Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Recently in eDiscovery & Records Management Category

There's no denying that we live in a digital world. For attorneys, the digital world has definitely provided some real conveniences. Digital projectors have replaced poster boards and easels, smartphones have revolutionized calendaring, digital filing is amazing, and the widespread adoption of email was absolutely game changing.

But, along with the conveniences technology brings, some attorney jobs have gone the way of the dodo bird thanks to new developments. AI programs are starting to not only do the job that an attorney or paralegal would, the AI is doing it better, faster, and more efficiently than any human lawyer ever could.

Fortunately, for most lawyers out there, your jobs are currently safe, but that might not be the case in a decade.

At this point, nearly every attorney out there has received a flash drive or CD/DVD-ROM filled with files in response to a request for production. These days, document productions are even exchanged via email.

While most of the time, getting discovery in electronic format is convenient for everyone, some ediscovery, like an image of a hard-drive for a consumer electronic device, like an iPhone, can be thousands of pages long and contain pages upon pages of incomprehensible gibberish. Reviewing all that raw data might seem like a waste of lawyer time, but can you, in good conscious, never even open the file before assigning a support staff to review, or sending it out? Do you really need to review the raw ediscovery, or can you just wait for the summary report?

Legal Tech Helps Sort Through JFK Files

Legal tech is helping to solve the Kennedy Assassination.

Wait, what? Isn't everybody old enough to pull the trigger in 1963 dead already?

Seriously, the JFK assassination is like the oldest conspiracy case since Elvis didn't die. But new tech is digging it up again, and you can blame the lawyers.

A recent AP story details some facts that appear to be particularly troubling for Georgia's Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, as he faces a lawsuit over the state's last two elections. Complicating the lawsuit, the state's main election servers have been deleted and completely wiped clean of any and all data.

The deletions came at rather suspect times, with the first server being deleted just days after the lawsuit was filed, and two others being scrubbed about a month later. In either case, it would seem that the state should have known better than to allow the servers to be scrubbed. Fortunately for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and the state and Kemp, the FBI had made a digital image of the servers before the lawsuit was ever even filed, and will provide a copy of their copy upon being provided with a proper request from the parties or court.

When it comes to wrongful convictions, usually it's the Innocence Project making headlines. However, it was recently announced that a joint project by the ABA Center for Innovation and the makers of the popular ediscovery software, Relativity, will be helping to stop and fight wrongful convictions.

The project is called DFENDR, which stands for Distributed Forensic Expert Network Delegating Review. Basically, Relativity has set up an ediscovery platform to allow for remote expert review of forensic evidence in potential wrongful conviction cases. Yes, that's a whole lot to unpack.

Without fail, in every litigation matter, this question is bound to come up (particularly around the time discovery responses are due): Will you accept service of pleadings and other documents via email? But, note, as one of our readers pointed out, in some states, such as Illinois, accepting pleadings via email is a requirement.

Under FRCP Rule 5, if the person being served consents to receiving service by electronic means, such as email or fax (or ECF), then service will be considered complete upon transmission. However, as the rule implies, you don't have to consent to electronic service (of documents that go through ECF), but doing so could prove rather beneficial. Most state courts also will allow service via email, if the party being served has consented.

Ellen Pao 'Resets' Gender Bias in Silicon Valley

In her book "Reset," Ellen Pao reveals critical details from her historic lawsuit that never made it to the jury.

Pao, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins, one of the nation's biggest venture capital firms, sued the company in the most-watched sex discrimination case in the history of the Silicon Valley. But she didn't get to explain some things, and that was most painful part of her experience.

"You've never done anything for women, have you?" the opposing counsel asked snidely.

Can Technology Save the 9th Circuit?

When a judge frames the issue in a case, sometimes it's a hint about which way the hearing is going to go.

"Rebooting the Ninth Circuit: Why Technology Cannot Solve Its Problems" was the titled issue of a hearing before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee. It was not a good sign for the American Bar Association, which weighed in on the issue.

"Contrary to the conclusory title of your hearing, the ABA believes that technological and procedural innovations have enabled the Ninth Circuit to handle caseloads efficiently and maintain a coherent and consistent body of law," Patricia Lee Refo wrote for the ABA.

So the ultimate question is whether the government will split the court of appeals. It's anybody's guess how this one is going to go.

Should Judges Be More Skeptical of Forensics?

"I'm free," Anthony Wright proclaimed. "I thank God for science."

Wright was exonerated of murder last year after 25 years in prison. He was the 344th person in the United States to be exonerated by DNA evidence.

This month, judges at the U.S. Ninth Circuit Judicial Council learned more about how faulty forensic evidence leads to exonerations. Legal experts told them to be skeptical of methods that don't pass scientific muster.

How Can Your Law Firm Use Facial Recognition Technology?

Maybe you can pick a face out of a crowd -- but how about a crowd of 10,000 faces?

Didn't think so. Neither did the lawyers who were trying to prove that a plaintiff was not at certain corporate events over a span of years. They had 10 terabytes of images but not enough time or money to review them.

Facial recognition software solved their problem. Don't you just love it when law and technology come together?