Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: . Published: 2012-06-06 12:37:48  I recently spoke with Eric Mandel, National eDiscovery Counsel with Zelle Hofmann in Minneapolis, about the EDRM Model Code of Conduct (MCoC), which was officially published late last year.   The EDRM Model Code of Conduct project was initiated in May 2007 by many EDRM participants who were concerned about the lack of ethical direction for those in the eDiscovery industry.  Below is a summary of the interview with Eric Mandel who has been heading up the MCoC project the past few years.Jason Velasco:  Is there a lack of ethics in the eDiscovery industry?Eric Mandel:  I wouldn’t go so far to say there is a lack of ethics in the industry as a whole.  But there are difficult ethical issues that arise for corporations, law firms, and vendors when involved in eDiscovery matters.  One of the big concerns conveyed from the onset was the lack of ethical guidelines for how vendors should be working with other vendors.  We heard many horror stories, some of good people making bad decisions, some of people just stuck and having to make difficult judgment calls without anything or anyone to turn to.    But when you hear stories about more than one vendor saying something to the effect of “the only conflict is when the check doesn’t clear”, it’s time to saddle up and offer some formal guidance for the community.JV:  What is the framework of the EDRM Model Code of Conduct?Eric Mandel:  The group that put together the MCoC focused on three areas:  purpose, structure, and enforceability.  Our purpose was to generate ethical guidelines for industry participants which would in turn create ongoing stability in the marketplace.  The structure is a series of principles, which are the broad statements, and corollary comments to the principle, defining the expected responsibility of the corporation, law firm, or provider.  We then provide a set of guidelines which serves as our commentary.  We did not rank them in any particular order of importance, but things tend to flow from the general to the specific.JV:  How will the MCoC be enforced in the community?Eric Mandel:  We spent a year and half contemplating how to enforce the MCoC.  At the end of the day, the MCoC is aspirational and representative of the goals the eDiscovery industry should hope to achieve.  The structure we set up asks organizations and individuals to subscribe to the MCoC, and the list of subscribers is available for public reference.  But the code is voluntary at the core.  That said, if we receive multiple complaints about a specific entity that subscribes to the MCoC, they may be removed from the list.  The EDRM doesn’t want to, and can’t, be an enforcement agency.JV:  What about working with a licensing organization like the American Bar Association (ABA)?Eric Mandel:  We are not in discussions with the ABA or any other organization at this time.  We’re currently trying to build awareness of the Model Code at this stage, and we’ll take the larger enforcement issue on if appropriate one step at a time.JV:  What’s next for the MCoC?Eric Mandel:  Our objectives for this year are to grow the subscription list and raise awareness.  We want to listen to the feedback from the community and time will tell where things will go from there.Below are the principles in the MCoC.  For more information about the EDRM Model Code of Conduct and see the details of the corollary materials, click here.Principle 1: Professionalism – Service Providers should perform their work in a competent, accurate, timely and cost-effective manner, adhering to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.Principle 2: Engagement – Service Providers should collaborate with Clients to establish and memorialize the terms of their relationship including any reasonably foreseeable parameters as early as possible upon the initiation of any new engagement.Principle 3: Conflicts of Interest – Service Providers should employ reasonable proactive measures to identify potential conflicts of interest, as defined and discussed below. In the event that an actual or potential conflict of interest is identified, Service Providers should disclose any such conflict and take immediate steps to resolve it in accordance with the Guidelines set forth below.Principle 4: Sound Process – Service Providers should define, implement and audit documented sound processes that are designed to preserve legal defensibility.Principle 5: Security and Confidentiality – Service Providers should establish and implement procedures to secure and maintain confidentiality of all Client ESI, communications and other information.eDiscoveryJournal Contributor – Jason Velasco

0 0 votes
Article Rating