Monthly Archives: March 2010

To boldly go

What clients want is a fence at the top of the cliff rather than an ambulance at the bottom. 

Richard Susskind’s analogy, accompanied by the appropriate slide, the contents of which I will leave to your imagination, was one of a number of catchy themes he used to describe the changing world of legal services last week at the Commercial Litigators’ Forum. 

What came to mind as he spoke was an image of Starship Enterprise and a reminder of the most celebrated split infinitive in the entire universe.  Whilst the opening credits of Star Trek talk of the ship’s mission “to boldly go where no man has gone before”,  back on earth my mind was on the bold new frontiers facing those engaged in the business of litigation. 

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Who goes there?

Security concerns are in the headlines again. Fortunately not the 9/11 type but serious nonetheless.

Take for example the attempts by Google to photograph every street in the country and to post the results online. House owners fear the information will turn into a burglars’ charter.

Or the report that government backed hackers from Russia and China are targeting companies with a view to obtaining government defence and technology information. Not particularly reassuring, if true.

Sadly, we are all to conscious of reports that supposedly secure and confidential information has been lost, has been hacked into or has been found blowing in the wind down a street or waiting to become seagull fodder on a waste tip.

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Litigating in the 21st Century

Slaughter & May hosted the latest meeting of the Commercial Litigators’ Forum on March 17th. The theme of the evening was “Litigating in the 21st Century” and there was a huge turn out.

Perhaps this was not surprising as the speakers were Professor Richard Susskind OBE and Robert Graham-Campbell of Maitland Chambers.

The aim of the seminar was “to provide clients with an overview of the implications for the traditional litigation model of Lord Justice Jackson’s Civil Litigation Costs Review, developments in the outsourcing market and the proposed introduction of alternative business structures such as Legal Disciplinary Partnerships and Barrister-only Partnerships”.

Any clients attending were, I suspect, the happier bunch at the end of the evening as the lawyers’ traditional model took something of a hammering despite spirited opposition from the floor at question time.

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Stevie is my dahling

The model and author Sophie Dahl, probably most famous not for being Roald Dahl’s grand-daughter but for her traffic stopping billboard appearances in an Opium ad for Yves St Laurent, is about to star in her own television series starting on BBC 2 on March 23rd at 8.30pm.

“The Delicious Miss Dahl” (and that is the title of the series and not just my opinion!) is to become the latest television cook as a result of the success of “Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights” (that’s the title of the book and not only my view. Do keep awake at the back!!).

Those of us who enjoy our food, both the eating and the cooking, are used to watching the sensual Nigella Lawson in her kitchen, and Sophie Dahl’s new show promises to be another visual and culinary delight.

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What is life?

What is life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

Most of us rarely have time to look at the great buildings which surround our places of work or rest. W. H. Davies thought that life was not worth having if you could not enjoy a good gawp in a leisurely fashion.

Recently, I have had an opportunity to look rather more closely at some of the buildings in the City of London and in Norwich, which was, from the 11th century until it was overtaken by the expansion of Bristol largely as a result of the slave trade, the second most important city in England.

To give you a taste of what I mean, I noted that:

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It never rains..

It happened to me again this morning! You will all be familiar with the scenario. You wait in the cold for many minutes for the one bus which will take you to your destination and having got thoroughly miserable and frustrated, not one but two buses turn up together.

It seems like that in the world of e-discovery!

In the last week, the judgment in Goodale v Ministry of Justice has been published and, excitingly, so has the draft of the Technology Questionnaire, currently in a subcommittee of the Rules Committee.

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The cat’s out of the bag

The judgment in Gavin Goodale & Others v The Ministry of Justice & Others was delivered by the Senior Master, Master Whitaker, in November last year and is now available on BAILII []

Master Whitaker is well known as an advocate of proportionate e-disclosure in appropriate cases and also as a judge experienced in dealing with Group Litigation orders as in this case involving the Opiate Dependent Prisoners Litigation.

What makes this judgment of particular interest to those involved in the whole area of electronic disclosure is the fact that the Master saw fit to include in his judgement the ESI questionnaire which the Rule Committee decided recently to refer to another subcommittee.

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Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

Chris Dale begins his report Millnet offer £10,000 of e-Discovery services for free  with Virgil’s phrase, “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” which is commonly, if loosely, translated as “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

If you have been abreast of recent economic developments, you will know that the Greeks are unlikely to be bearing any gifts for anyone just now. The poor things have been led by the nose ever since entry into the euro into believing that their Government can go on spending money without any idea how they are going to pay it back. We in this country should on no account be smug as our Government has been the most profligate ever and has racked up debts which will keep us all in hock for years to come.

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