Tag Archives: LTWC

LTWC 2015: From LA to SF!

 LTWC 2015
Have you heard?  Big changes are afoot for Legaltech West Coast 2015:

  1. The dates are July 13-14, 2015
  2. It's relocated to the Hyatt Regency
  3. That's the Hyatt Regency…in San Francisco!

How accommodating of them to move it to my new city.  I didn't realize I had that much pull.  Actually, it was great news when I found out about it a few weeks back because in 2014, I had to skip the conference for the first time in years – and it was looking the same way for 2015.

Registration is open.  Mark your calendars…and see you there!

Did Mikey Like the New, Improved LTWC 2013? Day One…

Mikey Likes It!I've just returned from day one of Legaltech West Coast.  I'd hoped to attend both days this year because my Calbar LPMT colleague, Andy Serwin, presented the keynote this morning,  Alas, it wasn't meant to be…

Leading up to the conference, the meme was that this is the new, improved LTWC with the addition of, "The California Lawyers' Track".  Makes sense.  Depending on which statistic you consult, approximately 20-25% of the lawyers in the United States reside in California.  So, how did all this measure up to their most hard-to-impress critic, Mikey?

(It's me…it's me…I'm talking about ME!)

First of all, it not only makes sense, it's smart.  I'm the first one to admit that virtually all of the programs I present contain at least 50% Ethics content – not only because it's great as far as addressing educational issues that attorneys need to know -  but also because Calbar has a mandatory requirement that California attorneys attain four hours of specialty credit in Ethics every three years.  The specialty credits are notoriously hard to come by and it always results in higher attendance at my events.  I'm sure the gurus at LegalTech understand this factoid.  They also worked in our other specialty credit requirements: Bias & Substance Abuse.  However, three out of the four were presented on the final day
(incentive to entice California attendees to stick around for day two, LegalTech?  Well played…)

If you attended all specialty sessions over two days, you'd satisfy one-hour Bias, one-hour Substance Abuse and two-hours Ethics.  That's four out of a total of six hours required!

Advantage:  LegalTech

Ok, great; the potential is there.  But none of that matters if the programs aren't substantive.  Were they?  If you've been reading me for a while, you know I don't dole out compliments much, but I have to say that I found the content of the three sessions I attended to be excellent; and the final session of the day may have been the best I've ever attended at any conference.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get there early enough to see the keynote speaker, D. Casey Flaherty (and I regretted missing him even more after attending his program in the final session of the day – see below), so I started with "A Panel of Experts: A Candid Conversation".  Judges Jay Ghandi and Suzanne Segal (no relation) discussed the challenges brought by eDiscovery.  If you follow my Twitter feed, you saw the money quote from that session.

Mid-day, I went another direction.  Owen Byrd from Lex Machina was presenting on his article, "Moneyball for Lawyers: How Data and Analytics are Transforming the Practice of Law".  This was also the title of an article Owen wrote for our LPMT Committee publication, "the Bottom Line", which will be published in a week or two.  He showed us how they're using data in whole new ways to give attorneys every advantage in a case.

To end the day, it was back to the judges (or so I thought) with, "Judges' Panel: The Current State of the ED Market".  At first, I was disappointed because the "judges'" panel had only one judge, presenting via Skype.  That ended up working out just fine.  The live panel included one big firm eDiscovery attorney and the aforementioned Casey Flaherty, Corporate Counsel for Kia Motors America.  Here's the deal.  Mr. Flaherty walked us through the painstaking process he followed to procure the best eDiscovery vendors for Kia that he could find.  What did I think?  Read my assessment at the LexisNexis "Matters of Practice" Blog.

Well, that's a wrap for this year.  See you next year at LTWC 2014!

How I Spent My Day at LegalTech West Coast

MP900309173Have I ever gotten a LegalTech summary posted quickly?  I don't think so.  It seems like every year, the conference falls on a busy week for me.  No exception this year; in fact, regretfully, I was only able to stay for the first day.

As always, I want to inform you that I attended as a guest of the provider, ALM.  However, nobody at ALM ever attempts to influence what I write about the conference and as you know by now (hopefully), I write what I see.  So, without further delay, here goes…

Usually, I find that the day starts out strong and ends more weakly.  You get tired drinking in all of that info, especially now that the format has changed slightly to less sessions of 90 minutes each.  This year, the converse was true.  The day seemed to start out a bit quite, but by the end of the day, there was a very noticeable pick-up in both energy and attendance.

