I recorded a podcast last week with James Sheedy of CPDCast. You can listen to it for free and solicitors, barristers and ILEX member can get CPD points for doing so. There is a note at the bottom of this post explaining how to access the podcast.
I have to say that I prefer an audience I can see to a microphone in a padded cell. From the audience perspective, however, there is obvious benefit in having talks like this delivered to their desks and downloadable to an MP3 player, although they don’t then see the slides with which I usually illustrate the subject. I have been asked to do more of these, including a longer series covering the full range of topics – more on this when we have advanced our plans.
What was interesting for me was that James Sheedy composed the questions after some (impressively fast and thorough) research of the subject from scratch. Although much of the ground covered was inevitably the same as that which I devise for myself, the outsider’s perspective helps to bring out aspects which I do not necessarily think of. One of his questions, for example, was predicated on the assumption that the lawyer starts with a room full of paper. The challenge is to persuade people to investigate a purely electronic solution BEFORE existing electronic sources are turned into paper at vast expense in printing and copying.
Another question drew attention to the purely human aspects of conducting disclosure on a screen rather than from dusty boxes of paper. We overlook, I think, that the people who do the hard graft of document review come from the Google generation. It may be true that people are happy to have any job at the moment and will not complain at what they are asked to do – a point neatly caught by the cartoon in this week’s Law Section of the Times, showing a young lawyer complaining about her work down to the moment when she is told she is to be made redundant, when the appeal of having a job at all outweighs the misery. Nevertheless, there is merit in thinking about what keeps the workers happy, even in a recession.
The last point made by James Sheedy which gave me a new angle was about whether the failure of so many public service database projects made lawyers wary of getting involved with technology. Leaving aside my views on WHY we have so many failed computerisation projects at a national level, there is no commonality at all between the bespoke projects which the state commissions and the use of established applications which have been created for a generic purpose and which have, in most cases, been well-used by others in the testing environment of US litigation. The question is important not because there is in fact anything in common but because of the subliminal effect of the very public national failures.
Much has to be trimmed, obviously, in cramming into 30 minutes a subject on which I normally speak for two hours. A great deal fits under this umbrella – rules and case law as well as technology and management aspects. The result was described by the sound technician as “terse”, which I took as a compliment.
To listen to the podcast for free, do this:
- Go to www.CPDcast.com
- Sign up for a free account with your email address.
- Click on the ‘My Basket’ link in the top right hand corner.
- Enter the code dale in lower case in the box at the bottom of the screen and click Enter
- Then click Proceed to Checkout.
If, having listened to the podcast, you would like the full two hour version with slides please contact me.