David J. Kearney

July 12, 2018

Talk to My Lawyer…Or My PM?

Filed under: LPM,Management,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 10:37 am
Tags: , ,

This article was published in the January/February 2018 edition of Project Manager Today. The article was authored by Carl Pritchard with contributions by David Kearney (me), Steven Levy, and Becky Winston.  Project Management applied to the practice of law…Legal Project Management.


November 28, 2015

Invest in Yourself…With Lynda

Filed under: Self Help,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 1:32 pm

At the end of every year I look for opportunities to invest in myself to enhance my professional skills and increase my potential. It is said that the best investment that you can make is in yourself and I have lived by that mantra for most of my professional life. Over the years I have taken courses, studied for and earned technical and non-technical certifications, and joined a public speaking and leadership organization to become more valuable to my employer. I believe that it is important to constantly learn, regardless of whether or not your employer fully assists, partially supports, or doesn’t contribute at all to your professional improvement. Although it certainly helps if your employer provides financial support, time off, or some other form of return on investment, it shouldn’t be the single motivating factor for improving yourself with updated or new skills.

As 2015 winds down, I was evaluating educational opportunities for 2016, including a return to a traditional college setting, on-line college courses, and possibly attending a technical school to enhance my technical chops. I have recently been very interested in accounting and marketing topics (which I really haven’t seen since my traditional college days many years ago), so I was considering taking local accounting and marketing workshops and classes as they became available. With the high expense of college and not being settled on pursuing a PhD (I have played with this idea for many, many years), another Master’s Degree, and not necessarily set on which technical skills I wanted to chase, I came across Lynda.com in my research.

Lynda.com is an award-winning provider of educational materials, including the Lynda.com library with over 4,050 online courses (more than 301,000 video tutorials): An online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills.

During my research I found that Lynda.com could help me pursue most of my educational goals, until I decide to pursue that PhD or second M.S. degree, for a price that was affordable and a resource I could take advantage of in my schedule. After hemming and hawing over this decision for a couple of weeks and trying, but unable, to find someone that utilized Lynda.com to help me make a decision, I received a promotional E-Mail to subscribe for a year to Lynda.com for $287.00 (regularly $359.88). This price certainly helped in my decision making process. I signed up. Within a few days I had taken a couple of courses, including accounting and marketing related courses. Additionally, I took a course on utilizing Garage Band (I am a wanna-be songwriter, rock star, musician). All of the courses I took, so far, were high quality, very useful, and I could apply something I learned in every course to my day-to-day professional life. If I would have purchased books or took a course/series of classes on these topics I would have certainly exceeded the $287.00 I spent on the annual Lynda.com membership…and I am only 8 classes and 2 weeks into my membership. In my case, Lynda.com is less than a dollar a day and as long as I regularly attend courses, Lynda.com will certainly pay for itself with my enhanced and new skills. If you are considering enhancing your current skills or learning new ones, I would encourage you to look at Lynda.com…it’s affordable, available online and offline, and can be utilized on your schedule and on your device. Additionally, at least half of the sessions included downloadable “hand-outs” and one included testing during the course sections to reinforce the topics covered. One cool feature that I really like, but is outside of the educational courses, is that it can be linked to your LinkedIn account and will display your course completions on your profile in the Certifications area…a great way to keep track of and show your accomplishments.

If nothing else, be sure to constantly invest in yourself to help you and your employer. You now know someone that has taken advantage of Lynda.com, so don’t feel as skeptical as I was initially by not knowing the quality of sessions available or not knowing anyone that utilized Lynda.com.

Again…invest in yourself.

April 16, 2014

Law Firm Outsourcing of eDiscovery

Listen to Karl Schieneman, Founder and President of Review Less, a predictive coding consultancy and document review company talk with Dave Kearney from Cohen and Grigsby and Nick Reizen from Xact Data Discovery about how law firms view outsourcing eDiscovery tasks like collection, processing, hosting and reviewing data to technology oriented vendors. It is definitely a growth trend and there are lots of views on this topic depending on which lawyer you talk to. Some firms want to own the EDRM model. Others want to outsource. And others consider eDiscovery a distraction to the practice of law so they ignore it.

