm. I know very few in-house lawyers at corporations that directly handle their litigation matters – that’s usually a job delegated to more experienced litigators from outside law firms. The arrogance factor may be a little higher for those lawyers because of the environment they work in every day. In-house lawyers work for the company. Outside lawyers have to impress their entire portfolio of clients.

Now for the other perspective: Craig Ball offers some excellent practical advice for lawyers in dealing with IT professionals in his article “To Have and To Hold” addressing litigation holds.

My favorite quote from Craig’s article:

“Consider IT and business units, then tailor your forms to their functions. What’s the point directing a salesperson to preserve backup tapes? That’s an IT function. Why ask IT to preserve material about a certain subject or deal? IT doesn’t deal with content. Couch preservation directives in the terms and roles each recipient understands.”

The key phrase there is “IT doesn’t deal with content.”

Now obviously, “content” is practically what IT deals with at every level, seeing as they manage “information.” But IT doesn’t fret about e-mail messages or documents from the standpoint of what they contain – they are much more concerned about how and where the data is stored (e.g. e-mail sub-folders & archives, network shares, what directories can they exclude out of a backup, etc.) Legal cares about the content of data first and then concerns themselves with where it can be located.

One last counter-point I would offer to Mr. Winkler – I completely agree that lawyers must become better educated about information systems at a company and they must understand the risks associated with “releaseing” information, but it is also imperative that IT professionals understand the full environment of the data they lord over.

For example, in just about every corporation that I’ve worked with involving e-discovery, the IT professionals have an extensive and thorough handle on e-mail. But when it comes to managing individual documents and files (Word, PDF, Excel, PPT, etc.) I have yet to find a secure, relevant and professional structure around the management of those documents. Corporations rarely use any kind of document management system or if they do, it’s poorly implemented, and often circumvented to the point of uselessness. That certainly doesn’t help the process of e-discovery.

Deciphering the “Mystery of the PST”


Exciting news yesterday on two open-source tools released by Microsoft that now give software developers remarkable insight into .PST files.

This is vitally important and exciting to the world of e-discovery. One of the first places we look for information today is e-mail. And if we want e-mail, there’s a high probability that it will come from a Microsoft Outlook / Exchange environment. And if the e-mail comes from Microsoft Outlook / Exchange, we’ll probably receive a .PST file.

Craig Ball (as always) does a great job of explaining how we encounter .PST files in e-discovery matters in “How to Go Native Without Going South.”

Any IT professional that manages a Microsoft Exchange server can export .PST files. Anyone that uses Microsoft Outlook can export a .PST file from their desktop (File > New > Outlook Data File, or I usually click File > Import and Export).

The .PST is a common file format for transporting multiple e-mail messages, but a .PST file can also contain calendar information, notes, and contact information. When we request e-mail from a client, we either receive a complete .PST file or a “reconstituted file” (as Craig Ball puts it) that contains select, relevant e-mail messages.

The problem is that when lawyers get a .PST file, the apparently irrepressible instinct is to immediately open it in Outlook to see what it contains (since we know that’s where the juiciest stuff lives). This is a bad idea for several reasons, but no doubt it’s important to crack into that .PST file as soon as possible. This is what I call the “mystery of the .PST,” a phrase I used in my review of Wave Software’s Trident software that was never published (until I uploaded it here).

Up until yesterday, we had to have Outlook to peek inside a .PST file. Many litigation support / e-discovery tools process .PST files including Trident,  CT Summation, LAW PreDiscovery, Discovery Cracker, etc. But to do so, they had to have access to Microsoft Outlook to interpret the complexities of the .PST through the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) and the Outlook Object Model.

The new tools from Microsoft (the PST Data Structure View Tool and the PST File Format SDK released as open-source software) now negate the need to have Microsoft Outlook installed on a system that’s processing .PST files. This is a huge boon to the e-discovery software industry. No lawyer will need to touch these tools, but if you develop e-discovery software today, you should put your best folks on this immediately if you haven’t already. This will dramatically streamline many of the tools already on the market, and provide opportunities for additional, more robust, behind-the-scenes, invasive indexing of .PST files for finding the relevant messages necessary for litigation.

You know this is important for our industry becuase Microsoft’s own press release even mentions e-discovery as one of the “complex scenarios” where these tools will be useful.

The tools in their current state offer read-only capabilities, but this video promises that full write capabilities are on the roadmap.

(My appreciation to Paul Bain who posted links to related stories on The Litigation Support List)

UPDATE 2010.05.27: Another great story from CNET on Microsoft opening-up access to Outlook .PST files, including the possibility of opening .PST files in Google Apps or Thunderbird. This is significant because we will now have the ability to open .PST files in applications other than Outlook. Again, this will not always be the most prudent method of exploring the “mystery” of a .PST, but it’s fantastic to have options WITHOUT the need for squirrelly, third-party utilities.

Clearwell Views E-Discovery With Ease (My Review of v.5.0)


Clearwell is clearly a leader in the e-discovery market. My review of version 5.0 was published by Law.com a few months ago and I was very impressed.

Most notable was the “Pre-Processing” module now incorporated into the Clearwell environment that provides insight into data before it gets populated into a review database.

I’ve always been a big fan of how Clearwell displays e-mail “threads” – in fact, I think they do it better than just about any other platform that truly attempts this.

Right around the time my review was published, Clearwell announced version 5.5 and they have also begun work on version 6.

You can read “Clearwell Views E-Discovery With Ease” on Law.com.

The Masters Conference 2009

Masters LogoI am attending The Masters Conference today (October 13, 2009) in Washington, D.C. I’ve attended the conference for the past two years and blogged about it both times.

The highlights from last year included the keynote address from Judge John Facciola and a fascinating panel I referred to as “the e-discovery three” made up of Judge Facciola, Judge Paul Grimm, and Judge Ronald Hedges.

Organizer Sasha Hefler and her team have put together another great conference this year expanding the focus a bit from simply e-discovery to a broader risk management discussion.

I will blog a post or two from the conference, a few tweets, (#MastersConference) and a write-up for Law.com on what’s new from the exhibitor floor.

Anecdotes and Lessons Learned in Corporate E-Discovery

I am thrilled to be participating in a live Webinar today with Tom O’Connor from the Legal Electronic Document Institute, co-hosted by Orange Legal Technologies and ILTA.
Anecdotes and Lessons

Rob Robinson of Orange Legal Technologies has invited Tom and me to share a few stories that we’ve collected throughout our careers, and provide some handy tips and “lessons learned.” I always enjoy visiting with Tom, so this promises to be a blast.

(If you don’t already follow Rob on Twitter and his excellent “Unfiltered Orange” e-discovery update service, you’re missing out on a lot of information.)

The Webinar is today (Wednesday 9/9) at 12 noon Eastern. You can register on this page, or view the Webinar directly from this page.)