Scheduling is still the biggest problem; the more events you attend, the more people you know, which is both a positive and a negative:

Positive:  You have a lot more to do and will end up attending more events.

Negative:  You stop every ten feet to chat with all of the people you know and end up arriving late to every session.

I started with the keynote, presented by Kevin Genirs, Global General Counsel, Investment Banking, Barclays & Former General Counsel, Investment Banking, Lehman Brothers.  The topic was, "2008 vs. 2012: Lessons from Lehman Brothers".  From an informational standpoint, it was excellent.  An insider's view of the Lehman Brothers implosion – how can that not be fascinating?  However, it really didn't have anything to do with "Legal-Tech", so to speak.  To me, that didn't matter, as listening to the information from someone who was on the front lines served to humanize the event.  It's not the same as reading the cold facts in a newspaper or online, or watching them on TV.

As far as session choices, due to having been swamped prior to arriving at the conference, I literally made my choices on the fly.  This became amusing when I attended interesting sessions, only to discover that friends and colleagues were presenting them.

Session one was, "Guarding Against the Enemy Within", which pointed out that you're more likely to experience a security breach from within an organization than from without.  It's funny, because I'm presenting a very similar talk on Friday, June 22nd at the Calbar Solo & Small Firm Summit.  They think the way I do; that people, deliberately or accidentally, are more likely to facilitate a breach than via an outside attack.  The session was high on substantive content and I got a lot out of it.

After the lunch break, I attended, "Dealing with Data Theft".  I don't think I need to elaborate on the subject matter.  As I mentioned, I was pleased to find that a colleague, Wayne Lee from Verizon, was one of the presenters.  Again, a very substantive presentation by this panel.  Along with the presentation, we were also given a copy of Verizon's 2012 Security report.  If you're not familiar with it, you should be.

To finish out the day, I switched tracks and attended, "Exploring Hot E-Discovery Trends: FRCP Amendments, Social Media, and Emerging Case Law".  Again, I was pleased to discover that my colleague, Ron S. Best, was one of the presenters.  I didn't get as much out of the session because, unfortunately, it was geared to a beginner-to-intermediate audience.  That's by no means a bad thing, based on the participation of the attendees – the room was bursting at the seams.  What's gratifying is that each year, the increase in awareness and interest in these fields is palpable.

My biggest regret was that I couldn't stay for day two, but we do what we can, right?  See you there next year!

#LTWC 2011 – Day 2: The Dancing Itos Meet the #DigitalRoachMotel

Dancing Itos I'm sure you've noticed I'm using hash tags in my subject titles.  I picked up a lot of followers on Twitter during the conference and the former tag allows others following LTWC to find my summaries easily.  If you're already following me, you've seen the latter tag before.  We'll get into that, below.  As always, my disclaimer from my Day One post remains the same.

I am the man of steel!  Ok, maybe I'm the man of aluminum!  Ok, I'm thinking more along the lines of the man of caffeine.  I attempted to do the impossible; attend every single session available on day two.  I'm sure plenty of others do so, but I'll admit, when you do this, coupled with quick meetings prior to the commencement of the day, on every break and even afterwards, I can't speak for others, but I resembled some kind of zombie by the time I approached the parking garage (ask the person who met with me at the end of the day).  You know why?  Because, save for the final session, I sat in the front row (which is something I always do).  For one thing, I'm live-commenting on the event via Twitter, plus, it keeps me engaged, which is important because I'm there to drink in every bit of knowledge I can – not to sit in the back and collect CLEs (not that I don't love CLEs…).

The keynote, "Trial by Sound Byte", was given by Manny Medrano.  I've met Manny before and if you're from the L.A. area, you've likely seen him on local networks, covering cases like the OJ Simpson murder trial.  Manny's a very personable guy and is even more so as a speaker.  He contrasted his desire to cover hard news cases with the network's desire to cover celebrity cases, such as the death of Anna Nicole Smith.  He focused heavily on the issue of media coverage and how it may interfere with justice rather than simply telling the story.  Put simply, news reporters and networks are as apt to let the confidential cat out of the bag as social media users.  He cited a few examples (some that we've covered on these pages) but what I liked was his hard-line approach to violators.  He believes in harsh penalties (monetary, if possible) when there are egregious instances of juror misconduct.  I agree wholeheartedly and have said so many times.  Closing observation: this is probably the first time I'd heard the term, 'Dancing Itos', since 1996.  A decade later, during the last criminal case I worked on for the D.A.'s office, the day the verdict came out, our sitting judge took ill, so we had a substitute.  I walked into the courtroom and sitting at the bench was none other than Judge Lance Ito.

