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We can hear you now: "What the hell is unstructured data?" Basically, it's any data that's not in a database. Think email, documents on a shared drive, social media, info on mobile devices -- you know, just 90% of the data out in the universe according to IDC.

Even scarier, according to IDC, unstructured data is growing at a rate of 50% per year. Yikes.

Why should you care? You're a hot shot attorney. Here's why: If your company, or a company you represent, is involved in litigation, guess who gets to go through all those files and pay for discovery? Not so cocky anymore, huh?

The legal field keeps the paper industry alive. From giant text books, to legal opinions, to filings and even bills -- lawyers like paper. But as technological developments increase office efficiencies, it's important for your law department or office to keep up with the times.

Whether you work at BigLaw, or are in-house counsel, you've probably encountered eBilling. If you haven't then it's time you have. If you work at a small firm, or are a solo practitioner, don't feel left out -- eBilling may be for you as well.

The Association of Corporate Counsel ("ACC") and Serengeti* conducted a survey of ACC members in 2010. Based on this information, the ACC posted an informative guide on the basics of eBilling written by Serengeti, which we're summarizing for you below. For a detailed review, you can purchase their 2010 survey.

With the Discovery Channel's famed "Shark Week" already upon us, lawyers using e-discovery could learn a thing or two. Sharks are slimy predators who ruthlessly scour the oceans for tasty morsels, constantly working to improve their methods of zeroing in on just the right information.

Here are a few tips on how to become an e-discovery shark and take a bite out of your competition.

What Is Metadata and How Can It Affect Your Case?

Image metadata is what led to software pioneer John McAfee's arrest, which has led a lot of people, especially lawyers, to ask what metadata is and how it may affect litigation.

It's not an incomprehensible technology, but it is a powerful tool for finding information about digital documents and images. Unless you take the time to strip it out, there is revealing metadata on every digital file you have, including briefs and evidence photos.

You don't want to give anything away about your own case, but you also want to know how to get this information from your opponents. So it's time for a crash course in metadata.

How to Organize Email Inboxes for Lawyers Without Assistants

Assistants and paralegals can make life as a lawyer much easier. And sometimes they can also help make you rich. But for the little things, like organizing your email inbox, assistants can prove invaluable.

Unfortunately, not every firm or solo practitioner can afford one. Sometimes you have to do everything on your own. As a result, organization can occasionally fall to the wayside. And email inboxes are usually the first casualty.

If this sounds like you, try taking the following steps to free yourself from the nightmare of a cluttered inbox.

As if lawyers need any more reasons to fear for their livelihoods in a tight job market, here’s another: Predictive coding is becoming more popular, and could make human document review somewhat obsolete.

Yes, the rise of robots is reaching into the realm of entry-level and contract legal work, the website Lawyerist reports. What used to take a roomful of document reviewers days, weeks, or even months to complete, can now largely be done by computer programs designed to quickly sift through terabytes of electronic data.

Three Easy Steps to e-Discovery Bliss

E-discovery. The very word can mean salvation for lawyers who are tired of dredging through thousands of pages of hard copy documents during the lengthy, time-consuming discovery process.

But, e-discovery is not as simple as it seems.

Sanctions for e-discovery violations are steep, and attorneys now also have to work in conjunction with IT teams to produce the discovery and map out how to produce the electronic documents.

In the first few phases of gathering and preparing your e-discovery, there are three easy steps that you can keep in mind to smooth over the process.

Top e-Discovery Vendors Rated in Gartner's First Magic Quadrant

Technology research firm Gartner has ventured into the world of litigation, releasing its first ever e-Discovery Magic Quadrant, an evaluation of 24 of the top vendors touting e-Discovery solutions.

A graphical representation of each firm's relative position in today's market, Gartner's report places each company in one of four categories: leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players.

If you or your firm is in the process of purchasing and evaluating new software, the e-Discovery Magic Quadrant might be for you.

Accidentally Waived Privilege: Firm Can't Blame e-Discovery Vendor

A litigant may waive privilege when an inadvertent disclosure is made as a result of a failure to check a production database created by an e-Discovery vendor prior to its going live.

In other words, attorneys who fail to double-check production databases and ensure that no privileged documents have been improperly included may be accidentally waiving privilege.

This decision from a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois means an attorney could open  themselves up to a malpractice suit.

Cops Searching Laptops: How to Protect Attorney-Client Privilege

Technology and computers has shifted most legal work from paperwork to digital work. The computer age, however, provides some interesting entanglement with ethics, especially when you run into sticky situations with the law: like when attorney-client privilege and laptops end up mixed together.

For example, what happens to attorney-client privilege if a search warrant is issued against you?

Well, of course you’d alert the authorities and whoever is searching your stuff that some of the materials they are gathering are potentially privileged.