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Legal Speaks Latin. IT Speaks Geek. Reducing Risk and Cost through the Common Language of eDiscovery

Following the theme of our flip book “The Technologists guide to eDiscovery Law” and “The Lawyers guide to eDiscovery Technology”, EMC’s CLE Luncheon in Chicago last Thursday aimed to bridge the gap between the two camps of IT and Legal.  Almost five years since the FRCP was amended and there is still appears to be a disconnect.  One of the biggest gripes by IT is that they are told what to do with no explanation as to why.  There is the perception by Legal that IT is not interested nor is there a need to explain the reasoning behind their requests.

The interaction at the luncheon was eye opening to those who held those beliefs.  It quickly became obvious by their presence and their questions that IT professionals are very interested in the workings of an eDiscovery matter and want to know how they can best help. If they know the reasons why certain data is being requested, they can be of great assistance in making sure the preservation and collection is done not only to the letter of the law but also according to its spirit.  This benefits Legal (and the organization as a whole) in a number of ways: less irrelevant data collected, more defensible preservation and collection, less resources engaged, etc.

My co-presenter, Rich Vestuto, Merrill’s V.P. of Client Services, had some amusing anecdotes of legal requests that created massive IT log jams.  A log jam can be a blessing in disguise as it makes both sides finally realize that the status quo is no longer sustainable and that a change is sorely needed.  Some attendees stated that although they would like to be more proactive, it seems as though until some pain is felt by the organization, no changes appeared to be forthcoming. For the lawyers in the room, Rich shared some war stories about issues he encountered as a 30(b)(6) witness and some unfortunate outcomes for those attorneys who were not  prepared for their meet and confer.

In all, simply getting IT and legal together in a room accomplished an immediate goal of some mutual understanding.  The participants left with a sense that the other side is not so different in terms of the pressures they are under and that a little interaction goes a long way when dealing with the intricacies of eDiscovery.

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