Jason Atchley : eDiscovery : Special Masters Slash eDiscovery Costs in Pennsylvania

 

 
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E-Discovery Special Masters Slash Costs in Pennsylvania

52 lawyers have been qualified to participate in U.S.D.C. Western District program.

David R. Cohen, Law Technology News

April 22, 2014    |2 Comments

 Maksym Yemelyanov – Fotolia

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania established its E-Discovery Special Master Program in 2010, and to date, 52 lawyers have been qualified and trained to serve as EDSMs. It may surprise some people that a program where parties cover the costs of the special master usually results in substantial cost savings to those parties. Indeed, in other jurisdictions we have heard judges use the threat of appointing a special master as a tool to force parties to cooperate. But the reaction to the program has been very positive: Observed U.S. District Court Judge Nora Barry Fischer, who has been instrumental in managing the Western District program, “the parties and counsel who have used special masters are always happy they did.”

ADVANTAGES

Among the advantages of appointing an EDSM is having someone knowledgeable about electronic data discovery issues available to quickly and efficiently resolve issues and disputes. This avoids delays and higher costs to both sides of having to resort to formal motions practice. Other advantages include:
• The ability to rely on a single EDD expert. Parties do not need to hire experts and then engage in adversary negotiations or proceedings.
• The potential to have discovery disputes resolved by someone other than the ultimate finder of fact. For example, this can help reduce concerns about “in camera” review of documents where there may be disputed privilege claims.
• The neutral can stand in the shoes of litigators, but also has specialized EDD knowledge and mediation training. That can lead to practical resolutions that parties may not have considered or adopted on their own.
• Guidance about technology tools, vendors, other resources, and alternative options that parties and counsel who do not focus on EDD might not know.
• Depending on the preference of the court and the parties, the EDSM can be appointed to mediate only or, as has been more common, to mediate first—but then be prepared to issue a “Report and Recommendation to the Court” (subject to the parties’ right to file exceptions) re: any issue where an agreed resolution is not achieved. Likewise, the EDSM may be appointed to address only a particular issue identified by the court or parties, or may be given broader authority to resolve whatever EDD or general discovery issues may arise.

FOUR CASE STUDIES

Here are a few examples of how the Pennsylvania program has worked in practice, each involving a different judge.
Case 1: Redaction and production of 1.2 million documents in two months. In a matter involving bankruptcy courts in two jurisdictions, both parties needed to arrange the redactions of personally identifiable information (such as social security numbers) and other sensitive electronically stored information from more than 1.2 million documents to be produced to a third party—in two months or less. To accomplish this manually would require 80+ reviewers working 40 hours per week at an estimated cost of more than $1 million. Instead, the EDSM—attorney Karl Schieneman, president of Review Less—used a visual clustering tool that accomplished the task on time, with 11 reviewers, for under $200,000.
Case 2: Reducing costs of EDD in a criminal case. A criminal defendant charged with stealing company funds claimed that documents in the possession of the alleged victim, his former employer, would exonerate him. The judge ordered the defendant to cover the cost of the discovery, but when the employer estimated a cost of more than $225,000 for the originally-requested volume—more than 1 terabyte—the defendant claimed that was excessive. The court appointed an EDSM to assist in analyzing the costs and alternatives. The EDSM reached a mediated resolution, by significantly narrowing the EDD requested, and allowing searches by the company’s IT professional, with a release of any liability—rather than requiring an outside vendor. The R&R recommended about $22,000 in reimbursable costs, inclusive of an hourly rate for the IT professional. The cost of the EDD was cut by more than 90%, a savings of more than $200,000. The employer sought about $19,000 in additional costs but the court rejected as not reimbursable. The final cost to the parties of the EDSM time was less than $7,000.
Case 3: Private plaintiffs sue municipality. Private plaintiffs sued a municipality, its chief of police and other officials, alleging that the police violated the civil rights of demonstrators during G-20 summit. The plaintiffs alleged that defendants had failed to comply with reasonable discovery requests and should be sanctioned and compelled to comply. After attempts to negotiate failed, the court appointed an EDSM, who was able to mediate a narrowed scope of discovery—and plaintiffs agreed to drop the sanctions request upon compliance by defendants. The discovery dispute was resolved in one afternoon, and residual issues were addressed in an undisputed R&R. Total elapsed time from appointment of the EDSM to filing of the R&R was one month, the cost was less than $1,750 per side and the case proceeded on schedule.
Case 4: Facilitating discovery in a complex case. A high-stakes patent litigation matter had hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, and involved big firm lawyers on both coasts, and a host of discovery issues. The appointment empowered the EDSM to address any discovery disputes as they arose. Some were EDD-related but others were more general disputes, such as did the defendant conduct a broad enough search for responsive documents and did the plaintiff spoliate evidence?

