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Are you competent in the discovery of electronically stored information?

Are you competent in the discovery of electronically stored information?

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THE STATE Bar of California Standing Committee recently re-released its formal opinion on the ethical duties of competency focused on new technologies. The stance taken was that a competent lawyer must have "at a minimum, a basic understanding of, and facility with, issues relating to e-discovery, including the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI)"

It’s time to understand what is currently expected in e-Discovery in Australasia and, more importantly, the new technologies just around the corner. The first area in which a number of Australasian lawyers show complacency and potentially cause their clients unnecessary cost is the Electronic exchange Protocol (EEP). When confronted with agreeing on an EEP, many lawyers implement the precedent in Practice Note CM6 with little amendment. Even worse, some lawyers blindly accept the suggested EEP from another party because they have prior experience in this area.

How does this increase costs for a client? Take a large construction matter as an example. The architectural party involved is likely to have architectural drawings or plans from proprietary software. If the EEP calls for exchange of these documents in “native” format you will not be able to review these documents without either the software or by engaging a third party provider to convert these documents into a reviewable format. Clients are also becoming more tech savvy and it may cause an embarrassing situation when your client questions the cost incurred for a large print job when they provided data that should have been reviewed electronically. As the Californian opinion highlights, a lawyer has an obligation to their client to use technology appropriately where it will create time or cost savings for the client.

After all, there is a wealth of technology designed to assist the legal profession, not replace them. Lawyers can help their clients by spending more time on evolving and refining the law, rather than wading through thousands of irrelevant documents. The use of technology is proven to provide consistently accurate results for the more mundane tasks during discovery.  

For more information on Law In Order’s e-Discovery Services, please visit www.lawinorder.com.au or call 1300 004 667.

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