Lawyers need capabilities around handling electronic evidence, believes Allison Stanfield, the CEO of e.law, yet such skills are not being adequately taught in law schools.
Stanfield claims that the increasing rise of electronic data relevant to litigation, alongside calls from the courts to better manage information electronically, means that lawyers must have an understanding of how to work with electronic data.
"Lawyers have got to have an understanding of what digital evidence is and how you treat it," said Stanfield. "We've seen cases where parties have given the other side a forensic image of a server and called that a document, when in fact that contains many hundreds of thousands of documents and potentially privileged and other confidential information. You just can't do that."
Although some universities teach electronic evidence skills within their civil procedure courses, Stanfield believes it should be taught as a standalone course at the undergraduate level.
And while Stanfield personally teaches a postgraduate e-litigation course at QUT, she believes lawyers and students should learn such skills much earlier on in their academic and professional careers.
"Law students graduate from law school or even the College of Law without really knowing what tools are available to help their clients save money, manage their documents better and so on," said Stanfield