Once a decade, we get a large and influential report on Civil Procedure in the Courts of England & Wales. Once a year, the largest and most important e-discovery conference takes place in New York. Did they have to take place within a few days of each other?
In mid-September 1066, Harold Hardraada of Norway pitched up on the Yorkshire coast with an invading army. The English King Harold set off from London with his army and smashed the invading forces at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September. Three days later, Duke William of Normandy landed at Pevensey on the south coast. King Harold was back in London by 6 October and the Battle of Hastings took place on 14 October. Nineteen days elapsed between these two battles at opposite ends of the country.
That is one day more than the interval between the publication of Lord Justice Jackson’s Final Report on Civil Litigation Costs and the opening of LegalTech. It is better than having to trail your army up and down the A1, but you would not want to be the person who is expected to comment on both, would you?
It is hard to underestimate the interest shown in Jackson in the UK. 3000 people signed up to watch Dominic Regan’s webcast on the afternoon of the launch. I published 2,500 words on it that night (see First thoughts on the eDisclosure implications of the Jackson Report); the second edition of the LexisNexis book on Electronic Evidence, for which I have written a section, was waiting to go to press and had to be updated in a hurry; I have in hand a big paper whose final form must reflect the e-Disclosure sections of the Jackson report; a date in mid-February is fixed for recording a podcast — “this leaves plenty of time to do some prep” says CPDCast optimistically; conference organisers want to fine-tune their agendas; and then the editor of a prestigious legal computer magazine asks for a couple of thousand words on Jackson. This is all good stuff, and I could not be happier than in complying cheerfully with all these requests.
However, the fortnight before LegalTech is a welter of activity: every software supplier launches its new release at LegalTech and sends out the press releases with the not unreasonable expectation that I will be interested in them; I hope that our panels (I am doing three) come across as relaxed and spontaneous, but they take some preparation; kind invitations arrive and there is much fine-tuning of the diary to fit in as many of them as possible; the form-filling mechanics of travel have to be dealt with – BA wants to know where I am staying in New York, and US immigration wants me to ‘fess up to my role in Nazi atrocities. In the middle of all this, a job which fell quiet last summer reawakens, and Judge Scheindlin pronounces authoritatively on gross negligence in matters of spoliation, raising the bar to apparently impossible heights and causing Ralph Losey to say “it all comes back to how much truth you can afford”, something which ties in nicely with the Jackson report.
Oh, and did I mention that I have a new website to finish before LegalTech?
It seems to me that instead of adding to the torrent of LegalTech-related words with yet more words of my own on all that is happening, I provide a better service by offering a kind of index to everything else which is going on. The order in which I do this owes nothing to chronology, the alphabet or any perceived ranking. It is just the order in which my eye falls on things. Contrary to my norm, therefore, the next few posts will be short snippets whose main function is to point you to something else.