Day 4 of the California State Bar Meeting

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The morning began with us pondering an interesting question. What would Lincoln do? As a lawyer first and then a President, Lincoln often faced ethical dilemmas which he worked his way through in a smooth and commendable manner. If you despise what you are doing you won’t do it well. In honor of the year of the 200th birthday of Mr. Lincoln, it was an interesting seminar to examine how we would in the modern era use the same principles he applied over a century ago. As you head back to work, if you are faced with ethical dilemmas, ask yourself… What would Lincoln do?

E-Discovery has been a very hot topic throughout the conference. This morning’s session was full of useful information about both ethics and rules of discovery. Check out Electronic Discovery for Dummies it is a great reference that highlights e-discovery. There is so much that exists in the files beyond just the data they contain, in fact they can tell you when they were created if and when they were altered and who made these alterations. E discovery is a very expensive process and often the cost is shifted to the requesting party, however most cases look at several factors. Email is the world’s largest communication tool with trillions of messages transmitted each year.

The most important lesson I learned today is don’t type anything you do not want discovered! If you are looking to discover almost any document you will likely be able to. If you are looking to hide it, you better have a protective order of some sort. There is Electronic discovery software which can discover how and when the document was altered and by what login name. There was a case where a slanderous document was at issue; the party saying they had never said those things! But the document was filled with slanderous words, and through this software they were able to see that the document had been altered from a different login computer and printed from a different login.

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It was a wonderful meeting and I look forward to the 83rd Annual State Bar of California Meeting. If you weren’t able to come to this one, check out the Hong Kong conference in early November!

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