The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

NZBA Annual Conference – promoting the use of technology

August 31st, 2011

I will be presenting at the New Zealand Bar Association Annual Conference this coming Friday, where the topic this year is “The Modern Barrister”. The conference has an impressive list of speakers, with many focussing on how technology can be used more effectively to assist the role of the barrister – a topic that is very close to my heart.

The topic of my presentation will be ‘Electronic Discovery’. Obviously this is a wide ranging subject matter, and my focus will be more on the key aspects of the new NZ discovery reforms. This is a topic that has considerable interest at present due to the Rules Committee approving the final discovery rules last week. This presentation will be the first since the discovery reforms were approved, and it allows me to speak to what the requirements will be rather than uncertainty associated when the reforms were at draft stage.

I know working with barristers in NZ there is a growing adoption of technology, and technology that have benefits far beyond the discovery process. Effectively using technology (and I stress effectively here, which you would have followed in one of my earlier articles), can be the value added that barristers need to more effectively manage their cases.

When looking at examples of barristers changing existing practices, I often refer to an example of a barrister I worked with in the UK, where on one matter he was totally submersed in paper and was a very reluctant user of technology. Eventually we were able to convince him of the virtues (or necessity) that the technology could bring. Fast forward two years to another matter and he was totally on top of the technology and was virtually running a paperless office and seeking how to extend the capabilities of the technology even further.

The tools and technology that are now currently available are redefining how those in the legal profession manage their case preparation. There are many solutions available in the market place, but it is essential that you seek the right advice to choose the solution that works best for you. Essentially, let the lawyers focus on the law and we can provide the solutions and practices to remove unnecessary costs and enable lawyers to function more effectively.

Raising awareness

When I was asked to present at the Bar Association Conference I jumped at the opportunity as it complements the role that I perform through The NZ E-Discovery Blog – raising the awareness of e-discovery and providing access to the latest information in relation to electronic discovery. The more that we can do as an industry to equip all in the legal industry with greater access to information and potential solutions, it will assist to raising the understanding and how we can remove many unnecessary costs. At the same time it is important to ensure those who adopt technology are comfortable with how it works and the value it can bring. Obviously the more in the profession that are able to fully maximise the use of technology at an early stage will be able to provide more benefit to their clients with a more productive workflow.

In addition to my blog, I am able to share other key developments and commentary from respected local and global sources through the likes of twitter and linkedin. At the very least I hope now having a resource for this information is providing those in NZ with greater awareness in relation to electronic discovery. As I am totally independent (not tied to any software or provider), I hope the information that I provide is both informative and assists people make up their own mind as to what the best software solution or service provider is for them. As we all know, there is not a one size fits all approach (no matter what some will lead you to believe).

I look forward to posting further following the conference with any key developments that arise.

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