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July 18, 2012

Beware of Parrot Experts

Parrot_ralph2When shopping for an e-discovery vendor, always ask to interview their experts, the ones who will actually be assigned to your case. You should do so for any significant purchase, but especially for review software or a large search and review project. That should be part of your standard due diligence. 

Ask the vendor questions now, while their meter isn't running, and while there is still a chance to select another vendor. The same can, of course, be said of a client selecting a law firm. Can you understand what the alleged expert is saying?  Does what he or she says make sense? If not, it might not be your fault. You might not be not talking to a real person at all. You might talking to a parrot. They might look good, and sound good, but all they can do is memorize and mouth the words of others. They do not have any real understanding of their own. That is just the way parrots are. When push comes to shove, they will not be of much help.

Continue reading "Beware of Parrot Experts" »

June 27, 2012

FJC Pocket Judge Update

Fjc_logo128The Federal Judicial Center -- the research and education agency of the federal judicial system -- has published the second edition of its influential booklet, Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges, by Barbara Rothstein, Ronald Hedges, and Elizabeth Wiggins. The 48-page publication updates the previous 2007 edition, and can be downloaded free from the center's website. It covers a range of topics, from explaining the difference between conventional paper discovery and electronically stored information, to providing tips on a judge's role. The booklet also includes a five-page glossary, mostly derived (with permission) from The Sedona Conference Glossary: E-Discovery & Digital Information Management (3d ed. 2010).

While reaction has been largely positive, there are some rumblings of discontent about the new publication. Read the full story here.

What do you think about the update?

Image: Federal Judicial Center.

June 19, 2012

Keystroke Analysis Could Replace Passwords

KeyboardThe way you type on your computer's keyboard is as unique as your handwriting, and may even be a matter of national security, an Iowa State University engineering professor says.

In the land of digital investigations, investigators and data collectors may find, in the not too distant future, the need for a custodian to stand by to enter their password for system access.

Thanks to a $500,000 research grant from the U.S. Defense Department, they're looking for better ways than hacker-prone passwords to protect its systems, and are betting that ISU Professor Morris Chang is right. Chang, recently quoted in USA Today, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, said we all take unique pauses between keystrokes, especially when typing complicated words.  "When you spell a particular word, you may have a tendency to pause at a certain character," Chang said. "Your pause would be different than mine."

Continue reading "Keystroke Analysis Could Replace Passwords" »

June 11, 2012

End-to-End E-Discovery for Small Firms? Pick Your Battles

Digital_warroom_400Recommind's Axcelerate and kCura's Relativity -- most recently picked up by H5 -- may offer end-to-end e-discovery platforms, but will they fit comfortably within the budget of a small to midsize firm? A solo?

Attorney Brett Burney reviews Gallivan, Gallivan & O'Melia's Digital WarRoom, a software GGO claims follows its mantra "e-discovery for everyone." In addition to its greater affordability, in Burney's opinion, "DWR seems to have adopted the best two or three features offered by leading e-discovery software makers such as Clearwell and kCura Relativity and packaged them all together in one functional, integrated platform."

Read the full article on LTN online.

Image courtesy of Gallivan, Gallivan & O'Melia

February 27, 2012

From A to Zeta

Letter aExterro adds more credibility to its claim that its Fusion platform provides end-to-end e-discovery with its Zeta product, which focuses on corporate legal departments, argues Jason Krause in his review, "Exterro E-Discovery From A to Zeta."

Zeta provides an early case assessment tool that includes multiple data scanning tools — Quick Scan and DeepScan — that query multiple data repositories. It can also preserve, cull, collect, analyze, and report on electronically stored information, as well as conduct a first-pass review. Letter_z

One standout feature is its Matter 360 Dashboard, which provides a detailed picture of a corporation's e-discovery efforts from ECA through first-pass to production, writes Krause.


Images by

February 03, 2012

Hitting the 'Like' Button for X1 Social Discovery

X1_discovery_logo400With Facebook membership passing 800 billion and Twitter at more than 300 million users, that's a lot of data to rummage through. Small wonder that social media discovery is an emerging area of interest for e-discovery practitioners and providers.

Enter X1 Discovery with its flagship product X1 Social Discovery, which was on display at the exhibit hall at LegalTech New York a few months after its October launch.

As John Waters writes, the software was "designed specifically to collect, index, search, and preview social media content generated by the three most popular systems: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn." Among its vaunted features are its ability to preserve chain of custody with social network content and to capture and preserve its metadata.

