In my post Information Governance, UK eDisclosure and International eDiscovery in three days, I reported on a seminar which Terry Harrison of Hobs Legal Docs organised at HSBC’s Northern regional office in Manchester and which I spoke at. What I did not know when I wrote my account of the evening was that the post-seminar party continued until well after midnight whilst I was sleeping the sleep of the just at an airport hotel.
Hobs Legal Docs had just opened a new office in Manchester when we gave that seminar, and I now have the address details. It is at 4 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M3 5WY. The telephone number is 0161 832 6680.
I have the sense, and not just from Hobs, that solicitors (and, judging from our Manchester audience, some barristers as well) in some of the major commercial centres outside London are beginning to appreciate the opportunities opening for firms who can genuinely say that they can manage eDisclosure efficiently. Now that it no longer needs large teams, eDisclosure does not limit document-heavy litigation to big firms – armed with competent lawyers, outsourced technology and, perhaps, managed document review, smaller firms can take on large litigation and can meet much bigger firms on equal terms.
Indeed, as major firms like Herbert Smith and Allen & Overy effectively insource an outsourced-type document review facility (in Belfast in the case of both those firms) even medium-sized firms might find that city giants have become competitive again. This had not occurred to me as a possibility, but the idea turned up in a Twitter conversation last week involving Mike Taylor of i-Lit Paralegals, who says that he has begun to detect this fear.
All the more reason, of course, why the more alert regional firms should take the initiative. It is not difficult to persuade me to go to the major cities and talk about eDisclosure – not just about rules and the cases and technology, but about the business reasons why eDisclosure skills can be used for marketing a practice and for developing client relationships.
Twitter and the development of client relationships go together, of course, and I am pleased that Hobs Legal Docs has joined the rest of us on Twitter as @HobsLegalDocs The example given above – an interesting snippet from Mike Taylor – is something useful emerging from the kind of multi-way conversations which spring up from nowhere. I can’t remember who else was involved or what the context was, but it keeps us in the loop – in several loops, indeed. If you feel that some people know more than you about what is going on and have a web of connections which you lack, Twitter may be the reason. It is not for everyone, but it serves well those us us in eDiscovery / eDisclosure who use it.