Australia now has a definitive role in the training of international eDiscovery experts, and in the possible development of global guidelines, following last week's announcement that Nuix CEO Eddie Sheehy has been appointed to the Organisation of Legal Professionals' (OLP) Board of Governors.
Sheehy, who heads up the Australian eDiscovery and electronic investigation software provider, will join a number of leading eDiscovery experts from law firms, software providers, and bar associations across the globe on the board.
Developed last year, the OLP has a number of key objectives including driving best practice around key legal disciplines such as eDiscovery and trial support, while also driving education and providing practicing certification courses for individuals involved in complex litigation support.
Sheehy told Lawyers Weekly that while the board is still in its early conception stage - having just been launched in September - the group has already had a series of conversations on just how it should run, as well as its key philosophies and objectives.
"One is to help people facilitate the practice of eDiscovery in a sound and reputable manner, the other part is that is tries to hold software vendors accountable for dong what they say they should doing," he said.
He added that in the short-term, the board intends to develop a curricular that eDiscovery practitioners can follow, as well as an examination program that can allow such practitioners to be accredited.
"We have to start bringing base levels of knowledge to these practitioners. Otherwise you will have a person who runs a computer store thinking they can do eDiscovery," he said.
"Electronic discovery is incredibly complex. People tend to underestimate it and as such, they go into it without any training, or without any understanding on what the pitfalls are."
While Sheehy agrees that global guidelines and procedures for eDiscovery would be a nice ambition for the board to target, it's realistically more productive for them to focus on education and certification procedures. "It would be great if electronic discovery was the same in every jurisdiction. But it's unlike to be for a long time."
Other board members include Browning Marean from DLA Piper, Peter del Valle of Seyfarth Shaw, Ron Friedmann from Integreon, Anne Kershaw and Joe Thorpe from International Litigation Services, The Hon. Mark Cavanagh from the Michigan Court of Appeals, Linda Klein, former president of the Georgia State Bar Association, and Karen Willenken from Skadden Arps.