The Paper Prison

This is the term Ralph Losey  used in his comment to last weeks post to describe the lack of basic technical knowledge by attorneys. It can be seen in cases from the Fannie Mae decision with it’s massive financial consequences ( In re Fannie Mae Securities Litigation, _ F.3d _, 2009 WL 215282009, U.S. App. LEXIS 9 (D.C. App. Jan. 6, 2009) to the more recent Convad case (Convad Communications Co. v. Revonet, Inc., 2008 WL 5377698 (D.D.C. Dec. 24, 2008   ) where Judge Faciola decries the use in a discovery request of  ” … ancient boilerplate – designed for discovery in a paper universe ” .

Despite the best efforts of people like Ralph, Craig Ball, Browning Marean and George Socha to educate attorneys there is little likelihood of things changing until, as Ralph said, ” … law schools wake up.”  One promising sign is the Georgetown Law Center Advanced E-Discovery Training Academy to be held at the Georgetown University Law Center, Gewirz Student Center in Washington D.C. this upcoming Feb 9-13.

This is a great first step to formalized, vendor neutral training by attorneys for attorneys, as we used to say in the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section.  But I would still suggest that Ralph is correct  and we need more basic legal technology training at the law school level.  One good start is the law practice management course  at the University of Florida Levin College of Law taught by our old friend Andy Adkins, the Director of the Legal Technology Instituteat the same school.  Another is a series of podcasts on basic legal technology that Browning and I have just started with the West LegalEd Center

Most of these people will be at the Legal Tech Conference  in New York  in two weeks and I’d encourage you to discuss this issue with them if you happen to see them at the show. You’ll find all of these people very approachable and more than willing to discuss this and any other topic on your mind. 

I myself will be speaking on several panels at the show and will also be spending some time at the Anacomp booth and blogging from the show. So please come by and say hi.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and get them posted. We need to further this discussion in order to change this paradigm but it will take the effort of the entire legal community.

As Ralph said: “The paper prison is remarkable strong!”

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