I was looking forward to the second day of The Masters Conference although walking through the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center put things into perspective. One of the other conferences in the building was “Countering IEDs.” Avoiding the minefields of e-discovery doesn’t seem as ominous when folks are meeting next door about how to save lives.
Nonetheless, the first session right off the bat was none other than Michael Arkfeld. This was one of the sessions I was really looking forward to, and no one in the audience was disappointed. Mike described e-discovery as one of the greatest cultural and operational changes in the legal profession and proposed that only about 1% of practicing attorneys are even prepared to handle e-discovery projects. Mike’s presentation was precise and informative, and I thoroughly enjoyed his relaxed style and interaction with the audience in answering questions.
In one of the other sessions we heard from Kirke Snyder of StoredIQ, where he spoke on StoredIQ’s innovative way to “map” data. The best takeaway, however, was Mr. Snyder’s answer to the question “why does e-discovery cost so much?” He said it was because no one takes ownership of the process. I like that answer because it really puts the focus on the project management aspect of e-discovery as opposed to simply blaming the collection, processing, or review phases.
The lunch keynote was from Judge Ronald Hedges (now at Nixon Peabody) where he discussed how the States have dealt with electronic discovery. He stated that they’ve adopted one of 3 scenarios: 1) they’ve done nothing; 2) they’ve directly followed the amendments to the FRCP; or 3) they’ve only adopted one or two changes but not much else.
Overall, The Masters Conference was a success in my opinion, mainly because it was more intimate than many other e-discovery conferences I have attended. Attendees, speakers, and vendors all had a good time mingling with each other. The panel I moderated was the very last session on Friday afternoon, and we still had a good crowd.