On to session one, covering "Electronic Discovery in the Cloud", with the 'legend', Tom O'Connor.  He was supposed to be presenting alone, but was joined later by Brett Burney.  This was an unexpected treat for me because last year, I stood in for Brett at another conference when he was stuck in Ohio and couldn't come.  The whole thing was hastily arranged and I basically did it sans notes.  Brett and I had never met in person, so it was great to finally put the face to the name.

This session was a perfect antithesis to the cloud presentation I attended on day one.  Here, we covered all of the risks & rewards of cloud computing.  In particular, the biggest bone of contention is how much control the vendor retains over the data.  In some cases, a law firm that agrees to those terms may actually violate their code of ethics by turning control of confidential client information over to another without their consent.  This was a more sobering – and in my opinion, more realistic – overview of what cloud computing is all about.

That's when it hit me; as far as your data is concerned, the cloud is like a digital roach motel.  Your data checks in, but it may never check out.  Or, for a little California emphasis, call it the Hotel California.  Your data can check out any time it likes, but it can never leave…

Time for the lunch session, "A View from the Bench" which was led by two Federal Magistrates, Jay C. Ghandi and Suzanne H. Segal (no rel.).  Judge Segal presented to my litigation group only two or three months ago on jurisdictional matters.  I'm presenting an eDiscovery CLE to the same group in about two weeks and if I could just get the videotape from this session and play it, I'd let my attendees watch it while I sneak up and eat all of their cream-cheese desserts.  It's exactly what I'm going to be saying, which is, in a nutshell:

  • It's never too early in the process to bring in your technical assistance,
  • You must plead with particularity regarding eDiscovery matters,
  • Take as many of the decisions as possible out of our hands and you'll make us happy,
  • Get your clawback agreements in place,
  • You've had enough time to understand this stuff, so if you screw up, we'll sanction you!

*Sigh*  The latter statement seems to be more in force in Federal jurisdictions, but I suspect that – in California's case, anyway – that's because our rules came into power in 2009, not 2006 like the Federal rules.

The judges presented us with a hypothetical scenario regarding a corporate sexual harassment case and we analyzed the mistakes that were made during the process.  The gist of the issues were more focused on a paralegal performing attorney functions and making decisions that only an attorney may make, but what bugged me most was that, in a personal misconduct case, when the misconduct was reported, the paralegal contacted the subject of the accusation.  This particular fact tidbit had nothing to do with their presentation and was likely just a by-product, but I would say this to you.  If you become aware of that type of misconduct (which will trigger respondeat superior), here's my advice.  Do not pass go.  Go directly to whoever is responsible for overseeing these matters, call the accused into a meeting, have them sign a document informing them of the complaint while simultaneously arranging to collect an image of all of the person's data that you can.  And do not let them access any of it until you're done.

Why?  Because your job is also to protect the corporation; and the corporation may be held liable for any additional misconduct of its members.  If you inform the accused perpetrator, what might they do?  Go back to their office and start deleting incriminating emails?  Who knows?  The point is, you must issue a true litigation hold on the spot and preserve an image of all of the information you can.  Think I'm being harsh?  I know of organizations who do this, exactly.  In fact, one of them will put the accused on leave without even informing them of the basis of the accusation.  Doesn't that sound like being found guilty, until proven innocent?  Yep.  Welcome to Corporate America.  But I digress…

Next session was "The Top 5 Ethical Concerns for Lawyers in E-Discovery", presented by Brett Burney (again, who I didn't know was going to be there).  This was a nuts & bolts session and was very clear.  The slides spelled out what our duties are, what the rules say (both eDiscovery and ethics), the supporting and dissenting case law and links to resources.  Obviously, the longer one has occupied this space, the more one knows of these matters, but I've never thought it to be a bad thing to attend a refresher.  It's very easy to forget.

Here's what I have to say about the last session.  Do you recall what I wrote yesterday about the first session?  Ditto.  My brain was fried at this point, anyway.  And so, we shall not speak of it again…

All in all, a great conference for me.  See you next year!