Ron Friedmann’s post, “Why Specialists Should Manage E-Discovery,” provides an excellent introduction to and arguments for the use of specialized lawyers dedicated to managing electronic discovery efforts. It also points to Ron’s recent white paper, “4 Ways an eDiscovery Attorney Can Make Your Firm More Successful.” I highly recommend the post and the white paper.
The money quote (from the white paper):

[Fullbright & Jaworski’s Laurie Weiss] notes that the translation between law and technology is key. “E-discovery lives in the space between law and technology,” she said. “And mistakes happen in that vacuum. Our e-discovery and information management practice is working to fill that vacuum.”

When I speak about trends in electronic discovery, I highlight the growing role of litigation support managers in the everyday practical aspects of electronic discovery. The time of the litigation support manger has definitely arrived.
The arrival of eDiscovery attorneys makes great sense to me, but, as Ron notes, we are in the early stages of the development and evolution of this role.
Some have also described a similar or perhaps complimentary notion of “technology counsel.” I say complimentary because I’ve seen technology counsel talked about more in the sense of being part of a corporate law department than in the outside law firm. I’ve been meaning to point to the Technology Counsel blog, another excellent resource from Fios that offers coverage of this area.
Let me quote from a post on the blog on the role of the technology counsel:

Technology Counsel is both an externally facing and internally focused position that requires a strong grasp of the connection between law and technology and its effect on the corporation. This position requires an experienced legal mind as well as a strong technical background. Furthermore, the position necessitates a firm understanding of internal enterprise resources, project management, project lifecycle, and the ability to function as a resource on high-profile and high-exposure investigations, regulatory events and litigation.
Internally, the Technology Counsel (or its designate) will provide guidance on current legal trends and requirements, as well as offer legal assistance on corporate technical processes and procedures as they relate to the application of law, particularly electronic discovery processes, and the application of technology, such as content management systems, email archiving systems, VOIP systems and the like.

The first post on the Technology Counsel blog gave some more details on the technology counsel role and who might fill it:

Do you fluently translate between legal and technology? If you answered yes, you may very well be a technology counsel. Corporations nationwide are searching high and low to find these remarkable (only because I am one too) individuals to lead the charge. If you are a technology counsel, a lot of responsibility falls on your shoulders and you are soon going to be a very popular person. If you are searching for a technology counsel, look closely and carefully. These people are becoming more popular than a water fountain in the Sahara.

As an aside, I must admit that when I read descriptions of technology counsels and eDiscovery attorneys I do get an eerie feeling that the descriptions are of, well, me. However, I’ve generally seen the arrival of these types of positions to be a ways down the read, in part because the adoption of electronic discovery has been so slow (see “The New Federal Rules on eDiscovery: The First 180 Days” for details).
With Ron’s post and the presence of the Technology Counsel blog, I now am feeling that the arrival of these types of roles in which a premium is placed on being able to understand, work, and be comfortable in the intersection of law and technology is closer that I had been thinking. It’s an EDD trend to watch, and I recommend Ron’s white paper as a great starting point to begin your thinking about this trend. I’ll be doing a presentation in October on e-discovery trends and technology counsels will definitely find a place on one of the slides.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Read the blog posts and RSS feed items I find most interesting on my new linkblog or subscribe to its RSS feed.
Technorati tags: <