Recorded 04/16/2014

This podcast was first published at ESIBytes and is available here with permission.  For more information about ESIBytes, visit their website at http://www.esibytes.com and visit ESIBytes’ Podcasts  at http://esibytes.com/category/blog/category-4/

Podcast Audio:  https://app.box.com/s/wo1rmrheo4065vnsv53u

February 11, 2014

Podcast: E-Discovery in Healthcare: What Legal and Healthcare Professionals Need to Know

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Management,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 5:11 pm

Consider This – David Kearney – 11.06.13
“E-Discovery in Healthcare: What Legal and Healthcare Professionals Need to Know”
Host: Bridget Novak
Guests: David Kearney, Director of Technology Services, Cohen & Grigsby, P.C.
Topic: e-Discovery in Healthcare
Discussion: Requirements for managing health related documents and records; the need for healthcare workers need to become much more familiar with the litigation process and the role the legal industry plays within the process.

“Healthcare organizations should identify the components of their legal health records and how they will ensure the legal integrity of the health record and its various components are assembled and maintained.

It’s the organization providing the care that says for every patient we are capturing this information that makes up the legal health record for our organization, so there is a consistent record captured for that organization.

It serves as a method of communication among healthcare providers caring for a patient and it also provides supporting documentation for reimbursement of services provided to that patient.”
– David Kearney

Podcast:  https://app.box.com/s/pvsxu58myx2s3fem7btr

Consider This – David Kearney

This podcast was first published at The Organization of Legal Professionals and is available here with permission.  For more information about The Organization of Legal Professionals, visit their website at http://www.theolp.org and visit OLP’s “Consider This” Podcasts hosted by Bridgett Novak at http://www.theolp.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1701543

February 4, 2014

Cohen & Grigsby P.C. selects Kroll Ontrack as its ediscovery portfolio partner

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Management,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 12:41 pm

Cohen & Grigsby P.C. selects Kroll Ontrack as its ediscovery portfolio partner  

Firm adopts repeatable ediscovery approach to give clients process consistency, cost predictability and better overall case outcomes

MINNEAPOLIS – Feb. 4, 2014Cohen & Grigsby, a law firm with headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, and an office in Naples, FL, and Kroll Ontrack today announced Cohen & Grigsby selected Kroll Ontrack as its preferred ediscovery technology and services provider. Leveraging Kroll Ontrack for its portfolio of ediscovery matters provides Cohen & Grigsby’s litigation and labor and employment departments with the benefit of a repeatable approach to ediscovery, cost predictability and Kroll Ontrack’s latest ediscovery.com technology platform to both review and project manage its matters.

“With increasingly complex legal requirements and growing volumes of ESI, ediscovery stakes are high. A smart approach is required,” said Partner, Anthony Cillo, Chair of Cohen & Grigsby’s Litigation Department. “That smart approach includes Cohen & Grigsby focusing on advocacy and managing the merits of the case, while partnering with an industry leader such as Kroll Ontrack to minimize the ediscovery risks and costs for the corporations we represent. We are not only minimizing ediscovery risks, but providing our clients with world-class ediscovery solutions at predictable costs.”

In addition, Cohen & Grigsby Director of Technology Services David Kearney added, “Kroll Ontrack and its ediscovery.com platform rose to the top of our partner selection process because they offered a standardized approach to ediscovery coupled with industry-leading predictive coding technology at a predictable price.”

“Kroll Ontrack is excited to partner with progressive firms like Cohen & Grigsby that recognize the value of a repeatable approach to ediscovery,” said Dean Hager, president and CEO, Kroll Ontrack. “By selecting our portfolio solution, Cohen & Grigsby now has access to the industry’s most powerful processing and review technology, the industry’s first tool to manage ediscovery as a portfolio, a dedicated portfolio case management team, and a pricing approach that encompasses a breakthrough concept of reusable capacity such that as additional projects arise, ediscovery costs remain the same.”

As part of the portfolio solution, Cohen & Grigsby will be taking advantage of Kroll Ontrack’s ediscovery.com platform, which was announced in October 2013. Ediscovery.com encompasses several products, including ediscovery.com Manage, which is the industry’s first solution for collaboratively managing ediscovery as a portfolio from any device, and ediscovery.com Review, which is a single tool that delivers unprecedented control of data volume and costs across early data assessment, analysis, review and production.

