Educating IT and Legal on legal risk management

Synopsis Part 1: Electronic Discovery: Legal counsel’s mood and can we handle blogs and wikis?
Synopsis Part 2: Educating IT and Legal on legal risk management

data discovery interview –  James “Jim” K. Wagner Jr., CEO and Co-Founder, DiscoverReady LLC, (Part 2 of 4)

Jim Wagner is a co-founder of DiscoverReady LLC, a national provider of
integrated discovery management services, and is a frequent public
speaker on best practices for effectively gathering and reviewing
electronic discovery.  Jim is responsible for many of DiscoverReady’s
strategic initiatives, including the development of its
industry-leading PrivBank™ application and its progressive i-Decision™
process. (more)

By Joshua Konkle writing for

Joshua Konkle: How do you educate the IT people on important legal concepts?

Jim Wagner: Some IT professionals are actually better-versed on discovery case law than their legal counterparts.  It’s not that the level of IT interest is lacking – the bigger challenge is getting the legal team to review the case law and boil it down to a relatively clean list of rules the IT teams can follow.  IT professionals have a huge interest in solving the technical aspects of these problems, but legal has so many competing interests that it’s difficult for them to resolve the issues to a “clean list of rules.”

Joshua Konkle: How do you educate legal counsel on IT?

Jim Wagner: It is critical that the responsible lawyer understand what data exists and how it is stored and managed.  Appoint a lead from your legal team to liaise with your IT team across all matters and make it part of their “real job.” 

There is no other option.

Some core examples for IT lawyers include understanding:

  • how enterprise email systems work, including server storage versus local storage.
  • the difference between archiving and journaling
  • the difference between network disk storage and tape backup

Here’s a basic example: if someone says email is backed up nightly (but not Journaled), the resultant backup is dependent on the daily email usage.  Under this scenario, users can delete “same day” email before the backup occurs and those messages will never appear on backup tapes.  Legal must understand the gaps like these in the data set and be able to address them in court. 

The greatest challenge we experience is the requirement to educate IT and legal teams on the downstream impact of their technology decisions (e.g., an application may be a dream to manage for the IT team but could be very poor for review and production purposes).  Our challenge is getting both teams to factor in functionality for all stakeholders and the impact of downstream costs, such as review, legal risk, analysis, etc., to their overall Return On Investment (ROI) calculations.

For example, Attenex is one of the best eDiscovery processing and review solutions in the enterprise market today.  They offer great documentation, a strong infrastructure and defensible reporting capability, which ensure the application is well-suited to serve the enterprise.  However, in making the decision whether to purchase an enterprise application like Attenex you must take into consideration a host of functionality and ROI-related factors, including cost to build technology infrastructure, as well as cost savings from improved attorney review.

you would like to communicate with Jim directly, he can be reached at
info(at) or by calling DiscoverReady at 1 212 699 3960. publishes interviews with legal professionals; click here for more eDiscovery interviews.

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