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202652006682/E-Discovery-Special-Masters-Slash-Costs-in-Pennsylvania#ixzz2zkfZLGpK

 

 

Jason Atchley : eDiscovery : It’s the Story, Stupid

 

 
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E-Discovery: It’s the Story, Stupid

University of Florida’s nascent conference focused on using technology to develop your team’s agenda.

Babs Deacon, Law Technology News

April 21, 2014    |0 Comments

Photograph courtesy of Levin College of Law, Univ. of Fla.Photograph courtesy of Levin College of Law, Univ. of Fla.

The second annual E-Discovery Conference at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, held March 14 in Gainesville, Florida, came none too soon after this year’s non-stop winter. The lush, green campus and mild temps were a perfect antidote to snow—and the Levin Advocacy Center’s modern venue was right-sized for this nascent conference.
The day-long conference’s focus was “Telling The Story”—a refreshing agenda after the year’s countless programs and panels across the globe that focused on predictive coding. It was a welcome chance to talk about the tasks that litigation teams typically perform, not just the onerous, budget-busting review efforts that usually dominate program agendas.
The conference was presented by UF and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM.net), and hosted by two “brand-name” electronic data discovery attorneys. Tampa-based William Hamilton is a man who wears many hats. At Quarles & Brady, he serves as the firm’s national e-discovery partner. Passionate about education, he serves not only as executive director of UF’s E-Discovery Project, but teaches E-Discovery and Digital Evidence as an adjunct professor at the school. He also serves as the dean of graduate students at Bryan University, and of its E-Discovery Project Management certificate program. George Socha, principal of Socha Consulting in St. Paul, is the co-founder of EDRM.
The event, which kicked off with an 8 a.m. breakfast, was attended by national e-discovery experts, local practitioners and University of Florida law students, as well as, a large audience of remote attendees.
Having just moved to central Florida, it was a great opportunity to check out my new neighborhood’s e-discovery community, and to participate in discussions dedicated to “getting it done.” The panels fostered discussions about—and demonstrations of—current analytical tools that speed all phases of discovery by helping legal teams gain a true understanding of the case.
The program was framed around product demonstrations. Normally, I am not a fan of public software demos. They are often pitched to the unsophisticated user and show features from a software point of view, not a business use case. And I’m not usually up for looking at multiple products in one day; but these demos were interesting. They were un-canned and ad lib in order to relate to issues raised by panel participants and questions asked by attendees. Because they were stacked one on top of the other, it made for an enlightening comparison—and review of how each might be deployed during a particular phase of discovery.
The day started with a strong introduction with the cheeky title, “It’s the Story, Stupid!” that focused on drilling into the data to locate trends and patterns. Hamilton and Socha queried Rene Laurens, product specialist for Relativity Software, as he test drove its kCura product.
Michael Quartararo of Strook & Strook & Lavan lead the panel on collection which included a demo of Pinpoint Harvester. The message was clear: Begin crafting a story and use it to target the collection. Hopefully, as technology gains ground, litigators will feel more empowered to collect only what is truly potentially responsive, negating the need for wholesale harvesting and mammoth document reviews. 
In a panel discussion, “Lock at Data Now: Test the Story,” Julie Brown, litigation technology executive manager at Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease and veteran EDRM contributor showed the audience how to dive under the hood to identify gaps in collections, unearth themes, and get a jump on volume reduction before review. The demo was Nuix’ eDiscovery suite. I hadn’t looked at Nuix in at least a year and it was helpful to get current on its ever-expanding bevy of tools and features.
The social media segment was not as an after-thought or just the flavor of the month. JudgeElizabeth Schwabedissen, a Florida General Magistrate, provided an up-to-the minute review of case law related to appropriate interaction with social media data and custodians. Nextpoint’s cloudpreservation was an apt example of how organizations are grappling with preserving and collecting data that was, until recently, considered too ephemeral to warrant information governance or litigation hold.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202651951061/E-Discovery%3A-It%27s-the-Story%2C-Stupid#ixzz2zdsxXmk3

 

 

Jason Atchley : eDiscovery : Status of Proposed Discovery Amendments to the FRCP

 

 
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Webcast Updates Status of Proposed Discovery Amendments to the FRCP

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Advisory Committee members explained the group’s recent approval of proposed amendments.