For more information on these products, visit: www.ediscovery.com.

About Kroll Ontrack Inc.
Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyze, and produce data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, electronic discovery and document review. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: www.ediscovery.com or follow @KrollOntrack on Twitter.

About Cohen & Grigsby P.C.
Cohen & Grigsby represents clients across the spectrum of commercial and business disputes, including: business breakups, insurance coverage disputes, antitrust claims, theft of trade secret and non-compete agreements, securities law violations, accounting firm defense and shareholder issues.  Cohen & Grigsby results-oriented litigators have years of hands-on experience trying cases in the courtroom and before administrative bodies and arbitration panels. Our labor & employment attorneys defend employers in all types of cases, including discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful discharge, wage and hour violations, defamation and breach of contract. Please visit www.cohenlaw.com.


Media Contact: Kaitlin Shinkle, 952-516-3581, kshinkle@krollontrack.com


February 1, 2014

How to Prepare the Record for an E-Discovery Request

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Management,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 9:13 pm

Journal of AHIMA February 14

How to Prepare the Record for an E-Discovery Request
By David Kearney

AT A MINIMUM healthcare organizations should identify the components of their legal health record. The legal health record is a consistent declaration of what patient care information is maintained within an organization and what information would be released during a legal or investigatory event. It is the key to the consistency of patient health information across a healthcare organization. Consistent patient care information is the cornerstone of being able to produce this information completely and accurately upon request during an event without prejudice for business or evidentiary purposes.

Health information management (HIM) professionals are typically the custodians of health records and are responsible for the care, custody, and control of the records. HIM serves as a key component in knowing how health records are created, maintained, and used in the day-to-day care setting. It is vital that HIM professionals have a complete understanding of the official health record and its potential requirements. As more providers use electronic health records and manage health information electronically, HIM professionals must become familiar with e-discovery processes and requirements.

The Role of the HIM Professional
A recent requirement for health records that health information managers need to be well versed on is how these records are compiled and controlled as it relates to the litigation lifecycle or an investigation. HIM professionals need to be able to communicate with in-house attorneys, outside counsel, and even perhaps opposing counsel regarding the legal health record contents and the attestation of patient records for evidentiary purposes during a litigation or investigatory event.

Since most health records are now electronic, it is important that HIM professionals be aware of how electronic records are preserved, collected, processed, and presented during a lawsuit.  Electronic evidence has dictated guidelines that must be followed during the discovery process as prescribed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures—procedures that govern civil procedures in the US federal courts—and it is equally important to expect at least the same amount of rigor to be applied to electronic
evidence at the state or jurisdictional level.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, specifically rules 26–37, provide guidelines to the discovery process of evidence, including duties of disclosure, topics of discussion between the parties involved, and how documents are to be produced.

Another great tool, while not mandated by court rules, is the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, also known as the EDRM (available at http://www.edrm.net). The EDRM depicts the flow and series of phases that electronic evidence traverses during the litigation process, including how the information is identified, preserved, collected, processed, reviewed, and produced.

First and foremost, data governance is addressed at the far left side of the EDRM workflow, as information management, which underscores the importance of properly managing data for the litigation/e-discovery process. This is the starting point where healthcare organizations have an opportunity to get it right and to be in an ideal position for any anticipated events.  This is also the initial phase where many issues can arise during discovery proceedings, positioning an organization at a disadvantage from the onset of any data retrieval exercise.

Know the What and Where of Your Data

Healthcare organizations must know what information they have, where data is located, the duration data must be retained, and what information is needed to respond to a legal, investigatory, or other event. Managing organizational information with sound policy and processes reduces costs, mitigates risk, and protects the organization’s personnel, patients, and revenue.

A second component to a litigation or investigatory event, once sound data governance strategies have been implemented, is the ability of health information management professionals to respond to an event or an anticipated event. It is vital that HIM professionals have a well-developed readiness plan to respond to a legal hold or preservation order of relevant information that is specific to a matter.

To avoid a claim of spoliation— the intentional or negligent hiding, changing, or destruction of relevant materials—healthcare organizations should have a strategy that facilitates preservation of potential evidence once relevant data has been identified. Depending on how information is stored and collected within the healthcare setting and how this information is managed and maintained, it will be necessary to plan on this information being used as evidence.

