If you have not caught Tom O’Connor and Rachi Messing’s ongoing interviews with old school eDiscovery personalities, you should. Their interviews include Duane Lites of Jackson Walker, Ian Campbell of iCONECT, Gene Eames of Pfizer, Chris Dale of the eDisclosure Information Project and many more talented peers. Because there was no ‘eDiscovery career’ when many of us started down this path, they like to start with how their guests fell into eDiscovery. My own recent interview got me thinking about how technology innovations and our client’s divergent data sources have always outpaced the rules, tools and expertise of our profession. The flood of webinars, ‘best practice handbooks’, certifications and conference panels can give eDiscovery neophytes the impression that they have entered a well-entrenched profession where we have seen it all. While we have always had clear legal principles to guide us, there is more constant adaptation and situational interpretation than most practitioners wish to admit.
You have heard me say ‘trust but verify’ pretty much every time I have found another gap or potential exception in commonly used platforms or tools. Any sufficiently large or diverse collection of ESI will have exceptions, corruptions or other oddities that may escape your search criteria, clustering or tools. I learned this the hard way in the early days of criminal subpoenas for corporate email. That story might even be in my interview. What is important to me is that new eDiscovery peers do not take technology or ESI integrity for granted. They can apply quality practices and legal principals to identify issues, translate them for counsel and develop way to work around them.
eDiscovery is part of an adversarial legal system. That fact makes transparency and collaboration challenging. Once upon a time there was a single Yahoo LitSupport message group run by Duane Lites for our entire US profession. We would post open requests to debug bad DII load files, convert weird PDF production formats and generally help each other figure out what to do with corrupt PST files. I hope that our profession will continue to evolve. That the same collaboration platforms bedeviling our collections will someday enable more open communication and community support.
Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.
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