Waters takes the product for a test drive in his article for LTN, "X1 Social Discovery Collects Data in Social Networks."

Image courtesy of X1 Discovery

January 26, 2012

New E-Discovery Software Heads to LegalTech

LTNY_logoVisitors to LegalTech New York's vendor floor can check out eagerly anticipated e-discovery releases.

AccessData is adding an early case assessment module to its Summation product, while Clearwell promises a more tranparent predictive coding. Other e-discovery players bringing out their wares include BIA, debuting social media collection for its, and bit-level litigation hold from Index Engines.

Check out the whole story, "E-Discovery Software Leads the Charge to LegalTech New York," from LTN reporter Evan Koblentz.

January 03, 2012

Happy New Year!

NewyearShakin' off the holidays, back at work! As we gear up, just a quick reminder that if you are a vendor planning to launch a new product or upgrade at LegalTech New York, be sure to reach out to Evan Koblentz ( today — as we are in the final stages of preparing our "sneak preview" for Law Technology News magazine (it will be distributed at LTNY).

And watch this space, I'll soon be announcing the winners of the 2011 LTN Innovation Awards!

Hope you had a refreshing vacation. Happy New Year!


December 08, 2011

Vendors: Early Bird Alert

As the holidays approach, our ALM team is already preparing for LegalTech New York (Jan. 30-Feb. 1, Hilton New York). The countdown is clock ticking away,  the LegalTech mobile app is available on Apple's App Store, and exhibitors are putting the finishing touches on the new products and services they will unveil at the show.

BirdBut as we all know, the showfloor competition is fierce for your attention, so Law Technology News wants to help you navigate the three floors of exhibits. So we'll will offer sneak previews of the most interesting, innovative, and important product launches and upgrades, on our website and our blogs (here on EDD Update, on LTN Products, and The Common Scold). And we'll have a preview article in the February edition of our print magazine, which will be available at the show to serve as your compass!

So vendors, don't dally! If you will introduce a new service, product, or upgrade at the show be sure to contact our reporter, Evan Koblentz, no later than Tuesday, Jan. 3 to make the print deadline. Send press releases to, or contact Evan at 212-457-9601 — and be sure to include your booth number.

P.S. While most of you want to get the word out early about your launches and upgrades, we know from past experience that some of you will be tweaking products right down to the wire and may want to defer even the hint of an unveiling until Day One of the show. If you fall into that category, we'll be happy to negotiate an embargo. That way you won't miss the opportunity to get into the print edition. But remember, our space is very limited, and not every product will be mentioned — so early birds may well get the proverbial worms.


December 02, 2011

Compare & Contrast: Self Collection Tools

CcIn the second of two "Compare & Contrast" columns in Law Technology News magazine, about self-collection tools, Sean Doherty reviews five web-based offerings.

Read the story here.

See the chart here.

Image credit:

May 17, 2011

Leadership, One Meal at a Time

Los Angeles — Like a white-hot Hollywood agent, David Cowen, head of The Cowen Group, knows how to orchestrate a good dinner party. There is an art to such events -- to really take off, they need the right food, the right lighting, the right service (attentive but unobtrusive, an almost impossible combination), the right table, the right music (or lack thereof), the right alcohol, and of course, most importantly --  the right number and combination of people, strategically seated (too many and no one can really hear, too few and it gets boring fast).

Cowen does a series of breakfasts and "Signature Dinners" across the country, as he builds his headhuntinWineg and management consultancy. Last night's dinner was held at Drago Centro, and sponsored by Clearwell Systems. The off-the-record conversation dove right into some of the difficult dilemmas faced by law firms and general counsel as everybody tries to cope with e-discovery and compliance demands.

Cowen always makes sure the invitation list assures some polite conflict, which makes the discussion valuable to all. Last night's guest list included both BigLaw and BigCorp folks, including Ron Best, director of legal information services at Munger Tolles; Eric Lieber, director of legal technology at Toyota; Isis Miranda, records and e-discovery manager at Farmers Insurance; George Schroeder, director of risk management at Cedars-Sinai Medical; Bowe Kurowski, practice support project coordinator at Proskauer Rose; and associate GC Gary Sedlik of Toshiba, among others.

Continue reading "Leadership, One Meal at a Time " »

April 26, 2011

Riding the Waves of Early Case Assessment

Can you really conduct early case assessment or the notion is simply a fancy indexing and culling model?  What exactly is “early case assessment” (ECA)? 

