I do not pretend that this job is hard work in the way that trying to reach a sales target or managing a large project is hard work. It is far too enjoyable for that. It would, however, be good if all these interesting things could be spread out more evenly across the year.
Did I really agree to deliver 10,000 words for a book chapter on digital evidence by 1 October? Did that have to coincide with finishing off two white papers? Why do all the conferences end up bunched together (three conferences in three continents in three weeks starting this week in Brussels)? Are the Twitter eDiscovery lists always so full of interesting stories to follow up, or have I joined in at a particularly interesting point? I could write ten stories a day entirely from the leads on there alone – but for the book, white papers and the conferences, that is.
Meanwhile, whey-faced civil servants have been pushing into new areas of our lives like worms into apples, as a last hurrah before the incoming government drags them from their desks and sets them to stone-breaking or litter-picking, and the Attorney General has shown that the immigration rules are something that only ordinary people have to comply with, rather as one of her ex-sisters-in-government thought of Capital Gains Tax.
All these good stories have had to wait, but I can’t get away with that for long. I once got an e-mail, you know, complaining that I had not posted a new article for a week, as if I was Charles Dickens with crowds waiting on the quayside in New York to see if Little Nell died in the last instalment of the Old Curiosity Shop. Flattering, but demanding.
Anyway, having waved my wife off to the Isles of Scilly (a group of inhabited rocks off Cornwall, next pub Manhattan) last week, and the house being otherwise empty, the dog and I got down to the white papers, the book chapter and the rest, and I am off on Eurostar tomorrow. I have not been to Brussels since an EU project I did years ago in one of the “-stans” then recently divorced from the USSR, a life-changing experience of which it is perhaps not politic to say more in case I am dragged down an alley tomorrow by Belgian civil servants, bound with red tape and bored to death.
I doubt I will see much of Brussels anyway. The conference is the IQPC Information Retention and E-Disclosure Management Europe event on 30 September and 1 October. I have mentioned it before (see The UK is well-placed between the EU and the rest of the eDiscovery world). I am doing two panels in succession with Guidance Software, one of which is the judicial panel mentioned in my previous article.
The other is called eCorporate Perspective on the Judges’ Thoughts on Electronic Discovery. I am presenting one of my new white papers, about growing awareness of e-disclosure in the UK for litigation and for regulatory reasons. Denise Backhouse of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP is presenting another about pre-trial discovery of EU-based data in US or UK proceedings. Patrick Burke of Guidance Software will then ring-master a discussion involving Patrick Oot of Verizon and Steve Watson of Intel as well as Denise and me.
Jason Robman of Recommind then leads a discussion on effective document collection and legal hold protocols. In the afternoon, Patrick Oot talks about Cutting the Cost of ESI and E-Disclosure in a Global Downturn, and Debra Logan of Gartner discusses Sorting Through the Myths and Facts of Cross-Border E-Disclosure. Then it is the turn of law firms, with Christian Riis-Madsen of O’Melveny & Myers on EU Data Protection – From Legal Holds To US Production, and our own Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy with the title E-disclosure – Am I bothered?
As if that is not enough, the day ends with a panel on Accelerated Electronic Document Review in which I must try and keep order on a panel comprising Greg Wildisen of Epiq Systems, Vince Neicho and Senior Master Whitaker. I have in fact moderated this team before – a software supplier, a law firm litigation support expert and a judge who can between them cover every angle and need little control beyond telling them when it is time to stop.
On Day 2, the main event is Alex Dunstan-Lee of KPMG in London who is due to reveal the results of a global survey on the readiness (or otherwise, I suspect) of legal departments in major corporates to manage electronic information as part of litigation and regulatory response.
I will also try and see Deepa Vijayan of Swiss Re, whose approach to getting the users onside for records management is rather different from the stock approach to this worthy subject. Once you add speakers from K&L Gates, Microsoft, Citi, Bayer AG, Intel, Shell International, Puma AG, Barclays Wealth and, not least, Meika Kampe of the European Commission Data Protection Authority, it begins to look as if my time for important conference business (i.e. chatting to people in bars) will be rather limited.
Back late on Thursday with, I suspect, a fair amount to write up.