Released June 2009
eDiscovery Plain and Simple
a "plain english" crash course
We communicate, collaborate, and socialize on a local and global basis more than ever and corporate America generates massive quantities of electronic information. These advances in communications technologies have changed the way companies transact business and the way litigation is conducted. Litigation no longer involves several boxes full of documents; it involves several rooms full of documents.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure changed in December 2006 to reflect the unique challenges presented by electronic communications. Among other revisions, parties to litigation exchange information about their computer systems and electronically stored information and do so in a way that is both transparent and persuasive. As any attorney delving into electronic discovery will quickly realize, being a litigation attorney today really requires learning an entirely new language. In the midst of litigation, practitioners, often accustomed to dealing only with paper documents, have to learn that new language quickly.
Yet, the stakes have never been higher. The landmark decision of Zubulake v. UBS Warburg started what has become an almost regular occurrence - - sanctions, sometimes severe, for failing to preserve relevant electronically stored information. Even an inadvertent failure to keep such data could end the litigation.
There are many publications, some of which have been written by these authors, discussing this evolving area of the law. E-Discovery Plain and Simple is the only book that explains - -through the most basic terminology and visuals -- how computers, servers and peripherals operate and store data in a way that is designed for attorneys with little, if any, technical background. Our book offers strategies and practical suggestions to make discovery reasonable and cost efficient for all parties. In short, we offer a “plain English crash course” in Information Technology so that legal principles can be applied to the day-to-day business needs of clients.
E-Discovery Plain and Simple discusses Information Technology through the different viewpoints of two international experts in this field. Allison Brecher was one of the first corporate attorneys in the United States to manage electronic discovery. As the Director of Information Management and Strategy at Marsh & McLennan Companies, a publicly traded Fortune 200 company, Ms. Brecher manages all electronic discovery for litigation and other matters involving MMC’s more than 50,000 employees in over 100 countries. Shawnna Childress, an Associate Director of Navigant Consulting, brings nearly two decades of expertise in Information Technology and Information Management as a consultant to numerous companies. Ms. Childress is also the Co-founder of Women in eDiscovery, a global network of female attorneys, consultants, and technology professionals with more than 4,000 members in more than 25 chapters worldwide.
Ms. Brecher and Ms. Childress were also selected to membership on the Advisory Board of the Georgetown University Law Center E-Discovery Institute, a leading academic organization devoted to continuing legal education and policymaking in electronic discovery.
Exerpt from Preface by
The Perspective from In-House
...As any attorney tasked with handling electronic discovery quickly realizes, learning the case law is not enough. Successful and cost-effective implementation of electronic discovery requires an understanding of the kinds of electronically stored information an organization generates; where and how the organization stores that information; and how, when, and by whom it is discarded. I mistakenly assumed that some sort of "Cliffs Notes" for lawyers about information technology existed. I needed a quick, clear guide to computers that was designed for lawyers who may not even know what a backup tape looks like...
This is why we wrote eDiscovery Plain and Simple, a "plain english" crash course.
Allison and Shawnna approach eDiscovery from a fresh, new perspective – one geared towards inhouse counsel – that is two parts law and one part technology. “eDiscovery Plain & Simple” guarantees you’ll know more about computers than you thought imaginable and is a must-read for inhouse counsel and those of us who assist them.
-FERNANDO M. PINGUELO, trial lawyer, eDiscovery law professor, and creator of eLessonsLearnedBlog.com, the educational blog about eDiscovery best practices.
- ...For the past decade I have consulted on electronic discovery matters and have seen the most confident, top-notch lawyers completely confused when it comes to discussing backup tapes, server structures, computers, and many prevalent items relating to technology. The main issue has been a lack of experience with computer basics. This book provides the tools necessary to understand everything about computers and technology that previously overwhelmed you. Knowledge is power and with power comes confidence. I trust that by the end of this book you will have a much clearer understanding of electronic discovery and the technology that creates the process so that you can better represent your firm or your corporate cients ....
Exerpt from Preface by
The Perspective from an eDiscovery Consultant