One of the many bonuses of going to LegalTech is the chance to talk to people whom one knows or knows of but never gets the chance to see – thus the apparently odd remark in my post Why no UK lawyers at LegalTech that I go there to see people from the UK. To see them here, one needs to make an appointment, catch a train and generally impose a degree of formality. At LegalTech you start chatting in the bar. Most of the conversation, even in the bar, is about the subject which brought us all to New York.
I was talking one evening to Ian Bartlett of eMAG Solutions about proportionate searches for documents – proportionality in e-Disclosure is my main focus, and extracting data from electronic media is eMAG’s business. Ian challenged my assertion that the recovery of data from tape was necessarily expensive.
The subject comes up in assessing proportionality because litigation (and regulatory) exercises often have to go back beyond the data which is currently on the client’s system, and often back to an earlier system – where the operating system, application or tape device is no longer in use and may, indeed, no longer exist. At that point the theoretical ability to retrieve the information becomes just that – theoretical – at least with the company’s existing systems. The obligation to disclose the data, however, or at least to find out if you have any disclosable data, remains.
The general perception is that such data restoration is an expensive business. eMAG get round that by non-native restoration of tape-based data – meaning that you can get at it without having to restore the environment in which it was created. Nor is it necessary to restore a complete set of tapes if all that is required is a part of it – the e-mails for example.
eMAG go further, and say that restoration even from recent backup tapes may be easier or more cost-effective than taking a disk image of the server.
It is important to know this, whether you are the proposed giver of the data, the would-be recipient or, indeed, the judge managing the case. To take just one of those stand-points, if your opponent argues that the retrieval of data which you consider important is too expensive to retrieve, you could ask the judge to order that a quotation be obtained. That is still only half the issue – you still have to argue that there is likely to be some value in the data itself – but it is a necessary pre-requisite for the debate.
eMAG’s web site, unlike some others, goes to some trouble to explain all this. Ian Bartlett can be contacted on 02920 739940.