Monthly Archives: November 2012

Smarter than the average Berra

It is that time of year again when predictions are flying about and, as anyone who has been asked to make predictions will tell you, predictions do not get any easier. In fact, it has been said, “predictions are difficult, especially about the future.”

You may imagine my delight when I heard that quotation at the recent 7th Annual e-Disclosure Forum in London organised by Thomson Reuters. While I had been brought up on cartoon characters such as Huckleberry Finn, the Flintstones and above all, my favourite, Yogi Bear, I never expected to hear Yogi quoted at a serious conference on e-disclosure.

I may have missed the next few minutes of the session as I mused on the antics of the cartoon bear, his companion Boo-Boo and the scrapes they got into with Jellystone Park’s own Ranger Smith. It was, therefore, with some bewilderment and dismay that I subsequently learned that, clever as he was in his bearish way, Yogi had never uttered the words in question. It was, in fact, the American baseball player of  the postwar era by the name of Yogi Berra.

Continue reading

All in the mix revisited

Amongst all the articles which have been written on the emergence of predictive coding, aka Computer Assisted Review/Technology Assisted Review (CAR/TAR), it is noticeable that few contain references to any specific cases.

There are, of course, exceptions such as the case study Predicting the Future of e-Disclosure prepared by James Moeskops of Millnet in conjunction with Dominic Lacey and Jamie Tanner of Eversheds which has been featured here before and my own post Case Study: All in the mix [Smart e-Discovery, 26th June, 2012] in which Emma Kettleton described a project on which she was working earlier in the year.

Emma has now written further on the subject as the project has evolved and it seems appropriate to publish this update now.

The dispute concerned an allegation of overdrawing by one partner in a business and it soon emerged that there would be difficulties in agreeing appropriate keywords because much of the documentation, consisting largely of emails, concerned the ordinary conduct of the business by the parties. Finding appropriate keywords was a problem.

The solution adopted was CAR/TAR which resulted in a near 50% saving in cost for the client.

The updated case study can be found here: Case Study: All in the mix revisited

The lone ranger

A sense of perspective is vital to the practice of law these days. In truth, it probably always was!

Remember the Lone Ranger? You do not have to have been born in the 1950s and 1960s to remember the show as reruns of this popular series were being screened only a few years ago and, incredibly, there is a film due in 2013.

To television viewers, the Lone Ranger was a masked former Texas ranger often astride his white stallion, Silver and accompanied by his Native American companion Tonto. (I used to be concerned that the word “tonto” in Spanish means stupid but was, at least partly, reassured to learn that in the Spanish language version of the stories, Tonto has become “Toro” the Spanish for bull.)

The relative perspectives of the Lone Ranger and Tonto are illustrated by the story of the two of them camping in the desert. The Lone Ranger woke up in the middle of the night and gazed at the stars above him.

Tonto asked him: “What do they mean”? Continue reading

Every cloud…

You knew it was serious when the beach in front of the hotel was closed and tractors started up and down removing various temporary structures. It did not need the pool attendant to remark that there was a tropical storm coming to realise that this was going to be more than a bit of wind and rain.

I cannot mention Hurricane Sandy without sparing a thought for all those who lost their lives or suffered material loss or even some temporary inconvenience. None of what follows is any way intended to make light of the sometimes horrific effect of the category one storm as it blew across the Caribbean, up the east coast of Florida ever northwards before turning inland with devastating force over New Jersey and New York. When you factor in the devastation and disruption caused by Sandy, we were extremely lucky to lose only part of the garden of the hotel to the storm (soon to be restored I understand) and to be able to watch the 20 foot waves crashing onto the beach and the waves in excess of 30 feet high running up the distant Gulf Stream from the comfort and safety of the hotel conference room and/or bar.

Continue reading

What did Delaware?

If you are of a certain age, the song by Perry Como may come to mind, combining a catchy tune with the names of some 15 US States to create a jolly, jokey offering which today seems somewhat innocent and naïve.

Anyway, a new name has now been added to the pantheon of judges extolling the virtues of predictive coding, or as it may be more usefully called, computer assisted review (CAR).

Just last month, Vice Chancellor J Travis Laster, in the Delaware Chancery Court became the first judge I am aware of to order the parties to use CAR even though neither party had asked for it. Not content with that, the judge also ordered both parties to use the same vendor!

Ralph Losey’s blog carries the full report: Surprise Ruling by Delaware Judge Orders Both Sides To Use Predictive Coding [e-Discovery Team, 25th October, 2012] .

Although the case arose out of a dispute involving the sale of Hooters, a well known restaurant famous for its chicken and scantily clad waitresses (there used to be one in Birmingham where a trumpeter played his trumpet plaintively at all hours of the day and night such that you wanted to strangle him!), it is clear from the report that this particular judge is smitten with the concept of CAR.

The exact words of the ruling by the judge and the transcript of the hearing are well worth a read. It is clear that this is another step on the road, at any rate in Delaware, to CAR being adopted as the default position. After all no one asked for it and no one was accused of any wrongdoing beforehand.

Is this what we can expect after April 2013 in this country? I would not bet against it!