As such, health information managers must not only be intimately familiar with their organization’s electronic health record (EHR) systems, but how these systems can produce the
information in a legally sound manner. Preserving the data as it is maintained in the normal course of business, along with all of the detailed metadata contained within the EHR, is a must to ensure complete and accurate information. Doing this is a much more intricate process than typical metadata one finds in word processing, spreadsheet, and e-mail documents.

EHR systems were not necessarily designed with litigation in mind, so it is critical that HIM professionals become familiar with how data can and cannot be provided during an event and how that data is managed throughout the lifecycle of litigation or an investigation.

One of the other critical components necessary during an event is a data source map, or an information management plan, that for litigation purposes identifies expert users or custodians of the data, who knows what about the data, how it is maintained, and any associated data retention policies.

The process of event preparedness happens long before the triggers that may lead to a litigation or investigatory event. It requires organizations to have an understanding of responsibilities and to define policies for regulation and business needs. Policies and procedures that help actively manage data are not just an IT or HIM “problem” but a collaborative business initiative where organizations must develop a well-defined structure and process to understand, manage, and prepare for litigation.

Legal counsel, HIM professionals, clinicians, information technology professionals, and C-suite professionals should work together to successfully manage information for the ediscovery process, implement a litigation response plan, and develop or update organizational policies.

Technology alone cannot replace the joint effort needed to develop sound processes. The process and technology needs to be defined, adopted, and audited. Collaboration and coordination must exist to tell the story of the data from all stakeholder perspectives to define the policies, procedures, and practices, including regular auditing of such routines. People, processes, and technology are key to information management and event preparedness.

Credit Given for Showing Your Work

The courts are not out to get anyone, but rather look for a reasonable, well documented, thought out, and consistent approach to information governance. It is very similar to math
class in grade school where the teacher always wanted to see one’s work demonstrated, or at least have an idea of the level of logic a student used to answer a question. This can help justify when questioned whether an approach to legal compliance was at least reasonable. Credit may be given even though the resulting answer may have been unsatisfactory, or if a good faith effort was used to manage and produce data.

Conversely, if an organization doesn’t have policies and plans in place it risks exorbitant costs associated with additional technology and personnel needed to store unmanaged data, as well as heightened risks of compliance and regulatory violations and court-imposed sanctions.

Planning and readiness for litigation or investigation is another piece of the information governance puzzle, which is much like any business continuity and disaster recovery plans, with an understanding of data, where it is located, how data is managed, event response, and regular testing of processes and procedures for when an event occurs. Health information managers carry the responsibility to ensure that the data being managed maintains its integrity during a litigation or investigatory event.

David Kearney (DKearney@cohenlaw.com) is director of technology services at Cohen & Grigsby, based in Pittsburgh, PA.

This article was first published in the Journal of AHIMA February 2014 issue and is reprinted here with permission.  For more information about the Journal of AHIMA, visit their website at http://journal.ahima.org/ and the AHIMA website at http://www.ahima.org

Copyright © 2014 American Health Information Management Association


May 17, 2013

e-Discovery IN, e-Discovery OUT, or Somewhere IN-BETWEEN…

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Management,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 2:12 pm

e-Discovery IN, e-Discovery OUT, or Somewhere IN-BETWEEN…

 With the exponential increase in ESI collection sizes, the rapid changes in technology, the high expense of qualified personnel, and smaller firms with very conservative case budgets and perhaps limited resources in the area of e-Discovery, all but the largest of firms need to seriously consider a myriad of options when bringing e-Discovery processes in-house or outsourcing the function or designing a hybrid model. There is plenty of banter between highly regarded e-Discovery practitioners, including those from law firms as well as those within service providers arguing which approach is best.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach.  Firms need to take an individualized approach when designing e-Discovery processes, workflow, and technology solutions 

Organizations need to face the possibility that they will be more closely examined & scrutinized on how their data management practices and e-Discovery processes and procedures are designed and followed.  With many options available, now is the time to examine or re-examine how things are currently being done.

Most of us have seen either fits and starts, or the back-and-forth between outsourcing certain services and business processes within law firms, however, deciding on an e-Discovery model is not an easy one to make. Many factors need to be considered and areas understood before committing to any one departmental business model.  You must understand where you are and what make sense for you and your firm.