Mark Gerlach, Law Technology News

April 18, 2014    |1 Comments

Legal project management software developer Exterro Inc. held a webcast Thursday afternoon to discuss the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Advisory Committee’s recent approval of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The 15-member Advisory Committee is a subcommittee of the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, also known as the Standing Committee.
Scott Giordano, corporate technology counsel at Exterro, moderated the webcast that featured the chairman of the Advisory Committee, Judge David Campbell (pictured left) of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and committee member John Barkett, a partner at Shook Hardy Bacon.
The Advisory Committee unanimously green-lighted the proposed FRCP amendments during a meeting that took place on April 10 and 11 in Portland, Ore. The proposed amendments before the committee reflected opinions that were collected during a six-month comment period that ended in February. More than 2,000 written comments were submitted, and three public hearings were held in Dallas, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.
The Advisory Committee approved major changes in discovery Rule 26(b)(1), Rule 37(e), which was replaced, and Rule 84, which was eliminated.
The new Rule 37(e) (PDF), also known as the Safe Harbor Rule, focuses on the preservation, loss and in some instances intentional destruction of electronically stored information. The rule now states that there is no strict liability if a party is unable to produce ESI, and strives to create a more uniformed culpability standard. See Figure 37e.
“We don’t live in a perfect world,” said Barkett during the webcast. “ESI is going to be lost.”
One change to Rule 21(b)(1) (PDF) was to move the proportionality factor into the scope of discovery, according to the webcast. The rule is designed to help judges and lawyers decide how much discovery is required in a particular case. See Figure 21b1. Click image to enlarge.
Rule 84 (The Forms Rule) was eliminated in an effort to streamline the process of adjusting court forms. With the removal of this amendment, the Administrative Office of the Courts can make form changes as needed in an effort to smooth out the process, and ultimately allow documents to become publicly available in a more timely fashion. The previous system could take between three to five years in some instances for updated and new forms to appear on the AOC’s website.
Other amendments that were modified and approved by the Advisory Committee include FRCP Rules 1, 4, 15 and 34, as well as the abrogation of presumptive limits on interrogatories, admissions requests and depositions, as previously reported.
“Uniformity is important to ensure that similarly situated parties are treated similarly, irrespective of the circuit,” said Barkett in a follow-up interview with Law Technology News. “Litigants are entitled to a measure of certainty as to the rules that they are expected to follow and inconsistent rules do not promote justice.”

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202651779010/Webcast-Updates-Status-of-Proposed-Discovery-Amendments-to-the-FRCP#ixzz2zXc82QBo

 

 

Jason Atchley : eDiscovery : Controlling eDiscovery Costs Requires Metrics

 

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Controlling E-Discovery Costs Requires Metrics

Vendor Voice: Take advantage of basic skills and established tools to reduce costs and speed e-discovery.

