Most of my speaking engagements are of the nuts-and-bolts, cradle-to-grave variety where I speak for a couple of hours about the issues raised by electronic documents and about how proper use of the Civil Procedure Rules, coupled with an understanding of the available technology solutions, should give parties and the courts the means to arrive at answers which are proportionate to the case.
People can read the rules for themselves once pointed in the right direction. The technology, and the problems which it addresses, need a more visual approach, and I am increasingly getting the opportunity to use snippets of visual displays from specific products to illustrate generic points. The aim is not to try and display the whole range of solutions from the left hand side of the EDRM diagram to the right, but to use a picture to say a thousand words about a sub-set of it, to shine a torch into a previously dark corner in the hope that it illuminates the wider picture.
As a change from these points of detail, I am sometimes asked to speak about the broader context, to give a kind of “state of the nation” talk which pulls together some of the threads. One such opportunity arose last week when Autonomy invited me to be the guest speaker at a lunch at the Ritz.
The timing was just right. I have been speaking much more recently about the jump-start needed to assess what a case involves at the beginning, and about what clients ought to be doing (and what lawyers ought to be advising them to be doing) to anticipate what will be required when litigation arises. Autonomy announced last week the release of its Intelligent Investigator and Early Case Assessment Software and has a product set which covers the full EDRM range. We have just seen two new cases which are very much to the point – Digicel v Cable & Wireless and Hedrich v Standard Bank and Zimmers (a firm). Recession, and the litigation which must flow from it, gives the subject some urgency. We have a Technology Questionnaire in draft. Lord Justice Jackson has begun his review of litigation costs. Between them they gave me plenty to talk about.
There was an often unregarded aspect of the timing which suited me well. A speaking slot before lunch means that the audience is focusing on its stomach not the speech. After lunch it is a close run thing whether I or the audience will nod off first. My talk came between the starter and the main course which solved the problem neatly. There is nothing like the knowledge that a corps of waiters is standing outside with the hot food to make one run to time.
The other speakers were Mike Sullivan and Glenn Perachio of Autonomy who gave a summary of Autonomy’s Early Case Assessment capability. It came with some useful illustrations (useful, that is, for a broad understanding of the subject as well as to show Autonomy’s own take on it) which I will come back to in a later post.
Glenn ended with a short question and answer session in which we fielded a range of interesting points from an audience which was, by and large, well informed. That, and the fact that the courses came between the talks (or vice versa depending on your priorities) meant that there was opportunity to follow through the points which had come up – something which the standard conference format does not really permit.
My thanks to Autonomy for the opportunity to speak, and for the splendid surroundings in which to do it.
Autonomy in the UK
Glenn Perachio firstname.lastname@example.org