E-discovery conference: 21st century litigators must tell winning story

Published: March 24th, 2014

Category: News


Jason Pill of Phelps Dunbar participated in a panel as part of the 2014 EDRM E-Discovery Conference March 14. (Photo by Kelly Logan)

By Andrew Steadman (2L)

Veteran litigators and software company executives descended on the Levin College of Law with a message of adapting to changing times with electronic discovery.

On March 14 the 2014 University of Florida EDRM E-Discovery Conference brought professionals and industry experts together in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center where the future of digital data-discovery requests was on full display. William Hamilton, the E-Discovery Project executive director, said the conference was a success in terms of physical attendance and those who watched live streams of the event.

“The conference’s clear message is that 21st century litigators must still tell the winning story,” Hamilton said. “But we now have all kinds of data that gives us an enriched picture by using powerful-yet-readily-accessible e-discovery software tools.”

Each panel featured e-discovery experts demonstrating various specialized software, all of which is designed to meet the needs of clients who must respond to increasingly complex e-discovery requests.

E-discovery is largely concerned with complying with discovery requests that can often encompass millions of digital files stored on hard drives and servers. The issues are far often more complex than simply drag-and-drop transfers, since moving the files in any way can result in unwanted changes to the meta-data.

“E-discovery is now more like a reverse spam filter plus the data filter you see, for example, on Amazon, iTunes, and Pandora,” Hamilton said.

The dangers inherent in the process of e-discovery range from missing crucial files to skyrocketing costs resulting from unfocused search methods. Jason Pill of Phelps Dunbar participated in the panel entitled “Targeted Collections: Get What You Need to Find the Story.” He said the approach to a targeted collection for a discovery request must be carefully tailored to the request.

“It’s not like plugging information into Google,” Pill said.

Hamilton said litigators need not get bogged down in the intricacies of e-discovery, since the newest software gives lawyers powerful tools for corralling the essential information in a case.

“The storytelling skills of the litigator are still in play,” Hamilton said. “All that has changed is the how the information format has changed and the exciting tools we can use to let big and small data tell the winning story.”