Kevin Clark & Damian Durrant , Law Technology News

April 10, 2014    |0 Comments

laptop money streams to clouds

Once, people entering the legal profession could safely assume that the word “metrics” had meaning only to statisticians, engineers and those in similar occupations. But today, with the growing sophistication of electronic data discovery, anyone running legal EDD projects simply must have a working knowledge of metrics. Just look at the renewed focus on constraining costs expressed in the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The bottom line: you cannot predict and control EDD costs if you cannot measure them.
In general, a metric is simply a measurement of some quantifiable element. This means that the first criterion for a metric is that it be measurable. In EDD, some measurable items often include data volume, time and expenses.
However, an element can be measurable without being relevant. Therefore, the second criterion is that the metric be meaningful in the context of the matter and to the specific client. Measurable and meaningful metrics can vary by phase. For example, the cost of printing or copying may be relevant during the presentation, review, processing or production phase, but have little or no importance during the analysis, collection or identification phases. Metrics that typically span all phases include labor costs, broadband usage, certain overhead expenses and electronic storage costs.
The term e-discovery covers all aspects of mining electronically stored information for relevancy in a regulatory, criminal or civil matter, including identifying, collecting, storing and searching. Using metrics is essential to accurately forecast the cost of EDD, budget for discovery, control costs in each matter as it progresses and create efficiencies over time. This is, of course, different from merely receiving a quote from an EDD e-discovery vendor and then seeing if it is met. For example, knowing how much it costs for Corp. X to collect data for one custodian from say, two standard data sources, for a one year date range, might be essential to claim undue burden to opposing counsel to restrict the scope of EDD. Yet many clients do not have access to this kind of sophisticated metric.
Beyond budgeting, metrics enable efficiencies in the EDD process. If you can standardize the overall process, you can apply metrics, identify improvement—and repeat. This is the application of basic Kaizen continuous improvement principles. Armed with metrics you can insist that, over time, counsel or vendors identify efficiencies at every step—to perform EDD quickly, more economically and more accurately. For example, that can result in less project management time billed processing a gigabyte of data, or more useless data being culled before a review.
A key first step to liberating the power of metrics is to adopt the special EDD billing codes designed for in-house legal departments, vendors and outside counsel. The UTBMS L600 Code Series was created by the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard Oversight Committee Board, based on the model proposed by the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (http://www.ledes.org) expressly for EDD use. Although no universal metrics currently exist for EDD and must necessarily vary by client and matter, the LEDES model for EDD divides the process into stages or phases, providing a first step to begin to measure costs for the key dimensions of EDD. From those baselines, you can work with vendors and outside counsel to seek efficiencies moving forward.
Industry standard metrics can be helpful at first, but because each corporate client has a different data universe, the goal is to develop metrics for a specific client based on actual EDD over time. For example, one client may find its employees generally have less gigabytes of email stored per year than the industry average. With the help of a good vendor cooperating with IT and legal, baseline metrics and costs can be developed and continually fine-tuned. For example, after measuring perhaps a dozen matters, knowing that on average it costs $800 to collect and move to a document review tool one gigabyte of email would be a key metric for forecasting cost.
The EDRM Metrics Model is also a valuable framework to help users think about EDD metrics. It provides a framework for planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up of EDD matters and projects by showing the relationship between the EDD process and how information, activities and outcomes may be measured.
By combining metrics, such as the average cost to do X, with the relevant pricing model, it is possible to create a budget calculator designed specifically for EDD. Most of these have already incorporated a number of assumptions, but they normally include the ability for users to make modifications. Typically, these programs base budgets on the cost-per-gigabyte of data by unit, sometimes referred to as the cost-per-volume. This means that users may need to perform some tweaking—as documents vary widely in the amount of gigabytes used; for example, one gigabyte might hold a 6,000-page document or a 60,000-page file.
However, it can be just about impossible to develop meaningful metrics or budget calendars over time if the client uses different vendors and/or counsel, or does not require the same standards. A good EDD vendor working with client’s legal department and IT team can help put a metrics and cost containment program in place.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202650379404/Controlling-E-Discovery-Costs-Requires-Metrics#ixzz2z8vTgIoN

 

 

Jason Atchley : Big Data : What is the Best Use for Big Data?

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What Is the Best Use for Big Data?

The best data analytics can lead to the same organizational culture.

Marlisse Silver Sweeney, Law Technology News

April 15, 2014    |0 Comments

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Are the big bucks being shelled out on big data not having the big impact anticipated? Michael Schrage wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the best data analytics lead to the same organizational culture.
Schrage’s research suggests it’s how the companies use their analytics that really matters.  The ones that have moderate outcomes are employing big data for decision support, he said, whereas the most successful return on analytics is when “firms use them to effect and support behavior change.”  It seems analytics are the most effective when “they’re used to invent and encourage different kinds of conversations and interactions,” he said.
However, this isn’t as easy as it may seem.  “People may need to share and collaborate more; functions may need to set up different or complementary business processes; managers and executives may need to make sure existing incentives don’t undermine analytic-enabled opportunities for growth and efficiencies,” suggested Schrage.  He used the example of a medical supply company that employed their results not to support existing sales programs, but to implement entirely new ones.  “[T]he most productive conversations centered on how analytics changed behaviors rather than solved problems,” he said.  Ask not what analytics can do for you, but what you can do for analytics.
Attorney Marlisse Silver Sweeney is a freelance writer based in Vancouver.MarlisseSilverSweeney@gmail.com. Twitter: @MarlisseSS. LTN: @lawtechnews.
 

