eDiscovery Consultant

eDiscovery in SA - Changing the Uniform Rules, POPIA, hosting in the cloud, and child adoption in SA

Firstly, sincere thanks to all who sent work anniversary wishes and congratulations - very much appreciated and hard to believe it is 5 years!

I thought we should take a look and see where we are in SA on these matters. Changing the Uniform Rules to incorporate eDiscovery has been and still is, as regular readers know, my mission. It is now almost 5 years since I embarked on the journey and more than 2 years since I presented to the High Court Committee of the Rules Board. You will also know that with the help of the Law Society of SA (as was!) we drafted simple brief amendments and submitted them to the Rules Board and then we waited and waited. Two weeks ago I received a response from the Rules Board to my latest request for an update and the text of the reply is as follows:- “The Board is in the process of finalising the composition of the Task Team that is to deal with the e-development of the Rules. Once finalised, the Team will commence its work, with attention focused initially on the area of e-discovery.” Subsequently, I have offered advice and assistance from myself and others in SA together with people from the UK and New Zealand who have been involved in changing the Rules in their respective countries. So, now you know as much as I do as to where we are on this. Will it happen? I am sure it will. When will it happen? I have no idea. Why does it take so long? Because this is South Africa.

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 - 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.

eDiscovery in SA - 2018 review to date, Keywords, TAR, LPA, POPIA and all that jazz

There are law firms that have used eDiscovery technology in 2018 for the very first time. There are law firms that, in the past, have chosen not to show interest in eDiscovery technology but, this year, asked for presentations, so that they could “bring ourselves up to date” as one Director of a large law firm told me recently.