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Big Case Boutique Firm

Increasingly lawyers are taking advantage of technology to practice in specialized boutique and smaller firm environments. But the rapidly growing collections of electronically stored information (ESI) presents an increasingly difficult challenge to these lawyers to be able to handle these cases without large firm support. What happens when the firm takes on a document-intensive case that its current review and production methods can’t handle? How can you meet its deadlines, effectively manage the case, and avoid being out-gunned by larger firms?

Key Points

  • Growth of Boutique Law Firms
  • Growth in eDiscovery and the Challenges for Boutique Firms
  • Technology Usage to Support a Boutique Firm
  • Boutique Firm eDiscovery Staffing – In-House vs. Outsourced
  • Technology as an Enabler for Small Firms Handling Complex Cases
  • eDiscovery/Document Management Software by Case Stage
  • Summary/Take-Aways

About the Speaker

Gene Albert is the CEO of Lexbe, and a frequent speaker and writer on litigation technology and eDiscovery topics. He is on the Planning Committee of the Texas State Bar eDiscovery Program. Gene has his JD from Southern Methodist University and his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

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eDiscovery Planning for the Plaintiff Lawyer

Leveraging hold notices, ESI protocols, meet and confer, and other opportunities obtain the evidence needed to successfully build a case. Trial lawyers often represent the primary requesting party for document-complex discovery and litigation. Increasingly, this can overwhelm how they traditionally have reviewed productions and marshalled potential evidence.

Plaintiff lawyers, particularly if operating on a contingency basis, must carefully budget their time investment and client expenditures, while continually revaluing the case potential. Exploding electronically stored information (ESI) collection sizes in modern litigation makes this a difficult balancing act, requiring litigators to thoughtfully plan their document request, create reasonable agreements with opposing counsel and aggressively advocate for their eDiscovery rights.

Craig Ball, a noted authority on eDiscovery and computer forensics, offers practical advice as to how trial lawyers can obtain the evidence they need to successfully build their case and effectively advocate for their clients.

Key Points

  • Responsibilities of the requesting party in setting the eDiscovery agenda
  • Best practices for litigation holds
  • How strategic agreements with opposing counsel can advance effective discovery
  • Dealing with preservation and spoliation issues
  • Preparing for Rule 26 conferences
  • Closing advice and take-aways

About the Speaker

Craig Ball is a Board Certified trial lawyer, certified computer forensic examiner, law professor and electronic evidence expert He’s dedicated his career to teaching the bench and bar about forensic technology and trial tactics. After decades trying lawsuits, Craig limits his practice to service as a court-appointed special master and consultant in computer forensics and e-discovery.

A prolific contributor to educational programs worldwide – having delivered over 1,600 presentations and papers–Craig’s articles on forensic technology and electronic discovery frequently appear in the national media. For nine years, he wrote the award winning column on computer forensics and e-discovery for American Lawyer Media called “Ball in your Court.” Craig Ball has served as the Special Master or testifying expert on computer forensics and electronic discovery in some of the most challenging, front page cases in the U.S.

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A Law Firm’s Guide To Handling Large Document Collection, Review and Production In-House

It is absolutely essential that both the client and counsel understand the landscape the litigation will expose, and this is accomplished by a thorough and thoughtful document review. Clients need such information to make an informed assessment of the potential risks (and rewards) of continued litigation. Counsel requires it to develop strategies to optimally deal with the facts (good and bad) that will ultimately be presented in the case.

There is simply no substitute for carefully developing a proper, compelling and well-presented story on the facts. This webinar will address important legal issues, cost control methods and ensuring eDiscovery technology options and legal project management methodology is utilized fully for your next case so you can succeed.

Key Points

  • Data Growth and the Changing Landscape
  • Preparing your Firm for eDiscovery Projects
  • Assessing the Scope Of Your Project
  • Creating your Collection Plan
  • In-house Review
  • Determining your Best Production Options
  • Key Take-Aways
  • Conclusion

About the Speaker

Phillip Hearn has over 10 years of litigation knowledge managing document heavy litigation in state and federal courts with a solid understanding of law firm practices and business direction as well as advanced familiarity with eDiscovery best practices. He manages the professional services and technical staff at Lexbe and is certified in eDiscovery.

