Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2014-03-13 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

Attendance at the Houston bDiscovery gathering fluctuates wildly based on weather, spring break and many other factors. The March gathering was small, but rich in experience with a wild variety of clients, partners and employers. As happens so often at LTNY or anywhere eDiscovery professionals and alcohol mix, the conversation quickly devolves into carefully sanitized stories of bonehead mistakes, amazing bills, print parties, Luddite partners, cookie bearing copy reps and more. eDiscovery old-timers know better than to name names or give any specific details that could even hint at the identities of the parties, but these stories are more than entertainment. They comprise our tribal wisdom. They can educate the next generation of eDiscovery professionals so that they are not doomed to repeat the same mistakes we made in the 1990’s and too many of our clients continue to make today. Somewhere around the third round of stories/drinks (take your pick), my long time friend Joni Miller at DiscoverReady remarked, “Oh, the stories we could tell…” That inspired me to solicit your stories with a pledge to render them anonymous and compile them into fictional comedic tales for our mutual edutrainment (yes, I made that word up. In fact I did it during a dot-com pitch session once upon a time). Below find a story that I will neither attribute nor claim other than the obfuscation and deliberate exaggeration for effect.

***The following completely fictional. EVERYTHING has been changed to protect the guilty***

Sean, eDix project manager, stuck just his head through Marjorie’s door at 3:30 pm Friday. He did not want her to see the golf clubs over his shoulder as he delivered the bad news. “Hey, Biglaw pulled the trigger on that production. But they decided to leave the old bates numbers on the tiffs.”

Marjorie looked up from her bank of monitors as the DVD tower spit out another tray to be fed her most recent collection for processing. “But Josh just had me process and QC two hundred THOUSAND tiffs to remove the prior production numbers! Every odd sized page got rotated and I spent hours extracting the page properties to identify them. I found hundreds of old placeholders for all those DWG files that I had to reprocess and insert. The entire production is already loaded to the drive and encrypted. It is ready to ship. Please don’t tell me we have to rebuild this monster.”

“Uhm. Does that mean you can’t get it out in the last Fedex pickup?” Sean just wanted to make his tee time at this point. He figured that he might be able to hit Acme up for a second production run based on the changed specs, but 200k at a nickel a page did not even translate to his green fees when you considered his commission.

“Tonight? Really. You know that Josh at Biglaw will want to look at it before it goes to the other side.”

It was Sean’s turn to roll his eyes, which made the clubs roll off his shoulder into view.

Marjorie’s face froze in that look. The one that every PM dreaded when they got caught dumping on the tech group. “You get back on the phone to Josh and make sure that he is waiting when I have the drive run over to him. Tell Robert to stand by to hand deliver it in 45 minutes.” She did not want to think about the queries or the abbreviated QC, but she would make the deadline in time AND get her anniversary dinner.

Forty eight minutes later she sent the email to Josh with the encryption key as Robert sprinted out of the building to cross downtown in five o’clock traffic. Marjorie knew that she could not leave until Josh replied with the all clear, but her husband had already picked up the kids and would bring her dress to the office. She went back over the load file, spot checked insertions ran through her QC another time to make sure. It was not a large production, but she was out of time if there were any problems if they were going to be on time for their seven o’clock reservations.

Outlook pinged at 5:30 with a message from Josh:

Got the drive. Can’t read it. Did you do that encryption thing?

She furiously typed decryption instructions to Josh for the twentieth time and hit send so hard that she almost broke a nail.  John arrived with the dress, her shoes and even remembered to find a matching dress purse. She sprinted to the office bathroom to change and do her makeup in the mirror.

Knock knock came almost hesitantly.

“Hon, you got a text from someone named Josh. He says that he needs your keys.” John pitched his voice through the cracked bathroom door and stepped back.

Marjorie burst out of the bathroom and almost shot putted her bundled clothes at John as she passed. Her red mane was only half tamed, but she was not taking any chances with only an hour left before they lost their table.

Sure enough, there were a string of increasingly strident emails in her Inbox from Josh asking for the ‘key’ and wondering if the drive might be broken. “It’s not broken you d*mb s0)^#(*^$#()^. I sent you the encryption key in the first email!”

She attached the key to the reply and kept hitting SEND in time to a string of profanity as she glared at the clock on her screen. She knew how long it would take Josh to access the drive, satisfy himself that his redactions and privileged documents were not in the production and send her the all clear. The dinner was a wash. It was not going to happen. She sat back in her seat as John placed a basket on her desk.

“I figured that a fall back option was in order. So we have take-out and champagne.”

–You get me the facts and I will endeavor to render them into something vaguely entertaining. I also invite aspiring authors to fictionalize their own eDiscovery Stupid Human Tricks and I will happily publish them if they meet our admittedly low editorial standards.

Greg Buckles can be reached at Greg@eDJGroupInc for offline comment, questions or consulting. His active research topics include mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s 2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Find Greg at the following upcoming events:

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