Monthly Archives: September 2012

Olympian achievement

For rather less time, and over shorter distances than the heroic Mo Farah, Millnet’s blog has been running for over three years now. The actual anniversary was lost in the euphoria surrounding the stellar performance of Team GB at the Olympics, followed closely by the team’s spectacular efforts in the Paralympics which followed.

Apart from holidays, I cannot recall a time when there has been so little visible activity on this blog! I would like to claim that it is all a giant post Olympic hangover but the truth is more prosaic in that the Millnet team has been working on some exciting new projects for clients both old and new.

Added to that, we have our forthcoming trip to the US to plan, when my colleague Naj Bueno and I will be attending the Fall Conference of Litigation Counsel of America in West Palm Beach, Florida, following which I will be passing through New Orleans and Atlanta while Naj will be in Chicago and Miami.

But, enough of excuses! It has been a busy time but that is always preferable to sitting around twiddling your thumbs.

So what have we been up to? Obviously I cannot go into the details of instructions received or cases discussed with clients, but I am pleased to be able to say that there is now a steady stream of cases involving US law firms as well as some interesting cases from more established clients.

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Spare the rod

I have been reflecting recently on why litigants might choose a particular court to hear a dispute. Leaving aside any rule which determines where a dispute must be heard, if litigants had a free choice in the matter, they would choose a court which was conveniently located, where the in court facilities were sufficient, and where the judiciary was known to have the relevant experience and expertise and operated a speedy and efficient court.

A recent example is the decision of the claimants in the first LIBOR fixing case to commence proceedings in the Mercantile Court in Birmingham before His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC. [see Friends, Romans, countrymen.. Smart e-Discovery, 7th August, 2012]

Proceedings might well have been started in a number of other courts but the claimants clearly decided that the court with the closest connection with the facts or witnesses was Birmingham which is also renowned for the way in which the local judiciary conducts cases, as a result of the recent pilot project championed by Simon Brown.

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Ask a man who can

I am not a DIY fan.

According to Wikipedia:

“The DIY ethic refers to the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert. Literally meaning “do it yourself,” the DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists. The DIY ethic requires that the adherent seeks out the knowledge required to complete a given task. The term can refer to a variety of disciplines, including home improvement, first aid or creative works.

Rather than belittling or showing disdain for those who engage in manual labour or skilled crafts, DIY champions the average individual seeking such knowledge and expertise. Central to the ethic is the empowerment of individuals and communities, encouraging the employment of alternative approaches when faced with bureaucratic or societal obstacles to achieving their objectives.”

The idea is brilliant but the execution often fails and inevitably makes me hot and bothered. Nothing is more irritating than to apply oneself to a task only to find that, on completion, it has not turned out as anticipated, or worse still, the resulting mess places you in a less enviable position than when you started. As night follows day, I have to find someone who knows what they are doing and pay him or her to tidy up my mess before they can do the job properly. All this involves an expenditure of time and money which is best avoided if at all possible. After all, no one wants to spend time and incur expense to no good purpose, particularly if the end result does not achieve the objective and costs more to put right than if the job had been done properly in the first place. Even more unpalatable, is if the mess you create renders the original objective impossible to achieve.

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Size matters

One of the aspects of electronic documents which puzzles litigation lawyers is the amount represented by a megabyte or a terabyte and all gradations between and beyond!

I have seen lawyers’ eyes glaze over at the mere mention of a gigabyte.  All they want or need is to be able to visualise what is involved. After all, we all had an idea of what was meant by a file or a bankers’ box, even though both came in different sizes. Similarly with a lever arch file, which might hold different numbers of sheets of paper depending on the size of the sheets and/or the ingenuity of the person filling the file.

My colleague John Lapraik (formerly a litigation partner at Kennedys) likes to perform a double jump and translate the electronic to paper in his mind, filling the resulting lever arch files without mentioning the process to the lawyers. He can then explain that “x” amount of gigabytes equates to “y” miles of lever arch files!

There are many excellent commentators in the e-discovery/disclosure field and one of the best known is Ralph Losey. Reading his e-Discovery Team blog recently I noticed a side block containing a ready reckoner on just this subject and I feel sure he will not mind if I reproduce it here:

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