Thinking along the lines of a business plan may be a very good starting point that includes projections, expectations, risk management, profit/loss/break-even, scheduling, capacity handling, workflow, and personnel.  E-Discovery and aspects of Litigation Support is a business process and should be managed, operated, and supported as one. 


Culture has a lot to do with how a firm operates…from a management, to a support, to an operational perspective, to what the firm decides to focus its resources on, such as technology spend, people spend, and other investments.  Any kind of organizational change will bring some levels of discomfort, so knowing the culture will help determine the direction and who in the firm’s leadership might provide internal guidance and support.

Regardless of approach, firms need to establish or re-establish a foundation as to how they will handle and manage e-Discovery and, to a greater extent, support litigation.  Litigation Support/e-Discovery needs are not “run of the mill”…the technology is different, the requirements are non-standard, and the urgency is heightened over most other practices.  As you proceed with an analysis of e-Discovery models, you may want to include the following questions:

  • Will the firm culture support the commitment needed to build, run, and manage an e-Discovery/Litigation Support organization in-house?
  • Is the firm in a position to invest significantly in an area that is not a core competency?
  • How will the firm tolerate the learning curve and operational shift that will inevitably be encountered when building an internal department or outsourcing the function?
  • Is there commitment from firm management, practice groups, and information technology (especially when building the technology infrastructure in-house)?

 Organizational Maturity

If the firm is mature, there is probably a well-defined understanding of technology, people, and overall processes related to the aspects of supporting litigation.  If not, the process to determine a more focused strategy might help, including how services are delivered and sustained.

An example to consider when evaluating an e-Discovery strategy is that there are times when additional help is needed by using additional technology, more personnel, or outsourcing the entire project to a 3rd party that has the bandwidth to handle the complexities.  Sometimes due to a lack of understanding projects must be or are forced to be managed in-house with limited resources to the detriment of the client, firm, and case.  Consider the following questions when analyzing the overall firm’s maturity regarding e-Discovery: 

  • Are there documented intake procedures?
  • Is there a size limit, monetary value, or deadline threshold that dictates when and how an e-Discovery project is handled?
  • Is data chain of custody documented?
  • Is evidence physically secured?
  • Is having an in-house e-Discovery service a strategic advantage to the firm or section?
  • Are the services provided value added, break-even, or profit driven?

 Value added e-Discovery services may not be sustainable in the long term due to the internal costs that are absorbed.  A profit driven model may become a detriment because a firm may not be able to be truly competitive with service providers.


Providing e-Discovery/Litigation Support services typically requires a significant investment over and above typical technology infrastructure.  Often times, bandwidth, desktop PCs, servers, and processing devices have greater specifications than might be typical for an organization’s IT department & user-base.  Frequently, software needs include review, processing, and culling tools.  Litigation discovery data can increase exponentially, without too much advanced warning, so scalability also needs to be part of the infrastructure plan

Many technology departments are already operating lean, so having a technology team/I.T. Department responsible for handling the demands of litigation and all of the moving parts may be very difficult.  Analyze the technology aspects of an e-Discovery model by asking the following:

  • What kind of technical infrastructure will the firm support?
  • Is the current network bandwidth sufficient to handle the network traffic between locations?
  • Is the solution scalable?
  • How scalable is the software?
  • What software application(s) will the firm support?
  • Is the software under regular development to include the latest bug fixes and technological advancements?
  • Does the software developer have the infrastructure to handle support requests, code changes/feature requests, and consulting?
  • Data sizes explode without warning, so is there a plan to expeditiously handle the needs?
  • What tools are needed for the firm’s common cases, such as processing, culling, clustering, and technology assisted review?

 Disk space, servers, backup technology, disaster recovery locations also need to support the amount of data that you may house.  The technology infrastructure costs to support a robust application suite and usage demands requires a significant monetary investment.


 Data Security

If non-firm personnel need access to the case data (co-counsel, experts, contract attorneys), you can certainly export the data, databases, images, etc. for the 3rd parties to import into their platform, but in this instance, there would be various versions of the data making it nearly impossible to keep the various versions of the data synchronized.  So, it certainly makes sense (assuming this is agreed to by all parties) to give outside organizations access to the same data.  Many applications do have the ability to granularly assign levels of security so only data that you want certain parties to view or edit can be assigned.

