In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview ESI preservation expert James Kurz about how Rule 37(e) works and what the consequences are for the future of ESI preservation. Kurz explains that the rule, which only deals with ESI, proposes a three part test before considering spoliation issues: the ESI should have been preserved in the anticipation or conduct of litigation and is lost, the ESI was lost because the party failed to take reasonable steps to preserve the information, and the missing information cannot be restored or replaced with additional discovery. If this test is passed, the federal court may then impose remedies, or if intention is proved, order more serious sanctions. He explains that Rule 37(e) will make a more homogenous legal process for e-discovery, and will solve some of the controversy surrounding the costs of ESI preservation and e-discovery for businesses. Although the rule faces the Judicial Court, Supreme Court, and then Congress, Kurz believes it will go through and be effective in December 2015.
Hosted by two leaders in the cybersecurity and digital forensics industries, Sharon D. Nelson, Esq. and John W. Simek, Digital Detectives is for listeners who are interested in digital forensics, e-discovery, and information security issues. Nelson and Simek invite digital forensic and computer security experts to enlighten listeners on the latest e-discovery technology, cyber threats and security policies and measure to keep data secure.
The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology, hosted by attorneys Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway, provides listeners with tips and tools for career success, as well as cutting-edge technology news. Nelson and Calloway invite noted authors, speakers, and legal technologists to discuss topics at the intersection of law and technology.
Wearable technology like the smartwatch is the next in a long line of new technological advancements that are embraced by some, but viewed skeptically by most lawyers. Judges already discourage smart phones in court and many clients worry about a decrease in information security. But if used properly, a smartwatch can actually increase the productivity, availability, and even safety of any lawyer’s practice with fewer disruptions. What are the best practices for using wearable technology to benefit your practice?
In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview legal technology expert Richard Georges about wearable technology, how smartwatches enhances his ability to be productive, and what lawyers need to consider when adopting this new technology. Having a smartwatch, Georges explains, actually decreases court disruptions and car distractions while making him accessible to clients at all times. Most of the issues concerning data security are due to human error rather than technology. As long as lawyers learn how to properly embrace wearable technology, he says, it can improve any practice from big law to a solo firm. The risks are not greater, they are simply different.
Despite all the attention that e-discovery has received over the last decade, it is still a relatively new part of the litigation process. For those lawyers who were never exposed to e-discovery in law school or their formative years, the systems and products involving data collection and analysis can be overwhelming and complex. How much do lawyers need to know about information governance, data collection, data analysis, managed document review, and electronically stored information (ESI)? Alternately, for those data collection practitioners who are already intricately involved in the culling and analysis, how is the technology and process changing?
In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview e-discovery solutions expert Aaron Lawlor about what is involved with ESI and data collection, current trends in data analysis, and future advances in technology and process. Lawlor urges every litigator to become experienced with the state and federal rules involving e-discovery in order to better serve their clients. He explains the process of research and documentation of key players in the case, and then collecting, analyzing, and refining any relevant information before presenting to the counsel. In order to facilitate this process, lawyers and data collectors narrow the data set early by a process of visualizing connections and communication mapping. It is important, Lawlor says, for every lawyer to become familiar with e-discovery and data collection, since it is an increasingly important source of information.
Every law firm can run into incidents of employee misconduct, data breaches, and intellectual property theft. In the age of modern technology, data breaches, insider trading, and other security problems require extensive technological forensics. Partners and firm owners, as well as lawyers working within the firm, need to understand why a digital investigation is needed, what steps should be taken within an investigation, and who should be involved. Having this knowledge can save the firm thousands of dollars while uncovering the truth.
In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview ediscovery and compliance attorney Patrick Oot about how attorneys should be prepared on technology issues when they start to investigate criminal and civil matters. Everyone leaves technology footprints, Oot explains. Whether dealing with an internal investigation or with client data, the most important asset is unbiased, comprehensive, and well documented research. When hiring a digital investigator, the firm should always find an outside expert who is experienced with data breaches, understands how data moves through the system, and can manage proper narrative to the regulators. Properly conducting a digital investigation can make the difference in the credibility and success of a law firm.
When a law firm breaks up or a lawyer leaves to start a new practice, there are always clients, contingency arrangements, and hourly cases to split up. It is important to know what ethical steps a lawyer or law firm should take when parting ways. If the firm splits up, who has the rights to the name, brand, clients, or even client files? How can both parties ethically allocate unfinished business, accounts receivable, or unsettled contingency prearrangements? An ethical and professional split is inevitably beneficial for the future of the law firm and the lawyer.