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1397574150063/What-Is-the-Best-Use-for-Big-Data%3F#ixzz2z3ctZlYH

 

 

Jason Atchley : Legal Technology : Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media in Litigation

Jason Atchley : Legal Technology : Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media in Litigation

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Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media in Litigation

Stick with the Federal Rules of Evidence For successful authentication.

Rakesh Madhava, Law Technology News

April 11, 2014    |0 Comments

Authenticating social media for litigation is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has not demanded the creation of any new legal theories. In today’s litigation, evidence may come from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs or other social forums. Fortunately, the Federal Rules of Evidence (or applicable rules in your jurisdiction) are all that lawyers need to authenticate social media, blogs, websites and other online content. Basic steps have not changed, but social media adds a few new wrinkles.
Courts recognize that there are special challenges in authenticating social media. As noted inGriffin v. State of Maryland No. 74 (Maryland; Apr. 28, 2011), there is always a “potential for abuse and manipulation of a social networking site by someone other than its purported creator and/or user.” In that case, the court concluded that a printout from a social media site “requires a greater degree of authentication than merely identifying the date of birth of the creator and her visage in a photograph on the site,” to determine whether a person in question actually published a post.
As Griffin found, problems arise from a lack of detailed information. Lawyers often try to enter social media evidence into the record in the form of a website printout. But when social media is out of context, or identifying metadata and links are stripped, authentication is nearly impossible. However, when properly preserved, social media and website content can be vetted using the existing rules of evidence.
U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm, of the District of Maryland has addressed how courts can resolve digital media and social media disputes. In Lorraine v. Markel American Insurance Co., 241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007), Grimm identified the issues a lawyer must consider when determining admissibility of digital evidence. They include the same standards applied to other types of evidence: relevance, authenticity, hearsay, the original writing rule and probative value as compared with possible unfair prejudice.
The rule that applies most directly to authenticating social media is Rule 901 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. However, Grimm notes that lawyers and judges have made mistakes admitting or denying social media when they forget to first consider Rule 104(a) and (b). Under those rules, a court must consider if a jury could reasonably find that the evidence is authentic—even if there is reason to question the evidence, a judge should not throw it out, but allow the jury to consider the issue. For example, in Parker v. State of Delaware (Del. Sup. Ct. Feb. 5, 2014), the defendant argued that social media evidence had to be authenticated by “testimony of the creator, documentation of the Internet history or hard drive of the purported creator’s computer, or information obtained directly from the social networking site.” That standard had been applied in the Griffin case. However, the Parker court, following precedent from a Texas court case, said only that “the jury ultimately must decide the authenticity of social media evidence.”
That means a party objecting to digital evidence has a high burden. They have to show that the evidence is in fact a fake. “A trial judge should admit the evidence,” Grimm wrote, “if there is plausible evidence of authenticity produced by the proponent of the evidence and only speculation or conjecture—not facts—by the opponent of the evidence about how, or by whom, it ‘might’ have been created.” He continued, “Too many courts that considered admissibility of social media evidence completely overlooked this important distinction and, in doing so, made questionable rulings excluding evidence that should be admitted.”
Given that analysis, social media and website evidence is actually difficult to reject from most matters. However, in order to convince a jury that any tweet, Facebook post or email is ultimately authentic, a lawyer will need solid forensic analysis. As in Lorraine v. Markel American Insurance Co., Grimm noted that in applying[the authentication standard to website evidence, “there are three questions that must be answered, explicitly or implicitly: 1) What was actually on the website? 2) Does the exhibit or testimony accurately reflect it? 3) If so, is it attributable to the owner of the site?”
Getting to those facts sometimes takes research and analysis. In State of Connecticut v. Eleck, AC 31581 (Conn. Ct. App. Aug 9, 2011), the court found “an electronic document may continue to be authenticated by traditional means such as the direct testimony of the purported author or circumstantial evidence of ‘distinctive characteristics’ in the document that identify the author.” Once the proponent produces sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable juror that the social media evidence is authentic, the burden of production shifts to the party objecting to demonstrate the item is a fraud. Lorraine outlined some sensible steps to find out if a social media posting is likely authentic:
1. Ask the purported creator if he or she indeed created the profile and also added the posting in question.
2. Search the computer of the person who allegedly created the profile and posting, and examine the computer’s Internet history and hard drive to determine whether that computer was used to originate the social networking profile and posting in question.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202650688173/Vendor-Voice%3A-Don%27t-Be-Afraid-of-Social-Media-in-Litigation#ixzz2yy7rXOCv

