E-Discovery and Ethics
In the latest recording for the E-Discovery Zone, a series of interviews that Browning Marean and I do on a semi-regular basis which is hosted by TechLaw Solutions, Browning and I had a fascination discussion with Ralph Losey. As you may know, Ralph is a a shareholder of Akerman Senterfitt, Co-Chair of Akerman’s Electronic Discovery practice group, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida School of Law teaching e-discovery and he has a blog called The E-Discovery Team which always has incisive articles on the e-discovery space.
Earlier this week Ralph posted about the ethical problems of attorneys who don’t know enough about e-discovery or, as Ralph put it “abdicate the traditional role of lawyer as master of discovery” . The result of this abdication has been a rise in e-discovery expenses, an increase in lengthy and unecessary motions practice and a susbsequent upturn in sanctions against law firms. Browning and I couldn’t resist a chance to ask about this issue and Rlaph obliged with pointed remarks about the failings of law schools and bar associations to provide certification or competency training in this field.
Ralph feels the solution is obvious and that what we need is more ” Education and training, combined with recognition and affiliation of experts where competence has not been attained. ” The current efforts by law schools are mininal: Ralph teaches a course at the Universtiy of Florida, Georgetown has it’s well publicized course in the spring and most recently the University of Washington has offered a certification course.
But overall the legal education system is not rising to meet this challenge. Training 50 or so people at a time once a year in three schools is not going to significantly raise the educational bar enought to make a difference. Ralph suggested that a commercial entity other than a vendor (vendor efforts, he feels, have been too self centered on the objective of the scaring attendees sufficiently that they will immeidately turn to the vendor for assistance) or a web entrepeuner will rise to the surface in the next year or so and fill the void.
To hear the complete conversation go to the E-Discovery Zone page on the TechLaw website and be sure to visit Ralphs blog: he promises part two of his discussion on this issue next week.