The legal discovery landscape has changed in significant ways in the past few years. We used to identify our client’s relevant records, typically by searching through paper files and bankers’ boxes. Now we have Discovery Plans and Meet and Confers. We also have far more information in digital form than we used to. In fact, according to the latest Digital Universe Study by IDC, the volume of information in digital form is doubling every two years.
Although more and more lawyers are becoming what they would consider to be tech-savvy, using an iPad to answer emails during lunch doesn’t necessarily prepare one for the cut-throat world of Legal IT-speak. TIFFs, CSVs, and a whole host of other arcane acronyms make up day to day conversations between lit-support people and their ever faithful IT support staff.
Having a conversational knowledge of Legal IT-speak is becoming more and more of a necessity for lawyers, not only so that they can successfully manage the e-discovery process, but also as a means of surviving a Meet and Confer with an opposing party who is conversant in the language. Unfortunately, with most lawyers’ heavy demands to support their practice, combined with what they consider to be an exceptionally dreary topic of computer innards, how can this be accomplished?
Luckily, there are a number of resources one can turn to for Legal IT language support. The Sedona Canada Principles includes a glossary of terms that provides a list of buzz words. Another option is attending one of several courses currently being offered that are specifically geared towards legal professionals who need to have more than a basic understanding of the IT terms and concepts that are important to electronic discovery. Finally, legal-technology gurus can assist lawyers and their staff to get the most from the give and take of a meet and confer or discovery plan negotiation.
Whether it’s trying to figure out if the NAS contains anything relevant, or recognizing that TIFF is probably not the best format for XLS records, having a good understanding of Legal-IT speak is an important part of providing the best representation for your client.