While working on a project for one of my corporate clients I had to delve deeper into this question and reached out to a few of my old industry friends and colleagues — Gyorgy Pados of Capital Legal; Richard Cohen, of Renew Data, Rick Lutkus and Lori Chavez of Seyfarth Shaw, Michelle Mahoney of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, and Jonathan Maas of Ernst & Young — to gain a better perspective on the widely debated phenomenon.

Earlybird As the novelty of the ECA concept starts to wear off and more and more practical evaluation and understandings are abound it’s perhaps time to reflect on what is the positioning of ECA on the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) framework. Is it matured yet to be used in the right way and embraced?  What capabilities are properly framed “ECA”?

ECA is used in this context by the legal technology and services industry with varying degrees of muddied waters. Both in the technology and services paradigm ECA could refer to appliance, software or software as a service to quickly collect-index, de-duplicate and search electronically stored information (ESI) to provide fast up-time analysis of its content. The concept is a platform or service to facilitate a quick fly-over of the ESI collection of the matter at hand to gather key reports of data make up, information and communication histograms patterns, concepts and themes, keyword analysis and evaluations. Most of the ECA offerings provide dynamic probing and data evaluation facilities to arrive to the relevant ESI at scope very much akin to the traditional fact finding early case evaluation approach for the strength and weaknesses of the case.  However, is this the right way to even define ECA, or should it mean something different, such as analytic capabilities prior to collection or indexing of data?

Read more on the Law Technology News website here.


October 08, 2010

And Did I Mention It Was FREE? - FTK Imager 3.0

I'm incessantly flogging the notion that lawyers need to get back in touch with the evidence.  By that I mean, lawyers need ways to get a jump on the cost, delay and anxiety that characterizes e-discovery circa 2010 and secure quick, non-destructive access to the electronic evidence that will drive the direction and outcome of the dispute.  This is what that awful marketing buzz phrase "early case assessment" would mean, if it meant anything at all.

If lawyers could just take a quick look at some of the relevant stuff that key players hold; you know, sit down with correspondence and documents like we did in the old days--browse, as it were--then lawyers could start asking the right questions from the start.  And asking the right questions is a trial lawyer's most important contribution.

So, when a tool surfaces that helps lawyers get back in touch with the evidence, I look at it.  When it's free and fairly easy to use, I jump up and down waving my arms madly for all to see.  I'm in that latter mode for the latest release of AccessData's FTK Imager Ver. 3.0, available here.

Continue reading "And Did I Mention It Was FREE? - FTK Imager 3.0" »

July 11, 2010

Cirago CDD2000 USB 3 Hard Drive Docking Station

Cirago drive dock I'd replied, "Thank you for the offer of a review unit.  I would happily accept, except none of my systems have USB 3.0 ports, so I'd be unable to test the product effectively."  Imagine my surprise when the UPS guy delivered a Cirago CDD2000 USB 3.0 Hard Drive Docking Station.

You'd think getting "free" stuff is a perk for a technology writer, and occasionally it is.  The MacBook Pro and iPod program that Ross Kodner arranged for a lucky group of forensic technologists five or six years ago remains unequalled.  Still, most of what people send for review is software, and much of that is--forgive the technical jargon--total crap.  Hardware is a welcome change, but testing hardware demands that I buy cards, cables or media the costs of which can outstrip the value of the product under test.  Then, if the hardware is something of substantial value, I have to return it to avoid the appearance of impropriety.  Vertu, Tesla: don't let that stop you. ;-)

Thus, I made my weekly trek to Fry's to spend $150.00 to test a $49.99 (suggested retail) device.

Continue reading "Cirago CDD2000 USB 3 Hard Drive Docking Station" »

July 07, 2010

Product Review: Wiebetech USB WriteBlocker

Weibetech USB WB I've lost count of how often I've brayed, "Lawyers have lost touch with the evidence."  We've lost our ability to dive right into the data when a new client comes in--at least if the client brings a hard drive or thumb drive.  No lawyer with half a brain plugs electronic evidence into his or her own computer and pokes around because, by now, most lawyers know about metadata, and appreciate that they can alter evidence simply by browsing it.  Can you say "spoliation?"  I knew you could.

But the alternative is also pretty ugly, being lawyers treating electronic evidence like it's radioactive.  It's sent out to expensive vendors and experts while lawyers wait days or weeks to see what's there.  Wouldn't it be great if lawyers lacking technical prowess could quickly and safely wade into the client's digital files and see what's what?

Continue reading "Product Review: Wiebetech USB WriteBlocker" »

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