That part of my life which involves speaking has four elements – preparation, travel, delivery and reporting. The month of May always has a full diary of events, and this year has more than usual. Of the four elements, the only one which is optional is the reporting, and it is that which I must abbreviate here. I can make a virtue out of that by summarising the themes which run through my current batch of events, reckoning that the subjects which recur at events are those which are seen as important.
I am writing this from the top floor of the Wynne / Encore hotel in Las Vegas where I have been speaking at AccessData’s User Conference. Below me lies the vast complex of casinos, conference rooms, shops, swimming pools and catering facilities which are the standard mix in this city. To my left, and temptingly close, lies McCarran airport with toy aeroplanes taking off and landing. But for the iniquitous cost of today’s flights, I would be there now, getting ready to go home less than 24 hours after arriving here (I could not come earlier because of ILTA Insight in London). As it is, I am stuck here until tomorrow – though as offices go, this one is hard to beat. Away to my right lies the Red Rock Hotel; I will be there in a few days time for Guidance Software’s CEIC. It would be a great deal cheaper, and much more productive in writing terms, to stay here for the intervening few days, but IQPC’s big Information Governance and eDisclosure Summit takes place in London next week and I must be back for that. When CEIC is over, I must get back for a CPD talk which I am giving in London.
What themes recur through these events? The series began with iCONECT’s Legal Technology Summit in Fort Lauderdale a few days ago which I wrote about here. It differed from the others in that my part had a broad general theme of my own choosing. I was able to sweep up a lot of other subjects on the way, but the main message was to do with responsibility of all of the players – not just judges and lawyers – to use a mixture of intelligence, process, the rules and technology to focus on what really matters. What did you do in the eDiscovery war? was the main question.
At ILTA Insight, I moderated a panel about predictive coding with the title Innovative Technology-Assisted Review: can I use it or not? Greg Wildisen of Epiq Systems took us through the stages of a predictive coding exercise. Senior Master Whitaker talked about the use of this kind of technology in UK proceedings. Browning Marean of DLA Piper gave us the US perspective as Da Silva Moore and Kleen Products hit the airwaves. Vince Neicho of Allen & Overy talked from the perspective of a law firm user. The key point which I wanted to get across, and which the panellists amply covered, was that this is no black box with raw material tipped in at one end and ready-coded data appearing at the other. The lawyers are involved all the way through – at the critical training stage at the beginning, as the results come through in the form of preliminary prioritisation, and in the QA which is fundamental to any arguments about defensability.
Then it was off to the airport. I do not particularly mind the hours spent in a reasonably comfortable seat, particularly now that the iPad allows me to catch up on all my reading in one slim container. I have no complaints either (this time at least) about the security and other checks either on leaving Heathrow or on arriving In Chicago. But why does it take so long for the baggage to come through at almost any airport in the world? Since the US now requires you to claim your baggage at the point of landing, transit passengers have to go through this twice. Is it really that difficult to speed up this process? It was some consolation, after being up for 24-hours, that the car which the hotel kindly sent for me was the largest Rolls-Royce I have ever seen.
My subject here was Cross-Border eDiscovery on a panel with Kate Paslin, Assistant General Counsel at AccessData, and Georg Kirsch, Senior IP Litigation and Discovery Expert at of Bayer AG. We covered a lot of ground between us, but the takeaway message was that it is possible to reconcile the inherent contradictions between US discovery demands and EU restrictions. There are, as I said in answer to one question from the floor, always going to be places where you are caught between a rock and a hard place, but an early focus on what really matters, prompt and informed liaison with opponents, the court and, not least, with those who had an ownership or regulatory interest in the data, could minimise the problems. Internal policies at the client, a rational approach to information governance, and the adoption of the recommendations made recently by the ABA and by the Sedona Conference all make more sense than simply sitting there waiting to be hit by the next demand.
What’s coming up next? At IQPC, I am doing a workshop at which Jean-Bernard Schmidt, Deputy Prosecutor General in Geneva, Matthew Davis of Hogan Lovells, I and Craig Earnshaw and others from FTI Technology will discuss keeping control of data; there is a working dinner with Nuix with Big Data on the menu, a social media panel with David Shonka of the FTC and Patrick Oot of the SEC and the eDiscovery Institute, a session introducing Professor Dominic Regan on the Jackson Reforms, and the annual light entertainment with the judges.
At CEIC, I am taking part in a panel moderated by Patrick Burke of Guidance Software on cross-border eDiscovery and privacy with M. James Daley of Daley & Fey LLP, Dominic Jaar, KPMG Canada, and Quentin Archer, Hogan Lovells. Craig Ball and I are talking about social media and eDiscovery.
First up on my return is a three-hour talk for MBL Seminars about the technology aspects of disclosure in England and Wales. This is the first of a series of such talks around the country and something I am very much looking forward to. There are also a couple of recordings to make in that week.
Then there is a week “off” before InnoXcell’s eDiscovery Exchange in Hong Kong. More on that in due course.
Big Data, social media, cross-border discovery, predictive coding, controlling data, UK eDisclosure – I cannot complain about the variety. These are amongst the key topics of the time, and it is good to be talking about them.