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How not to crash your motorcycle, the mid-sized law firm and electronic discovery.
I remember taking a safe rider class required for a motorcycle license in Florida. The instructor was very clear that while accident avoidance is always a priority, a rider should prepare for the eventual crash. In other words, it was not a matter of if you would crash but when – and the priority is survival.
This is a great theory, but one that needs balance. On one side you could stockpile weapons, food, and a water purifier and on the other side you could wake up each morning hoping that you will never need to use them. The instructor’s advice was solidly in the middle and easily embraceable by today’s litigators that have yet to embrace the review tools available to them for electronic discovery.
Legal focused media has beat the drum to a deafening volume on the electronic discovery, analytics, forensic collection of data, and all of the other incredibly important, but equally intimidating evolutions in legal review and production. All of the technology and emphasis is not only important but also essential to today’s litigators. However, there is an argument for balance and proportionality.
Think of the family that looks at the burden of retirement and figures, “why bother because the goal is too large,” and never saves a penny. The move to embrace the proper tools that a law firm’s client needs for electronic review is no different. If you are currently using a linear review process and paper or PDF media you may believe that the move to an electronic review tool is a leap too high to make. Why save $10 when you need a million to retire?
I believe there is an easy three-step process for embracing the changes in technology, while not quitting the practice of law to become a computer technology expert.
- Relax – turn off the high tech information and think just about your typical case, your typical discovery.
- Learn – take advantage of a few key webinars or CLEs that discuss electronic review. Stay away from the hype, the sizzle, and the next hot thing – focus instead on the session that focuses on the down and dirty process of electronic review.
- Jump in – If you find the right vendor, the expense can be equal to a box or two of copies, or a small PDF production. The same vendor will be interested in your continued business and will provide support and training that makes sense for YOUR case and YOUR discovery.
Understand that you WILL have a production land on your desk that requires you to use an electronic review tool. Like the instructor at the motorcycle school, I implore you to make a plan to survive.