Judge Shira Scheindlin’s Zubulake decision still allows exceptions that may swallow the “general rule”
Gareth Evans, InsideCounsel
What do Dr. Seuss and legal hold obligations regarding backup tapes have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Dr. Seuss’s Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? describes a number of people we should be thankful we’re not, one of whom is a bee-watcher watcher. Because a bee that is watched will work harder, a town decided to have a bee watcher watch a lazy bee. But the bee did not end up working much harder, so the townsfolk figured that the bee-watcher wasn’t watching as well as he could. So, they assigned someone else to watch the bee-watcher. And then a watcher to watch the bee-watcher watcher. And so on, until all the townsfolk were watching the watchers.
Retaining backup tapes for legal holds can look a lot like a bee-watcher watcher. How did it come to be that, in implementing legal holds, we often end up preserving backup tapes, i.e., backing up the backups, as it were? And when do we really need to suspend the rotation of backups and preserve existing tapes? (read the article)
Inside: Going corporate
For your law firm to grow, follow one key piece of advice: Law firms need to stop operating like law firms.
While I would never suggest I hold the key to any universal truths that would position me to speak as an expert on how any law firm, other than my own, needs to conduct its business and operations to effectively serve client needs, I feel pretty confident about making this suggestion: Law firms need to stop operating like law firms. To put it another way, we law firms need to start operating like our clients: It’s time to “go corporate.”
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an indictment of the way we all do business, it’s an acknowledgement that the legal industry used to operate in a relatively noncompetitive environment, especially in comparison to that of our clients. Now, we share the same key challenge of vying for a piece of a pie that’s not big enough for everyone, and we build our customer bases often at the expense of the next firm, down the street (if not on the other side of the planet!). In short, we now operate in the same competitive environment that our clients do, and that requires an entirely different operating mentality than what we are used to. (read the article)
Dropbox Gets Down to Business: ‘The Internet Filing System’
Chief executive Drew Houston is banking on fans of his cloud-based service Dropbox to bring it to work as he attempts to corner the business market for online storage.
Angela Hunt, Law Technology News
Dropbox first grew popular among college students who used it to store documents and access updated versions via the cloud, anywhere and from any device. After building a base of 200 million accounts, Houston is using the service’s mass appeal to market “Dropbox for Business” and compete with the likes of Google and Box, according to Jessica Guynn for the Los Angeles Times.
Guynn calls the initiative an “ambitious gambit,” but it may be a hot sell to companies whose employees already subscribe to the service for their personal use. Roughly 4 million businesses already use Dropbox, including 97 percent of the Fortune 500, according to their chief executive, Drew Houston. Dropbox for Business gives users two folders—one for personal data and one for business, according to Guynn. The new service also allows companies to remotely wipe clean certain folders, say from an employee who has left the company, writes Guynn. (read the article)
From the Experts
Doug Schulke and Cameron Lawrie, Corporate Counsel
“We don’t spend enough to get a refund.” Over the last 40 years, value-added taxes have raised over a trillion dollars for their respective countries. Value-added tax (VAT) and the similar goods and services tax (GST) are forms of consumption tax paid on most goods and services, including professional services like legal fees. While many U.S. companies may be eligible for a refund of VAT paid on legal fees, they just don’t bother, assuming they don’t spend enough and thus wouldn’t reclaim enough to justify the reclamation effort. (read the article)
LEDES Moves Closer to Standardizing Codes for Governance, Risk, Compliance
Proposed Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard codes, currently in the comment phase, seek to help companies predict and measure governance, risk and compliance spending.
Victor Li, Law Technology News
The Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) Oversight Committee is one step closer to establishing standardized categorization codes that would allow companies to better analyze its legal expenditures. The codes, which were originally created by the think tank Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG), would be used in electronic bill invoices and payments submitted by law firms to classify the type of work performed. In this case, the GRC codes propose to cover a broad range of work, including codes of conduct, risk financing, internal investigations, assessments of technological needs and gaps and strategic plans for implementing technology.
The proposed Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) codes were made available by the LEDES oversight committee for a 90-day public comment period beginning in October. (read the article)
From the Experts
Archiit Sethuraman, Corporate Counsel
Legal process outsourcing (LPO) is one of the most widely debated topics amongst general counsel. Despite all the concerns regarding information security, efficiency, etc., the outsourcing industry has witnessed an impressive growth of 28 percent this year, and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
Cost benefit is the most significant reason for companies to embrace LPO. An attorney in the United States charges around $530 per hour, whereas an attorney in India with similar experience charges around $248. Companies, in order to reap this cost benefit, increasingly offshore legal activities such as document review, patent search and e-discovery to low-cost destinations like India, the Philippines and China. Lately LPOs have continued to climb up the value chain by handling more critical tasks such as contract drafting and management, trademark searches and patent analytics. (read the article)
Transferring data to the cloud can poke holes in a company’s compliance and security controls. A free e-book from SearchCompliance.org offers some useful advice for patching them up.
Angela Hunt, Law Technology News
It’s tempting for firms and in-house counsel to entrust the cloud with their data—but can the cloud handle data according to compliance and security guidelines? That’s the question Ben Cole of SearchCompliance.com asks in a new handbook that examines how organizations can adapt information governance processes to the cloud to reduce data-related risk and stay in compliance with laws, regulations and industry standards.
The free e-book is worth a look, but if you feel like skimming, here are a few takeaways.
GETTING STARTED IN THE CLOUD
Data should reside in-house and extend to cloud-based repositories to satisfy the information governance needs of most organizations, according to Marilyn Bier, CEO of ARMA International, a trade association for record keepers. (read the article)