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EDI 2009- Ethics and E-Discovery New and Emerging Issues


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EDI 2009- Ethics and E-Discovery New and Emerging Issues

  1. 1. Ethics and E-Discovery New and Emerging Issues Edward H. Rippey Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Ethics of Off-Shoring </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics of Self Collection </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics and Metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics and Privilege </li></ul>
  3. 3. Off-Shoring <ul><li>Off-shoring of lawyer and non-lawyer tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost savings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potential Risks or Concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidentiality concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of ability to properly supervise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership and control of documents </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Off-Shoring: The Ethics <ul><li>ABA Opinion </li></ul><ul><li>State Opinions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>North Carolina State Bar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Florida State Opinion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other Opinions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New York City </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>San Diego County </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Los Angeles County </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Key Take Away Points <ul><li>Check your specific jurisdiction’s ethics rules and case law before engaging in off-shoring </li></ul><ul><li>Generally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Off-Shoring legal services permitted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adequate supervision is required </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Client consent may be required </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Steps to safeguard confidential information and privileged communications must be taken </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supervising lawyer ultimately responsible for work of off-shore attorneys </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Ethics of Self Collection <ul><li>“Self collection” is the process of the client collecting all or part of documents pursuant to a discovery request. </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be most cost effective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be more efficient (client knows electronic systems better than outside counsel) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potential Risks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May be scrutinized more by courts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential for error may be greater </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could disadvantage outside counsel in motions practice (if counsel does not fully understand the steps taken to collect documents) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Key Considerations <ul><li>Ensure that both inside and outside counsel supervises any self collection effort. </li></ul><ul><li>Be able to articulate search methodology to opposing counsel or to a court </li></ul><ul><li>Consider outside counsel collection of priority custodians </li></ul>
  8. 8. Ethics and Metadata <ul><li>“Metadata” is data about data. </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata must be preserved. </li></ul><ul><li>Confer with opposing counsel as to which metadata fields should be produced. </li></ul><ul><li>Use outgoing “scrubber,” which removes certain metadata, to send documents outside your place of business. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Ethics and Metadata <ul><li>Obligation to ensure that clients’ metadata is protected from inadvertent production/disclosure </li></ul><ul><li>Whether it is ethically permissible to “mine” metadata received from opposing party </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Split in jurisdictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mining Not Permitted: ( e.g., Alabama, New York, and Maine) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mining Permitted: ( e.g., ABA, Colorado, and Maryland) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Ethics and Privilege <ul><li>Privilege issues arise in the context of e-discovery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater chance that documents will be inadvertently produced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ethical requirements of counsel receiving inadvertently produced privileged information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waiver issues </li></ul></ul>