Symposium on eDiscovery Deemed A “Huge Success”

Symposium on eDiscovery Deemed A “Huge Success”

The long anticipated Rutgers Business Law Journal Symposium on eDiscovery and its impact on corporate governance and litigation is now over; and by all accounts it was a huge success. This event featured many distinguished guests, speakers, panelists, and our very own Fernando M. Pinguelo who served as moderator for the in-house counsel panel. All throughout the day, attendees learned priceless information about eDiscovery.

The event launched with a keynote speech from The Honorable Edwin H. Stern, Presiding Judge for Administration, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. Judge Stern enlightened the audience on his view of emails, and gave a live demonstration with the use of his Blackberry. He noted how he gets hundreds of emails a day and that these emails would have never been sent had it not been for the internet. “The internet allows us to easily ask people the most miniscule questions with the click of a button,” said Judge Stern.

With the availability of communication via the internet come more challenges. The more people talk and connect with each other over the internet, the more the likelihood arises that there will be discrepancies and altercations concerning online documents. It is with this in mind that the “Litigation Readiness and Responsiveness” panel moderated by Fernando discussed how in-house counsel and businesses address eDiscovery.

In order to address an upcoming litigation, everyone must start preserving relevant electronic documents as soon as they first anticipate a lawsuit. The panel stressed the importance of not waiting until a lawsuit is actually filed before a plan or protocol is put in place addressing document management and preservation issues. Allison L. Brecher, Esq., Senior Litigation Counsel and Director of Information Management & Strategy, Marsh & McLennan and co-author of the book eDiscovery Plain & Simple, discussed how important it is to work with Human Resources and other departments within a company. Companies need counsel, IT people, and HR people to work together and develop a basic written protocol addressing eDiscovery. By creating a “team-based effort” a company will be better connected and thus more capable of successfully dealing with eDiscovery. “The cost of eDiscovery can be massive and everyone must try to follow company protocol to save money,” added Brecher.

The panel also discussed how to get companies to respond to warnings about eDiscovery. No one ever wants to believe they will be the one to lose their company over eDiscovery violations. Bruce J. Hector, Esq., Associate General Counsel and Chief Litigation Counsel at Becton Dickinson and Company, stressed the importance of making eDiscovery real to people. “We have to make it hit home. If a lawyer is telling a company something could happen, companies may think it’s disconnected from them; they believe it probably won’t happen. If we can have someone telling them ‘this happened to me’ people will realize that following eDiscovery is no joke. eDiscovery is not going away; companies can and will get into serious problems by not following procedure,” said Hector.

Terri L. Reicher, Associate Vice President and Associate General Counsel specializing in litigation for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA), added that having and maintaining open lines of communication with a business’ IT department is very important and both legal and IT should take the time to understand each others’ needs and expectations in order to make the eDiscovery process manageable.

In all, the in-house panel moderated by Fernando addressed many of the eDiscovery issues confronting company legal departments.

The symposium also featured a keynote address by James A. Batson, Esq. Mr. Batson was counsel of record for the plaintiff on all of the widely-followed Zubulake v. UBS Warburg decisions. Mr. Batson offered candid insight into his handling of Zubulake v. UBS Warburg. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Laura Zubulake in the

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amount of $29.2 Million, which consisted of $9.1 Million in compensatory damages and $20.1 Million in punitive damages.

Overall, the Symposium was intriguing and enlightening. According to Jack L. Zatz, Rutgers Business Law Journal Symposium Editor, “the program was a huge success.” “We thank our esteemed panelists and moderators for an insightful and useful presentation. Since eDiscovery and the impact technology continues to have on the law are such burgeoning issues that continue to impact businesses, we expect that this will become an annual event and we look to position the Rutgers Business Law Journal as a leader in presenting programs of this caliber that address these areas.”

Each speaker gave first-hand accounts about what can happen when eDiscovery is not addresses appropriately. It is extremely important to have eDiscovery protocol and follow it; if you don’t, courts want to know why. Employees and companies must do their part to follow the rules and regulations concerning electronic documents. If they don’t, they will end up paying for it!

To view pictures of the event, click here. To learn more about how and why employees and others find themselves in undesirable positions related to eDiscovery mishaps, use eLLblog’s unique new search feature “eLessons By Position Implicated” and select the category of individual you are most interested in learning about.


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    The blog takes a clever approach to [e-discovery]. Each post discusses an e-discovery case that involves an e-discovery mishap, generally by a company employee. It discusses the conduct that constituted the mishap and then offers its ‘e-lesson’ — a suggestion on how to learn from the mistake and avoid it happening to you.

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