Jason Atchley : Legal Technology : LinkedIn Endorsements : Lawyers Proceed with Caution

jaJjasoason Atchley : Legal Technology : LinkedIn Endorsements: Lawyers Proceed With Caution

 jason atchley

LinkedIn Endorsements: Lawyers Proceed With Caution

The American Bar Association Model Rules that prohibit lawyers from making a false or misleading claim about their services applies to LinkedIn too.

Marlisse Silver Sweeney, Law Technology News

April 09, 2014    |0 Comments
 
 

Jason Doiy

LinkedIn endorsements may be good for the ego, but what they’re not good for is professional ethics.  In a recent webcast on Lexblog, Megan McKeon, the senior marketing manager at Katten Muchin Rosenman explains why the legal industry needs to be wary of endorsing attorneys over the social media site.
“With the ABA model rules regulating what we as attorneys do for advertising and marketing it’s important for us to know that endorsements pretty much do run afoul of those model rules,” explains McKeon.  According to Rachel Zahorsky in an ABA Journal story, ABA Model Rule 7.1 prohibits a lawyer from making a false or misleading claim about his or her services.  The problem with LinkedIn, is that sometimes people will “endorse” the skill of a professional but have no first-hand experience with that person’s work.  This is where lawyers can potentially run into problems, though the issue is not as black and white as the site itself. Zahorsky reports at least one professional ethics expert says just because an endorser doesn’t know the lawyer directly, doesn’t make it false.
However, McKeon takes the cautious approach.  “Most of our attorneys, in pretty much every situation, should not be engaging with endorsements,” she told LexBlog.
Attorney Marlisse Silver Sweeney is a freelance writer based in Vancouver. Email: MarlisseSilverSweeney@gmail.com. Twitter: @MarlisseSS.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202650450317/LinkedIn-Endorsements%3A-Lawyers-Proceed-With-Caution#ixzz2yTvS83jU

 


 

Jason Athley : Legal Technology : Best Laptops for Lawyers

Jason Atchley : Legal Technology : Top Laptops for Lawyer

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Top Laptop Computers for Lawyers

In a world transfixed by smartphones and tablets, laptops are still the best way to get real work done.

John Edwards, Law Technology News

April 07, 2014    |2 Comm

Lenovo ThinkPad X240
Lenovo ThinkPad X240
While smartphones and tablets grab the headlines, innumerable lawyers still rely on laptop computers to handle an array of demanding legal and business applications that smaller mobile devices with their limited display, input, processing, memory and storage capabilities often struggle with.
Like all mobile devices, laptops have improved significantly over the past few years in terms of power, storage and connectivity. Today’s top models easily outperform most of their desktop counterparts and even entry-level laptops are now more than capable of supporting routine legal and business tasks. At all price points, major advancements have also been made in battery life, portability (size and weight), durability and style.
The challenge facing a lawyer shopping for a new laptop is finding the model that most closely matches his or her work and lifestyle needs and preferences. To narrow down the number of choices, we’ve selected the top systems in five key categories. Here they are. (Click images to enlarge.)

SMALL AND LIGHTWEIGHT LAPTOP

For many lawyers, having an easy to carry laptop is far preferable to dragging around a larger system that’s weighed down by a big screen and other nonessential components. Still, when shopping for a small and lightweight laptop, it’s important not to sacrifice essential components, such as a decently sized display and comfortable keyboard, for carrying comfort. Go too far, and you’ll find yourself with a system that’s actually less useful than a tablet.
HP Spectre 13t-3000
The HP Spectre 13t-3000 strikes an acceptable balance between portability and performance. The system offers a highly readable, 13.3-inch display, a great keyboard, an extra-wide touch pad, a touch-screen, and a lightning-fast, solid-state drive.
Click image to enlargeProcessor: 1.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor
OS: Microsoft Windows 8
Screen/Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 dots, touch-screen
Memory/Storage: 4MB RAM/128GB solid-state drive
Size/Weight: 12.75 x 8.66 x 0.59 inches (width x depth x height); 3.3 pounds
MSRP: $999.99
MacBook Air 11-inch
Mac users looking for highly compact laptops are pretty much limited to the MacBook Air 11-inch. The system’s small screen and weak processor are balanced by a solid-state drive and a very lightweight and compact form factor. Apple, incidentally, doesn’t offer touch-screens on its laptops. The late Steve Jobs believed that vertical touch-screens are awkward and, over extended periods of time, painful to use.
Click image to enlargeProcessor: 1.3GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor
OS: Mac OS X Mavericks
Screen/Display: 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 dots
Memory/Storage: 4GB/128GB solid-state drive
Size/Weight: 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.68 (w x d x h) inches; 2.38 pounds
MSRP: $999.00

