Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Technolawyer grows on me...sorta

Are law firms just screwed when they do a discovery motion? I mean, as a techie, sometimes we have to scramble around and produce stuff because some lawyer somewhere took half a second to poorly word their request. We send them *our* best efforts at "discovering" what they're looking for. Often, we give them more than is needed. Just to be safe. Just to sure there *won't* be anybody knocking on the door saying, "Wait a minute. We need full access to your network files and email system and archival system." Whoa, Nelly.

This approach can often lead to a situation described by a Technical Release newsletter (yes, I subscribe, and thank you for not charging, and thank you for the great job you're doing which is anything but worthless...ahem...are we clear on this point now?) called "TR: How Many Discovery Documents Can You Review in 30 Days?‏". In this instance, one of the case studies highlighted in the newsletter addresses how "a federal agency involved in a contract dispute with one of its suppliers, had just received its opponent’s discovery production—48,747 documents in single-page TIFF image format, with document breaks but without digitized text."

At which point I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. That is funny. I'm sorry, but I think that is hysterical. A single-page TIFF image format? Are you serious? And you guys have to accept that? Seriously?!!

Yes, I'm waving my nerd banner now, see me wave it high overhead? What I understand this "single-page TIFF image" to mean is: they sent a ginormous picture of the almost 50,000 documents to the federal agency. They basically screwed the federal agency.

So the truth of the matter is that you have to take whatever we give you? And then you have to go out and hire another company to decode/decipher/decompress/deduplicate/digitize the opponent's discovery production? What a process. Borders on scam-artistry. So when my boss walks into my office and says, "We need to produce anything with the word "avulsion" in it between March of 2001 and today. Put whatever you find on a cd and send it to our general counsel and me when you get the chance. I'm going to lunch." I can send whatever I find in any format I choose?

I'm thinking we can produce a picture of our computer room as discovery. See? Here's a picture of where the data is. Here's a picture of 200 million documents. Now that's hawt!


Trannyhead said...

The answer to your question, "Are law firms totally screwed when they ask for discovery?" is:

Generally, yes. Though it depends on the litigation.

I once worked a case where I had to dig through several lawn bags full of receipts. I've done cases where I had entire WAREHOUSES of crap. And even a few where I had to read ENDLESS email chains and pay orders. *shudder* Bad flashbacks!

Tranny said...

CEC = Chuck E Cheese.

I don't expect to go there without contracting a few dozen diseases, anyway. Besides - my kid LOVES the place. :-)

Cee said...

omg- that's awful/amazing to send a one page TIFF document... but I thought you had recourse if one party gave you horibble discovery- isn't there some kind of standard? I thought there was....

wow, craziness!

gudnuff said...

Just a very minor correction: they didn't send a one-page TIFF document, I'm pretty sure. What they sent probably was hundreds and hundreds of pages long. But it was one single electronic file. And it was a picture, a photograph of all those documents. Which means it was not editable and maybe not even searchable. And it would have been massively huge and cumbersome to load, under typical conditions. So, it wasn't just a one-page document. But hardly more helpful than a one-pager.

gudnuff said...

'course, I could be wrong about that. Maybe I should re-read that article. Maybe it literally was a single page. Which is totally crazy. How do you fit 48,747 documents on a single page? I assumed single-page TIFF image meant a single electronic file that was viewable and stretched on and on for hundreds of normal page lengths, but was just a single-page view, meaning, there weren't additional files included, or extra tabs or worksheets or other views, just the one never-ending file without page breaks.....

Hyphen Mama said...

hahaha! I love your sense of humor. I used to be a techie and although I never had to do anything for a legal discovery, I used to get client files needing auditing. I LOVED that... I could bill out hours of time, sifting through their database (that they CLEARLY could have done themselves).

The TIFF file cracks me up!!