I was disappointed to miss this year’s ILTA conference but was lucky enough to attend a post mortem at yesterday’s San Diego Women in eDiscovery meeting. There, Saeid Ahmadian of Luce Forward provided a summary of the programs he attended.
One session focused on issues facing corporate IT. Their message: They have no one to talk to inside the law firms. In-house counsel talk to their internal teams. Outside counsel talk to their teams. But the folks who handle the data directly don’t talk to each other. And it’s causing problems.
DLA Piper’s Browning Marean , who spoke at ILTA on the topic of defensible e-discovery strategies, refers to this as the “Geek to Geek dance.” (That is with a capital G out of respect to those who talk in zeros and ones).
Saeid pointed to all the positive changes that are happening as corporations get smarter about their data. They are bringing more technology in house. They are hiring more IT. These are good things. “The less time we have to deal with client data, the more time we have to focus on legal issues.”
That said, he noted, both lawyers and their clients need to rethink the way they communicate with each other and bring in the data experts to have conversations with each other.
He is right. The real hurdles that need to be overcome are human. Lawyers who try to translate complex information about data to each other are playing a dangerous game of telephone. Depending on the attorneys involved, they understand most, some or none of the conversation. Even in the best scenario, a lot gets lost in translation.
The Geeks need to be talking to each other directly.
This needs to happen at the onset of every case. Better yet, the Geeks, or at least the chief Geek, should be integrated into the broader client development strategy. Set up a lunch or a meet and greet for the litigation support groups so they can learn from each other in advance of the next big piece of litigation.
Translated: Let your Geek talk to your client’s Geek.