IT and the Law

FloridaLawFirm.com is an information resource by attorney Ralph Losey to help bridge the knowledge gap between the disciplines of Law and IT. Only when the legal profession and information technology professionals work together can the challenges of electronic discovery be met. For detailed information, including copies of case law and the latest developments, please see the e-Discovery Team blog. Also try the custom search below that is targeted to e-discovery related websites.

Electronic Discovery

Computers and other technologies dominate the world as we know it today. This is not a passing fad; it is a new culture.  An information and technology age is rapidly replacing the old ways in every field, including the law. We are all flooded in a tidal wave of excess information. Most lawyers are only trained in the law and paper chases. They have a poor understanding of the technicalities required to find the needles in today's vast system of computer haystacks. Because of this, the largest corporations in the country, and the top law firms that represent them, have all made huge embarrassing errors. One has only to think of the Zubulake, Colemen v. Morgan Stanley and Qualcomm cases.

The problem of e-discovery reached such epidemic proportions that on December 1, 2006, the Supreme Court promulgated new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to address these issues. The new rules require lawyers to quickly understand their client's IT systems, and then discover, preserve, search and produce the relevant digital evidence. This means lawyers must communicate clearly and work effectively with their client's IT professionals and other IT experts.

But lawyers have not been trained to do that. They do not understand enough about information science and technology to communicate effectively with IT professionals, much less work together with them. Conversely, most IT professionals have only a vague and often misinformed understanding of the law. When the two fields talk to each other they often fail to communicate and come off like a bad version of Abbot and Costello's Who's on First. Worse, in many instances there is a not-so-funny a lack of respect on both sides. Schools in both Law and IT have failed to address the problem. ForidaLawFirm.com is designed as an information resource to help bridge this gap.

Due to this knowledge gap, the new rules have not corrected the problem as intended. Instead, thousands of attorneys in countless lawsuits around the country are now in violation of these rules. The failure of communication and understanding between IT and the Law prevents most lawyers from discovering the electronic evidence hidden in their client's computer systems. The disconnect continues to cause colossal mistakes, delays, expenses, accidental spoliation, sanctions, and even defaults. Moreover, all too often settlements today of law suits are driven not by the facts and merits of a case, but by the high costs and uncertainties of e-discovery incompetence.

FloridaLawFirm.com is dedicated to raising the standards of professionalism in e-discovery by bridging the gap between Law and IT. I believe that lawyers and techs must understand and respect each other, and that this requires study and hard work by everyone. Only in this way can we work together as an effective e-discovery team to overcome the challenges of the information explosion and attain justice in a digital age. In the website, and the linked sites, both lawyers and techs alike will find the information they need to help attain this goal.

At the bottom of each page I share a You Tube video that somehow complements the content, frequently in an off-beat, sometimes funny manner.

Ralph Losey

 


 

Below is a series of the most hilarious videos on e-discovery and IT that I know of, all starring John Cleese, and all brought to you by Iron Mountain. It includes the famous examination of the IT director, Mr. Wiggles, as he explains how so many emails were lost. You will want to go to the YouTube link and watch them all.

 

 

 

Below is another video with John Cleese playing a scientist at the so-called Institute of Backup Trauma. Again, this is a commercial sponsored by LiveVault, an alternative to backup tapes, which played such a prominent role in many of the early e-disovery cases. See if you can remember which popular movie from the late 1960s this video parodies. Hint - it has the word Orange in it.

 

 

Can't get enough of John Cleese? Here is another long video from the Institute of Backup Trauma.

 

 

 

And now for someting completely different, watch this Warriors of the Net video.