DESKTOP REPLACEMENT LAPTOP

Using a single computer both inside and outside the office is a concept that appeals to lawyers who don’t want to waste time synchronizing, configuring and maintaining two systems. The key to this approach is finding a laptop that’s powerful enough to effortlessly handle everyday legal and business tasks, yet sufficiently portable to be a reliable traveling companion.
Lenovo ThinkPad X240
Don’t let the compact size fool you; the Lenovo ThinkPad X240 is a little dynamo that’s more than capable of serving as a desktop replacement. The system’s perky processor is complemented by 8 gigabytes of RAM and a relatively spacious 256-gigabyte solid-state disk drive. Whether functioning as a desktop or laptop, the ThinkPad X240 has more than enough power to support virtually any legal or business task.
Click image to enlargeProcessor: 2.10GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor
OS: Microsoft Windows 8
Screen/Display: 12.5 inch, 1366 x 768 dots, touch-screen
Memory/Storage: 8GB RAM/256GB solid-state storage
Size/Weight: 12.03 x 8.19 x 0.79 (w x d x h) inches; 3 pounds
MSRP: $1,879.00
Apple MacBook Pro 15-Inch With Retina Display
The stylish top-of-the-line Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display looks good in any office while outperforming most ordinary desktop PCs. The system offers a powerful processor, a boatload of memory (16 gigabytes) and a half-terabyte of storage.
 

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1396629397681/Top-Laptop-Computers-for-Lawyers#ixzz2yOlvurzv

 


 

Jason Atchley : Data Security : Developing a Strategy to Protect Client Confidential Data

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Developing a Strategy to Protect Client Confidential Data

Identify the threats, and then choose your plan and technologies.

bsapiro@kpmg.ca, Law Technology News

April 07, 2014    |0 Comments
Internet security laptop safe

Editor’s note: In the process of reporting Law Technology News magazine’s April cover story, “Feeling Insecure? You should be: Cybercriminals (and the government) may have access to your confidential data,” I interviewed numerous professional, including this Q&A with Ben Sapiro of KPMG Canada. —Monica Bay
Q. In the context of Big Law, what are the three biggest threats in 2014 to client confidentiality?
1. Data moving outside the realm of classic corporate control to mobile devices and the cloud.
2. The opportunistic or incidental compromise in which your systems are infected or otherwise breached not because of who you are (or who you provide services to).
3. The third-party attack in which you are compromised to allow the criminals to gain access to a third party that trusts you (or the inverse where you are breached via a third party you placed undue trust in).
Q. What are the three most important things that Big Law must do to protect the confidentiality of client data?
1. Clearly understanding client expectations when it comes to protecting their information. If you don’t understand what your clients expect of you, then you cannot invest in the appropriate level of protection and make informed decisions about risk. Once you understand what is expected of you must demonstrate to yourself (and stakeholders, such as clients or regulators) that your protections are both adequate and effective—pointing to the existence of a specific technology or a policy isn’t sufficient anymore when it comes to protecting client information. You need to show both yourself and others that your protection efforts are working as expected and are appropriate for the level of protection required.
2. Keeping track of your client information in a mobile and cloud world. Client information in electronic format flows like water among email, removable storage (such as USB drives), cloud services, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Firms must be clear on where their data is allowed to go; how it must be protected; and what they will do if the device or system storing the information is lost, unavailable, or subject to unauthorized access. Knowing where your information is—and having clarity on how to protect it—will drive conversations on what you should be doing and what you will tell your clients about the confidentiality of your data.
3. Create a detailed and practiced response plan to deal with data breaches. Even the best protection technologies and processes fail; nothing is perfect, nobody is infallible. Practicing different scenarios not only helps identify gaps in your process and technical capabilities, but increases the likelihood you’ll handle an incident properly when it actually happens.
Q. What strategies should Big Law be using to protect confidentiality of client data?
Before you invest in new defensive technologies, start with the basics:
1. Designate a senior professional who is accountable for protecting client data and can make decisions around strategy and investment. Your IT team can help implement technologies and practices, but they likely are not sufficiently skilled, resourced or senior enough to own this problem. Your security and privacy leader should “own” a clear policy and governance framework—and must report to the senior partners.
Remember that security is a complex topic, similar to complex areas of law requiring specialized expertise; so ensure that the person accountable for security either possesses that expertise from years of experience and study, or is supported by experienced professionals and advisors.
2. Identify all your technology and the data it holds. Create a process that keeps the information current, which is essential to respond to confidentiality breaches. More importantly the list will define everything you need to protect.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202650049516/Developing-a-Strategy-to-Protect-Client-Confidential-Data#ixzz2yJQQMj7d