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Judicial Advice on On Meeting your Rule 26(f) Obligations

Our recent webinar, Avoiding Spoliation Sanctions in 2017 Under the New FRCP Amendments, featured the honorable Judge Xavier Rodriguez, a United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas. One of the questions we asked Judge Rodriguez was “Are judicial expectations shifting as to what the parties should accomplish in early case conferences and the scheduling order before discovery commences?” He offered some valuable insight into what best practices he is seeing from the Rule 26(f) meetings and which elements are still missing.

Rule 26(f) obligations have been the source of much confusion and hand-wringing. There are several key agreements which must be met during ‘meet and confer’ sessions early in the case, which at a glance can appear daunting. Proactive approaches to the challenge are best.  With the sheer amount of electronically stored information (ESI) exchanging hands in a complex case today, and the possibility of some ESI to be not preserved, damaged or lost, Rule 26(f) forces us to do the necessary work early in the case, rather than waiting for problems to arise.

We wanted to bring you our key takeaways from the webinar on Rule 26 obligations to keep in mind as you prepare for your next document complex case.

    • Schedule your Rule 26(f) meeting with opposing counsel prior to your Rule 16 meeting with your Judge. By coming prepared to your Rule 16 meeting with agreements in place and disputes ready for the Judge to rule on, you can expedite discovery and dispute resolution.
    • Prior to your 26(f) meeting you should survey the probable ESI in your case.
      1. Interview custodians to determine key players.
      2. Each side should work with their clients to determine what document retention policies are in place, and modify as needed.  For example, are there automatic deletion systems that need to be turned off for preservation?
      3. A best practice is to prepare a “data map” of your ESI prior to your Rule 26(f) meeting.  A data map is an inventory of potentially responsive ESI by custodian, device, location and content.
      4. Put an ESI Agreement or protocol in place. Lexbe provides a sample ESI order/agreement/protocol as a starting point. Download it for free HERE.
    • Goals for the 26(f) meeting are to come away from the conference with the following structure laid out, to the extent possible:
      1. Define the scope of the eDiscovery requirements. Identify dates, custodians and places where data may be kept.
      2. Discuss how ESI will be preserved. Will all devices be imaged, or will there be a directed collection? An important consideration here is to consider what metadata should be preserved and transmitted with production.
      3. Who will handle collection?  Possibilities are an outside vendor, company IT staff and custodial self-collections.  What safeguards will be in place depending on the risks with each methodology.
      4. Identify deduplication and culling methods to reduce reviewable documents and ESI.
      5. Set reasonable deadlines for when data exchanges need to happen.
      6. Parties should agree on how they will receive opposing counsels ESI. (Lexbe and many eDiscovery experts recommend that you ask for produced, non-privileged ESI to include files in native format. We offer a checklist on Requesting Production in Native File Format HERE.
      7. Be reasonable and cooperate. Judges increasingly expect all parties to negotiate in good faith, making reasonable requests and offering reasonable accommodations.
    • Write it out.  A best practice is to recap agreements via written correspondence post-conference. Beyond ensuring that you are on the same page with opposing counsel, a written account gives you a defensible position to follow-up in court if needed.
    • Reach out to your judge for a ruling when you need it. Judges expect that you will cooperate and compromise in good faith, but if you truly find yourself at an impasse with opposing counsel you are better off reaching out to your judge early rather than waiting until the last minute.
    • With a substantive, well planned 26(f) meeting, you will resolve potential discovery issues before they arise.

Avoiding Spoliation in 2017 Under New FRCP Amendments

The recent amendments to the FRCP made some important changes to the law regarding proportionality, eDiscovery spoliation, and sanctions. We now have almost a year’s experience with how federal courts have interpreted and applied these rules.

In this webinar Judge Xavier Rodriguez (United States District Court for the Western District of Texas) will comment on trends and practices from applicable 2016 case law and his experience. Learn some practical tips on meeting judicial expectations generally when addressing collection, preservation, and related sanctions issues. Lexbe CEO Gene Albert will also provide the background and context in this educational overview and update on this important eDiscovery subject.

Key Points

  • 2015 FRCP Amendments Overview on Preservation Sanctions
  • Selected 2016 Preservation Sanctions Case Law Since the Amendments
  • Changes in Sanction Practice and Standards
  • Approaches in Avoiding Sanctions for 2017 and Beyond

About the Speaker

The Honorable Xavier Rodriguez is a former Texas Supreme Court Justice and currently sits on the bench as a US District Judge for the Western District of Texas. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree from the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas Law School. Prior to assuming the bench, he was a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski (now known as Norton Rose Fulbright).

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