Alextronic Discovery
Alextronic Discovery
An Electronic Discovery Blog covering News, Articles
and Thoughts for the Legal and Corporate Community Author: Alexander H. Lubarsky, LL.M., Esq. - - Tel. (415) 533-4166 OR 800-375-4222 THIS BLAWG IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WEB SITES WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.ORG OR WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.COM

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Alextronic Laments....  

Alextronic Laments....

Thus far, Alextronic has refrained from editorializing. However, countless columns concerning gigs versus megs, tiffs versus html, auto extraction versus manual coding has made Alextronic a dull boy.

Truth is, there is a whole bunch of cool stuff in this ever evolving EDD world that makes Alextronic wanna get on his laptop and tap away but there is little that inspires him to clench his fist and pump his arm towards the stars not unlike the Bolsheviks as they supported Lenin driving the Romanovs from the Winter Palace.

Today, however, Alextronic has met his waterloo. Somethin' out there is buggin' him even more than unexpanded Excel cells or a password protected zip attachment with a stealthy virus just waitin' to be unchained.

The focus of his Ire - Vendor Created Electronic Data "Certification Programs."

Now, Alextronic has gone through more certification programs than he'd care to remember. Beginning with the Bear badge that the Den father of Pack 545 was reluctant to award him after his tepee crashed down and broke Sam Schwarz' arm at the Indian campfire. Then there was the coveted Malibu Grand Prix go-cart license. Who could forget the pro marksman target certificate from Summer camp? One of his most notable certificates was his PADI SCUBA certificate earned once he finally was able to differentiate the air intake bc from the snorkel.

Those were the heady days for Alextronic. Later however, life dealt Alextronic a rough hand... certifications no longer were dollied out on exotic Caribbean islands or next to the video game machines and S'mores roasts... the DMV, the State Bar, the grueling Summation and Concordance certificates and the not as grueling certification program offered by CaseSoft on the shores of Florida filled his time with pre-test jitters and nightmares of showing up late for the examinations naked... but that's for another blawg.

The one certificate that Alextronic will not be shooting for is this questionable if not downright shady "E-Discovery Specialist" gig (or rig?) that has bubbled to the surface of the swamp. The particular program in question raises the eyebrows a bit more than it raises the EDD IQ out there in litigation support land.

Perhaps it would be best not to name the vendor that is the self-proclaimed certifying agency for "E-Discovery Specialists". Alextronic would liKe to pRint the name, but resOlved to Let it sLide.

Now when Alextronic buckles himself into coach for that sure to be turbulent flight to Law Net, he probably would slam that Bloody Mary a bit easier knowing that the pilot and co-pilot were "certified" by the FAA and not Jet Blue Airlines. Alextronic prefers that his dentist is not certified by Crest Toothpaste and his team of relentless criminal defense attorneys be licensed by some State Bar and not by Lexis/Nexis or West. .. you get the picture.

There are certain reputable and largely unbiased groups and people out there who really could piece together an objective certification scheme for e-discoveryheads. Talkin' about the Browning Marions, the George Sochas, the likes of Ken Withers and Joan Feldman, the Michael Arkfelds and other luminaries that serve as the forward thinkers in this increasingly complex dimension. It may even be plausible for highly reputable and independent organizations such as the Sedona Group or the ABA to put together a certification program. Let's face it, a certification for E-Discovery is not some trivial matter. Fortunes, lives and futures can literally turn on a piece of evidence and in today's world it is almost more likely than not that such evidence lives in binary form. Do we really want to allow one for profit entity to unilaterally set the standards as to what constitutes competence with respect to electronic discovery strategy, collection, processing, review and forensic analysis? Aren't' the stakes a bit too high to just let the first person to step up to the plate make the rules? Would one not rather see vendors offer classes and training seminars and possibly hand out cutesy diplomas rather than become presumptuous enough to self proclaim authority to "certify" one as an "E-Discovery Specialist"?

Certification is serious business. The public has come to rely on those who are certified to handle complex chores such as doctoring, lawyering, driving and counseling. If anyone can essentially create an industry wide "certification program" and thereafter designate industry "specialists" just by jumping in and doing so, does that not dilute the value of the certification? Where does that leave the largely unsophisticated public? Public policy should dictate that legislated standards should be put in place before the grant of any power to certify a specialist of any professional discipline. Surely, certification of a sophisticated and downright critical art such as electronic discovery (as opposed to an individual software product per se) should be issued in accordance with publicly approved standards not unlike the cosmetologists or paralegal's certificate. Think about it. One needs to meet state specified standards to apply the hair gel but the standards associated with presenting complex evidence in a court of law are essentially up for grabs.

Something just ain't quite right...

posted by Alexander | 8:24 PM


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