eDiscovery in SA - Herbert Smith Freehills follow the sun!

Regular readers will know that I rarely dedicate an entire post to one firm or another but I am making an exception as what is happening here at HSF is radical and could have a major impact on SA, especially with regard to eDiscovery, which of course is my major interest. 

Going back in time, Herbert Smith was a Silver Circle law firm in the UK with a big reputation in litigation. In my time in the UK I did a great deal of work with them. Then in 2012 they merged with the top 6 Australian law firm Freehills and now have 27 offices and employ almost 5000 people worldwide.  They operate as one global team using best of breed and innovative systems looking after all legal services. If you look at their website you will see that they care about their markets and communities in which they operate and one of their aims and missions is to be the leading global law firm in relation to the attraction, retention and promotion of women. I will refer later to the latter point. 

eDiscovery in SA - using eDiscovery technology is too expensive for SA??

No, it is not! 

I hear the comments about the cost of eDiscovery technology very often here in SA, and, to be fair, I used to hear them quite often in the UK too, until there was more use and enlightenment. Although I have referred to it in previous blog posts I thought we should dedicate an entire post to the subject. Timing is everything, and recently I am aware of more and more cases within SA using technology, as well as comments about increasing volumes of electronic data and/or technology not being used to its best advantage. All of these, have significant impact on cost. However it goes much much deeper, in that, in truth it is all about education and understanding.

eDiscovery in SA - closing off 2018

As we enter that time of the year in SA when the country seems to close down for a few weeks it is good to look back and see how, or if, we have progressed as far as eDiscovery is concerned. In my first post of the year I asked if 2018 could be SA’s most important year so far in eDiscovery

I would say that it has been a success and many of the signs that I predicted have come to fruition. Of course the major disappointment is that we have seen and heard nothing from the Rules Board about the proposals to amend the Uniform Rules to incorporate eDiscovery - more on that later - and another related disappointment is that POPIA has not yet been implemented despite being passed in 2013 and promised for 2018! Hey ho - this is South Africa, where the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs!

eDiscovery in SA - Fantastic solution in SA for medico-legal and commercial fields

I have mentioned many times over the last 4 years that one of the greatest challenges here in SA is that so many good software solutions emanate from the US, UK or Australia with pricing in their currency which does not translate well into our economy. Imagine how my interest was sparked when I came into contact with a hardware and software solution which is actually developed here in SA and therefore priced for this market. This is a really really excellent solution with a variety of uses, including eDiscovery, and after all of my questions were answered I am left excited about where this can take us.

The product is called ColdCall - www.coldcall.cc/ - and in simple terms it records every telephone call made and received on the cell phone but also does a whole lot more. I recently met one of the founders of this solution, the eminent neurosurgeon Dr Adriaan Liebenberg who gave me all the details. Let us take a brief look at how it works in the fields of medicine, legal and the commercial world and then examine how it can aid eDiscovery. 

eDiscovery in SA - Cyanre/Lextrado staff end of year event

I was very happy to accept an invitation to attend this company end of year event, although my only qualification for doing so is simply because my wife Waseema works for Lextrado!

During my working life I have held and been invited to numerous such events so you may wonder why I am writing about this one. It held all of the usual content in terms of good food and drink, great venue, internal humorous awards and excellent company, but there was something extra. Not only were all of the staff of the two sister companies invited, but also their partners and children. The attention to detail in making it a wonderful event with so much aimed at the children was inspiring. Lots of activities including the hiring of a children’s entertainer and especially individual Xmas gifts to each child as well as to each staff member and family contributed to the atmosphere. 

eDiscovery in SA - Uniform Rules and Sections 14 & 15 ECTA 2002 are hopelessly out of date

When commenting on one of my latest updates, one of my longest standing industry friends, Jonathan Maas, wrote in his regular blog recently “….South Africa will be one of the last common law jurisdictions to begin developing legal procedure and jurisprudence in relation to eDiscovery….”. 

Sad state of affairs but very true and all of my readers know how much effort I have put into this over the last 3 years or more. I hope to have more news before the end of the year as I am the eternal optimist, but meanwhile I want to take another look at how discovery and/or eDiscovery is currently being handled in SA.

eDiscovery in SA - What is the relevance of BYOD to eDiscovery?

The short answer is quite a lot with the potential importance of a mobile device containing a “case winning” or “case losing” communication. However, before looking at that aspect I want to talk about the principe of BYOD itself. I should begin with the acronym, which does not mean, as one Sandton lawyer suggested when I was presenting eDiscovery to his firm, “Bring Your Own Drinks”. He was joking of course and we all know that it means Bring Your Own Device. Simply, it is a situation whereby an employee, with the permission of the employer, uses his or her own mobile device or devices for the purposes of the employers business and therefore has access to the company’s applications and information. It is commonplace in SA I have found.

eDiscovery in SA - Significant development on Discovery Rules change

Every country that has adopted eDiscovery into its civil procedure rules has found the support of a Judge or a number of Judges. Indeed in many jurisdictions, members of the judiciary have been drivers or extremely instrumental in the changes. We have not had that luxury or benefit here in SA, relying solely on committees or sub-committees within the Rules Board, which are, at best, part time people who meet infrequently.