On this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon D. Nelson and Jim Calloway ask legal ethics expert Tom Spahn about the proper way to professionally deal with the various situations that arise when a law firm splits up. He explains that lawyers and their firms should remain civil and open to negotiation before the lawyer has left. Firms have run into trouble while trying to penalize leaving employees on an individual basis. He discusses the ethically proper way to deal with unfinished business doctrines, document retention programs, and fiduciary duties to clients. Due to technology, there are new issues to consider including digital files or property ownership of domain names. Overall, however, Spahn emphasizes that every partner has a continuing duty to make sure every client is adequately served.
All lawyers have an ethical obligation to employ security measures when sharing information and data with their clients. Whether that means encrypting all important emails or properly researching cloud based file-sharing services like Dropbox, it is incumbent on lawyers to understand the levels of security available. LexisNexis recently did a survey on what tools lawyers and legal professionals are using to protect their clients’ privileged information. 77% of the lawyers surveyed did not have adequate security for their confidential client data. How important is encryption and what can lawyers do to change the way they share data?
On this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview Bob Ambrogi, a lawyer and journalist who recently wrote about the LexisNexis survey. They ask him about the implications of the survey, what security measures lawyers should be taking, how frequently clients are hurt by lack of security, and why lawyers are generally resistant to learning about data encryption. Ambrogi explains that an overall lack of information, ignored ethics rulings, lack of time, and assumed difficulty are the reasons lawyers often refuse to learn how to safely share data. He encourages lawyers, especially the ones in small or solo firms, to seek out a consultant to learn about the relatively easy encryption tools and techniques. After all, no lawyer wants to be a part of the 77%.
Many attorneys now use PowerPoint in trial to preview, highlight, and sum up the evidence for their arguments and organize their presentations. Effective PowerPoints garner the attention of court personnel and jury members and enhance their overall presentation. However, ineffective PowerPoints can be confusing, difficult to read, or distract the audience from the presentation’s overall objective. Attorney and legal technology consultant Paul Unger argues that only with the proper skills and learning can a lawyer create an informative and engaging PowerPoint presentation that will be a useful tool in the courtroom.
In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview Unger about the best practices in using PowerPoint in the courtroom. Unger emphasizes simplicity, professionalism, and making PowerPoint a tool that reinforces the content rather than providing it. According to research Unger has done, audiences who are distracted by bullet points and excess text are unlikely to remember much of the slide’s content or even the presenting lawyer’s main point. He recommends that the PowerPoint slides provide only headlines and pictures that are held together by the attorney’s narrative.
On February 12th of 2008, the FBI announced that it had hired Lockheed Martin to build its Next Generation Identification system (NGI) to deploy multimodal matching to biometric data of US citizens. Today, NGI’s database contains several types of unique identifiers including fingerprints, iris prints, and facial recognition. On this episode of Digital Detectives, hosts Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview Jennifer Lynch from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Together they discuss false identifications, mandatory background checks, and the First Amendment right to be anonymous. Tune in to learn more about EFF’s FOIA request and how the FBI is using the data of the innocent to look for guilty parties.
Jennifer Lynch is a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending civil liberties in the digital world. At EFF, Jennifer works on privacy issues in new technologies such as biometrics, domestic drones, and location tracking devices. She successfully sued the Federal Aviation Administration and Customs and Border Protection to obtain thousands of pages of previously unpublished drone records and has testified about facial recognition and its Fourth Amendment implications before the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.
There are a multitude of technology options to help run small firms and solo practices, but deciding on which ones can be a daunting endeavor. Mac vs. PC, practice management systems, and encryption of client data are among numerous issues attorneys must resolve. On this episode of The Digital Edge, hosts Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview John Simek from Sensei Enterprises. Together, they discuss modern innovations that make running firms easier and keep client data safe. Tune in to learn more about meta data, benefits of paperless, and John’s favorite software tools.
John Simek is the vice president of Sensei Enterprises, a digital forensics, information technology and information security firm located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a co-author of The 2014 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide: Critical Decisions Made Simple, published by the American Bar Association along with many other books on technology, security and electronic evidence. John is a testifying expert and holds many technical certifications. He’s also a co-host on another Legal Talk Network podcast, the Digital Detectives.