If data is hosted in-house on a platform that can be accessed by external sources:

  • Does your firm have sufficient security protocols in place to ensure that data is secure? 
  • Is the data secured among other different case related data? 
  • Is the security protocol documented?  Can it withstand an audit?  Can it withstand an attempted security event?


As it has been said, good people are the heart of any great organization.  If a firm is considering building some level of expertise in-house, the following questions need to thoroughly vetted with regards to the proper needs assessment, acquisition, selection, on-boarding, and retention of personnel. 

  • What positions within the firm will be designated for Litigation Support/e Discovery?
  • What department will the position(s) report? IT, Litigation, Practice Support, KM, etc.?
  • How many personnel are needed?
  • What is the skill set, education, & experience required?
  • What is the compensation of the position(s)?
  • Does the environment support the salaries needed to keep qualified personnel interested, engaged, and dedicated?
  • Does anyone currently on staff, such as paralegals, have the required skills to transition to an e-Discovery, more technical, role?
  • Will the position(s) have a backup to accommodate vacations and peak workloads?
  • Will the position(s) be able to manage the workflow with vendors due to technical complexity, volume, or extremely tight deadlines?
  • Is there anyone willing at the senior management level to support the e- Discovery position(s)?
  • How will non-business hours support be addressed? 
  • How will PTO/vacation coverage be addressed?
  • How will quality control be handled (1 person can’t effectively Q.C. their own work)?
  • Is there a defined Service Level Agreement?

 Workflow and Process:

The following are workflow components that need to be thought through and decided upon:

Intake – Does the litigation and litigation support team know the details of an incoming case?  New matter tracking and alerts based on certain thresholds can be very helpful, such as value of case, amount of discovery anticipated, type of case, what attorneys/partners have been assigned to the case…originating attorney, etc.

Consulting – What consulting is available, internal or external, with regards to best practices & approaches to preservation, collection, pre-culling, processing, review and production?  Who it is done by?

Solution Evaluation & Implementation – How are various solutions evaluated for each matter/case?  How are they weighted?  Is it the vendor that brings you candy bars?

Project Management – Are there standard PM practices in place?  How are projects initiated, planned, executed, monitored & controlled, and finally closed.  Is all project knowledge managed in a silo?  Is this knowledge/lessons learned held tightly with one individual?  Using only one common project management framework isn’t necessarily the answer, but adopting a project management toolkit that captures the project life cycle is always a good approach

Tracking of Requests – Are requests tracked to import data, produce documents, burn CDs, alter the database schema, endorse discovery data?   Or, is it just walking down the hall and giving a disk to an individual and saying “deal with this”.  Tracking of requests are also a very good way to document Chain of Custody.

Tracking of Discovery – Is there a protocol as to what happens with discovery when received and when it is handled?  Where does it go?

Quality Control – Are there Quality Control practices in place and a way to address any errors, whether it be for image conversion or inaccessible documents (legacy, password protected, proprietary), etc.

Productions – Although litigation sometimes happens quicker than the speed of light, does your organization have the manpower and production capabilities to handle aggressive deadlines?

Archival, Closure, Destruction – Is there a closure process implemented when a case settles, a practice to archival case data for future use, a practice to destroy or return data to the client?  If you are a law firm are you following the data remediation/retention policies of you client with regards to the discovery in your possession? 

Ultimately, the firm needs to be protected by implementing repeatable and sound processes.  Firms may not be equipped, or even interested, in designing and supporting a robust platform that is needed for maintaining internal resources for parts or all of the components of the e-Discovery process.

In some instances it may make a lot of sense to outsource the entire technology infrastructure and services needed to support applications, servers, backups, software and hardware upgrades, storage space management, processing and hosting data, case consulting, and 24 X 7 X 365 availability and support.  In other instances it may make sense to only outsource some components of the e-Discovery process. 

All firms that practice litigation must have some sort of organization around handling e-Discovery. Software alone or a reactive plan will not position the firm to respond rapidly, consistently, or effectively to firm and case needs.

