The hunter-gatherer phase of eDiscovery

I don’t flatter myself that anyone but my wife and the dog notices if I am away a lot, but you might perhaps have observed that there have been relatively few posts here in the last couple of months. If it is worth recounting briefly where I have been, that is because it may say something about what is happening in the eDiscovery / eDisclosure world rather than because I expect any great interest in what I am doing.

My life is broadly divided between the assimilation of information about eDiscovery / eDisclosure and the dissemination of that information in a form intended to make it a little more palatable than the raw material of press releases, rule changes and judgments. I could, I suppose, do that from my desk, but that means relying on the writing of others as my sources. I prefer to get out there and see it for myself, talking with the people who dirty their hands with eDiscovery, whether as client, lawyer, judge or provider.

If that is my catchment area in one dimension, another lies in the geographical spread of the subject. Having parallel interests in the UK, Hong Kong and the US as well as other places means that I spend a lot of time travelling (I mean I do a lot of flying not, alas, that I have cracked time travel).

Yet a third dimension comes from the fact that the subject keeps widening – regulatory investigations, internal investigations, information governance and cyber security are all both interesting and important alongside eDiscovery.

Ideally, the year would be divided into neat phases, with time between trips to write it all down. The events calendar does not, alas, work like that, and most of it seems to be jammed into April and May. I do not write the thoughtful stuff while I am travelling, partly because I prefer to take the opportunity to talk to people and partly because the mechanics of travel are not conducive to thought.

My passport has gone off to be replaced before it expires in July, so I have the opportunity to test the rival claims of a union spokesperson who claims that redundancies have caused a backlog of applications and a pen-pusher (today backed by the Prime Minister) who says that all is under control. I don’t much mind, since I have no plans to travel until ILTA in Nashville in mid-August.

A long run of trips came to an end last week. The week began and ended with cross-border discovery – moderating a forensics panel in South Carolina on Monday and recording a cross-border webinar from home on Friday. In between, I did the annual LexisNexis disclosure video webinar, in the company of Professor Dominic Regan and Mark Surguy of Eversheds. Having spent a coming-down weekend in a house in a field in Wiltshire, I can now start working my way through the large store of things which have accumulated in Evernote.

The text in Evernote – saved web pages and my own notes – is only a part of what is collected on one of these trips. That feeds the articles on this blog and the shorter industry-related articles on this one, but increasingly the written material is supplemented by videos and photographs. My son William comes with me for many of these trips and we do video interviews as we go. The last event resulted in over 30 GB of media data; this adds considerably to various things – the weight of equipment which we lug around, the work involved in turning the raw media into something usable, and (which is the purpose) the range of things which we can publish. If it slows down the production cycle, that is both inevitable and a small price to pay for diversity of output.

I will in due course write more fully about some of the events which I have attended, but a brief summary gives you some idea of what I come across as I tour the eDiscovery world. This has been a hunter-gatherer phase. The fruits will follow shortly.

Meanwhile, my life in pictures over a few weeks:


Port Meadow Oxford, where I walk every day, and which I do not give up lightly


Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong


The Golden Gate, San Francisco

Mendocino, North California

There was break in the middle – Pacific sunset at Mendocino


Skyline view in Las Vegas


Dressed for leisure at Myrtle Beach


All ending with a weekend in the country in a mental time zone which matched that of a dawn fox

Yes, the travel is tiresome, but I can’t complain about the variety of both destination and professional subject-matter. As I say, the eDiscovery fruits of this slightly bonkers sequence of trips will appear shortly.


About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Discovery, eDisclosure, eDiscovery, Electronic disclosure. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The hunter-gatherer phase of eDiscovery

  1. Andrew Stein says:

    GREAT picture on the beach

  2. Great pictures, Chris! Glad you are getting some much needed down time.

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