Education, education, errm…

By | 11th February 2010

Fresh from the mauling the Chilcot inquisitors suffered recently at the hands of Tony Blair, the former PM would doubtless wish to offer a similarly spirited and robust defence of his 1996 speech when campaigning for the return of a Government of New Labour, in which he asserted that the three main priorities for government were: Education, Education, Education.

My recollection, on first hearing this speech, was that I thought immediately of the rather turgid 1970 film about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, called “Tora. Tora, Tora”! Presumably this was because I did not take the content of the speech seriously enough and could only think of the film with a similarly three-worded title (which I believe means “Attack, Attack, Attack”)!

Now, 14 years after the speech and billions of pounds of investment later, some would argue that the priorities had not necessarily been achieved and might question whether the money had been put to good use.

It was therefore with a wry smile that I noticed that Lord Justice Jackson, in his final report, made education something of a favourite theme when it came to dealing with electronic disclosure. He expressed the hope that judges and lawyers dealing with electronic disclosure might have training and be educated in the noble art of handling e-discovery effectively and expressed the hope that this would happen sooner rather than later.

I could not agree more! I will, however, temper my enthusiasm for his cause by remembering the Blair exhortation and the actual outcome!

Despite this initial scepticism (and returning to my New Year theme of “strategy”) I want to encourage anyone who has to deal with early case assessment, review of documents, disclosure, witness statements, preparation for trial, or whose work involves sifting through piles of documents or hard drives containing millions ( or sometimes merely a few thousand) of emails, to learn what is out there in the market to help them complete that task effectively.

A number of providers have good websites or offer video representations of their wares or podcasts you can download, so there really is no reason for potential users of e-discovery services not to know what is there.

What is really encouraging, however, is that since the publication of the Jackson report, there appears to be an increase in the number of law firms making enquiries about training in this area. This has to be good news both from the wider perspective but also from the narrower position of a provider of such services in the marketplace.

I would like to encourage anyone with an interest to pick up the telephone and talk to one of the providers in the market. From my own company point of view, we welcome such contact and often do not charge for the training.

Perhaps there is something in the mantra, “Education, Education, Education” after all!

[Charles can be contacted on 020-7422-8800 and more details of Millnet’s Smart e-Discovery services can be found at]