There is no perfect solution, either internally or outsourced, so keep in mind that no one solution is going to be a panacea over the other, but it is how the design of the solution is modeled and maintained that will make or break the initiative.

July 31, 2012

David Kearney Awarded CEDS Certification After Passing Rigorous Examination

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 11:48 am



Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 31, 2012



 Cohen & Grigsby E-Discovery Professional is Awarded CEDS Certification After Passing Rigorous Examination


David Kearney of Cohen & Grigsby based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is among the select maiden group of e-discovery professionals to pass the rigorous Certified E-Discovery Specialists certification examination. David has now earned the right to use the prestigious designation, CEDS, as a Certified E-Discovery Specialist.

The CEDS credential is earned by individuals who pass the rigorous four-hour examination that provides a tough and objective measure of mastery of the challenging field of e-discovery. The certification program is administered by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the premier membership organization of professionals in the field worldwide. Since the exam was first offered in November 2010, professionals in the United States, Canada, the UK, South Korea, Germany and China have earned the CEDS certification.

The CEDS certification is compelling evidence that designees are competent and knowledgeable in e-discovery regardless of their professional specialization—whether they are lawyers, litigation support staff, records managers, information technology (IT) specialists, technology officials, court personnel, paralegals or consultants. The credential is an assurance to employers, colleagues and clients that the CEDS-certified professional is serious about efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and risk reduction in all phases of e-discovery.

CEDS designation is powerful evidence of specialized expertise

“I don’t know what took so long for a certification like CEDS to come along. There needed to be a strong standard of competence. The exam was rigorous and thorough. You don’t just pay money and pass the test. This helps solve my hiring problems.” said Alvin Lindsay, a partner at the international law firm, Hogan Lovells, in Miami, who chairs the ACEDS Advisory Board and is often quoted in the media in matters regarding technology and litigation and electronic evidence…

CEDS exam is offered at 560 worldwide secure testing centers
The proctored CEDS certification exam is offered at 560 secure ACEDS-Kryterion Testing Centers worldwide, including 350 in the United States and 40 in Canada. The exam was assembled over eight months by a team of 40 leading e-discovery professionals under the guidance of the ACEDS management and an independent psychometric firm, Kryterion, to ensure the CEDS exam was technically sound and legally defensible. The computer-based examination has 145 items, and CEDS candidates receive results upon completion.

In April 2011 ACEDS began offering an online, on-demand CEDS Examination Preparation Seminar at its website at ACEDS.org.

For more information on CEDS certification, including how to apply and register for the exam, contact Member Services by email at memberservices@ACEDS.org or by telephone at 786-517-2701.

May 4, 2012

Review: ‘Digital Forensics for Legal Professionals’ Is Essential Reading

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Project Management,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 10:46 am

Authors Larry and Lars Daniel have assembled a nearly perfect book: Digital Forensics for Legal Professionals: Understanding Digital Evidence From the Warrant to the Courtroom is a reference manual, instruction guide, and a best practices and lessons-learned archive that’s essential reading for legal professionals working with digital evidence.

The topics covered in the book are designed efficiently and easily absorbed, with technical and legal concepts articulated by real-world examples. Technical concepts, such as HASH values, metadata, file carving, and thumbnail caches are simplified. Laws and acts, including civil and criminal proceedings, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, rules of discovery, and orders are explained clearly enough for non-lawyers to understand. Both authors have many years of practical hands-on experience, relevant certifications, and have spoken at dozens of events on the topic of forensics. By all accounts, the authors are experts and have been able to share their knowledge simply and articulately, while presenting forensic evidence, technical, and legal concepts eloquently.

The Daniels start chapters with an introduction to each topic, explain the topics with short but informational content supplemented with examples and graphics, and close with a recap of what was covered. The book is arranged into four sections: “What is Digital Forensics”; “Experts”; “Motions and Discovery”; and “Common Types of Digital Evidence.” The four sections and the chapters contained within focus on areas that everyone working with digital evidence should be familiar.

They also act as an easy reference for looking up specific topics, such as working with and qualifying digital forensics experts within various disciplines; discovery motions and how to request discovery from third parties that store data, including the Stored Communications Act, Electronic Communication Privacy Act, HIPAA, and the Fourth Amendment; and the countless types of digital evidence and the preservation and acquisition of evidence from desktop computers to GPS devices to gaming devices to financial systems — and everything else in-between.

