A story from Maryland’s Daily Record entitled "How law firms are coping in the era of e-discovery" elucidates some of the practical aspects of how law firms are dealing with e-discovery projects.
One spotlight in the story shines on Bowie & Jensen LLC litigator Matthew Hjortsberg who is obviously very comfortable using the Internet. He admits to using the SEC’s EDGAR database, a Greek singles Web site, and the Wayback Machine in past matters for reconnaissance on the opposing party. He accurately states:
“Somebody said something someplace that appears in writing … on the Internet”
Next the story actually *gasp* quotes the Director of Litigation Technology at Bowie & Jensen – Tina Gentle. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against hearing the recycled warnings and same dry quotes about e-discovery from litigation attorneys, I’m just thrilled to see an actual litigation support professional included in a story about e-discovery.
Yes of course it is the attorney who is ultimately responsible for the success and security of an electronic document database, but it is the litigation support professionals who sweats through the essential tasks of creating and maintaining a workable document database, constantly training attorneys who neglect (and/or refuse) to learn how to adequately use the review application, keeping the document collection accurate when subsequent load sets appear, and interpreting abstract and inconsistent coding practices into conclusive production sets.
Ms. Gentle explains that the firm uses CT Summation iBlaze to host their litigation databases. The firm currently has 5 licenses, but has considered upgrading to the much more expensive CT Summation Enterprise suite to handle their growing needs.
Mr. Hjortsberg compares iBlaze to a Google search specifically for evidentiary documents and provides the golden quote:
"You load your documents into Summation and then you can do ‘bullion‘ [sic] searches."
(Obviously, I don’t hold Mr. Hjortsberg responsible for the loss in translation.)
Special Counsel is one of the many companies that can supply temporary contract attorneys for a large document review project. Ms. Rosenbloom explains that many of her clients now require contact attorneys to be experienced in tools like CT Summation, Concordance, or Ringtail.
Mr. Hjortsberg continues with some insightful comments:
“There’s a huge distinction between the economic haves and the economic have-nots in this e-discovery world. If you listen to people at a large law firm talk about e-discovery, it’s a completely different process than when you’re representing smaller clients. Before I suppose it was the ability to invest a lot of [associates] into a case; now it’s more like I’m investing in the technology tool.”
Maryland’s Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm offers the fitting conclusion to the story:
“It’s not about the tools, it’s about the end result of the tools.”
Link to story.