JASON ATCHLEY : IN-HOUSE : COMPENSATION CLAWBACKS: COMPLIANCE FIRST, RULES LATER  

 

jason atchley

Compensation Clawbacks: Compliance First, Rules Later

 

Rebekah Mintzer, Corporate Counsel

April 07, 2014    |0 Comments

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law in 2010. Yet, one of its key provisions, Section 954, which deals with clawbacks of incentive-based executive compensation, has yet to be fully clarified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
A recent advisory [PDF] from AlixPartners explains that just because some of the details of theDodd-Frank clawback rules [PDF] are not yet known doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of companies proactively creating and disclosing their policies already.
Why worry about complying with a regulation that hasn’t been fully explained? Susan Markel, a managing director in the financial advisory services group at AlixPartners, told CorpCounsel.com that there are benefits to having company clawback policies ahead of SEC rules. “They put the executive officers on notice that this could happen to them,” said Markel. “The thought would be that greater attention is paid to getting it right the first time.” Getting to policy specifics before the SEC does also can show that a company places a premium on corporate governance.
Dodd-Frank requires incentive-based compensation policies be included in financial disclosures, and many companies have already started doing just that. The AlixPartners advisory cites statistics from Equilar Inc., which provides executive compensation data, and found in 2006 only 18 percent of Fortune 100 companies publicly disclosed their clawback policies; by 2013, this number had jumped to 89 percent.
Although clawback requirements were originally promulgated more than a decade ago in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank expands on SOX rules substantially. The advisory explains that under SOX, clawbacks must only happen in relation to financial restatements brought about “as a result of misconduct.” Dodd-Frank drops the misconduct requirement. The look-back period for the clawbacks will also be expanded from the 12 months required under SOX to three years under Dodd-Frank. Under Section 954 of the new law, companies that don’t comply with clawback rules will be barred from national securities exchange listings.
There’s plenty that isn’t clear yet, though. For example, rules for clawbacks under SOX only applied to CEOs and CFOs, but now under Dodd-Frank may apply to more residents of the C-suite. “The language is ‘current and former executive officers,'” said Markel. “So just what does that mean?”
It’s also still unclear, the advisory noted, exactly how Dodd-Frank defines a financial restatement and whether every restatement issued will be considered, for the purposes of the law, a result of “material noncompliance” with financial reporting requirements.
Markel said that—final rules or not—some companies are preemptively expanding the ways they can take back executive compensation. “We’re seeing policies that cover a broader range of triggers for the potential recoupment of funds,” she said, citing financial restatement and ethical misconduct as examples.
Other companies are clawing back more types of incentive-based compensation, mandating that clawback policies cover not just cash bonuses, but awards such as deferred compensation and perquisite accounts, too. “In some cases, companies that already have such policies in place are modifying them in response to shareholder resolutions,” Markel said.
She added that the financial industry has been particularly keen to expand clawbacks. “Still, some companies continue to take a wait-and-see approach in making changes to their existing clawback policies or crafting new ones until the SEC clarifies its view on what the rule under Dodd-Frank will look like,” she said.
 

Read more: http://www.corpcounsel.com/id=1202649857083/Compensation-Clawbacks%3A-Compliance-First%2C-Rules-Later#ixzz2yCqQqILd

 

 
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