Digital Forensics is the ideal companion for lawyers, paralegals, and technology and business professionals working with potential digital evidence on a day-to-day basis or within civil or criminal proceedings. More than just a good starting point or an introduction, the book is deliberate when explaining the concepts, including typical practices like usage of Faraday Bags for evidence that might be altered via wireless communications when powered on, video recording any manual examination process without any stops during video capture, collecting data from systems that should not or cannot be powered off or on without risk of spoliation during acquisition, assembling detailed documentation of acquisition activities, or how to approach the collection of digital evidence in the manner of a police crime scene investigation.

Digital evidence exists all around us on countless devices being every generated manually and automatically every day, so having a book like Digital Forensics as a reference is invaluable.

Lawyers can benefit by having a resource that explains the acquisition of evidence and the ways to request this information from various sources, provides an understanding of the technical concepts and practices of forensics, and offers some of the cautions of working with digital evidence. Paralegals, technology professionals, and e-discovery experts can benefit by being able to better assist attorneys, corporations, law firms, and clients to manage what can be a very intimidating process. Accidental or purposeful mishandling of evidence can lead to varying degrees of sanctions, including a default judgment, so knowledge of how to handle digital evidence is crucial.

There is so much valuable information contained within this book that I found it was difficult to put down once I started it. Its readability is excellent and I could directly and immediately apply the book’s lessons to my day-to-day work within technology, project management, and electronic discovery. As I was finishing the final two chapters, an attorney came to me with a case project that included a digital evidence acquisition with multiple cell phones and, lo-and-behold, I was equipped to speak to the process of the data acquisition and intelligently begin the project due to this book.

Digital evidence is here to stay and the management of that evidence has been made easier to understand with Digital Forensics for Legal Professionals.

Title: Digital Forensics for Legal Professionals

Authors: Larry Daniel, Lars Daniel

Publisher:Syngence/Elsevier 2011

David J. Kearney is director of technology services at Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh. Email: dkearney@cohenlaw.com.

Copyright 2012. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.

Reprinted with permission from Law Technology News. Further Duplication prohibited.

April 5, 2012

ACEDS Amazes

Filed under: e-Discovery,Litigation Support,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 3:50 pm

The Association of Electronic Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) held its second annual Conference & Exhibition April 2 – 4, 2012.  The conference included over 20 exhibitors, that partner with organizations and provide services related to electronic discovery, and 20 panel discussions led by legal and technology experts from various industries in the field of electronic discovery .  The Conference & Exhibition was also a great networking event to help unify those that are working through e-Discovery questions, issues, and items.  Although I don’t have exact numbers, attendees to this event had to have been near 1,000 and included individuals from technology companies, law firms, corporate organizations, and court systems.  In my opinion, the ACEDS Conference & Exhibition was a phenomenal event and an organization like ACEDS has been much-needed for quite some time.

As Charles Intriago, President and Co-Founder of ACEDS, mentioned during the conference, the e-discovery industry is just “4 inches deep into a 10 foot pond”.  Charles and the entire ACEDS organization appear to be genuinely interested in and very passionate about e-Discovery and in helping organizations and the e-Discovery industry advance.  
Additionally, a Certified e-Discovery Specialist Examination Preparation Seminar was held on April 1.  The Certified e-Discovery Specialist Examination Preparation Seminar was an excellent seminar built to prepare CEDS aspirants to take the ACEDS Certified e-Discovery Specialist exam.  The CEDS exam is the first of its kind and will, without a doubt, become a standard to establish a baseline of knowledge and experience that and individual needs to demonstrate in the area of e-Discovery.  
Although I could not possibly speak to every participant at the ACEDS Conference & Exhibition, I did not hear one major criticism of the event.  The attendees of the Conference & Exhibition all seemed very impressed and exited to be a part of such a great event.  The ACEDS staff and panel participants were all very helpful and approachable during the event and panel discussions.
I found the Conference & Exhibition and the Examination Preparation Seminar to be expertly organized and orchestrated.  I recommend that anyone involved in e-Discovery look at ACEDS as an expert source and an organization to become a part of.
Learn more about The Association of e-Discovery Specialists at www.aceds.org
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