The International Legal Technology Association’s annual conference wrapped up two weeks ago and the cyberways are abuzz with comments on the various presentations. One discussion of note focused on issues facing corporate IT. The message: they have no one to talk to inside the law firms. In-house counsel speak to their internal teams. Outside counsel speak to their teams. But the people who handle the data directly don’t talk to each other. And it’s causing problems.
In his seminar on defensible e-Discovery strategies, Browning Marean of DLA Piper in San Diego refers to this as the “Geek to Geek dance” (that is with a capital G out of respect to those who talk in zeros and ones).
Although corporations are getting smarter about the way they handle their ESI, bringing more technology in house and hiring more IT to handle it, Mr. Marean noted that both lawyers and their clients need to rethink the way they communicate with each other. In particular, he said that they need to bring the data experts together to have conversations with each other.
The real hurdles that need to be overcome are not technological, they’re human. Lawyers who try to decipher and communicate complex information about data to each other often don’t appreciate the details. They either understand most, some or none of the conversation. Even in the best scenario, a lot gets lost in translation.
The Geeks need to be talking to each other directly. Moreover, these conversations need to happen at the onset of the case. The Geeks, or at least the chief Geek, should also be integrated into the broader client development strategy. Set up a lunch or a meet and greet between your Geek and your client’s Geeks so they can learn from each other in advance of the next big piece of litigation.
Wortzman Nickle can assist you in bridging the gap between legal and IT. Call us for all your Geek-speak to legalese translation needs.