Legaltech at Legalweek Preview: A Judicial Perspective

by David Horrigan on January 25, 2019

Community , Education & Certification , Legal & Industry Education , Professional Development

A highlight of any legal conference is the ability to get insights from the bench, with federal and state judges opining on the legal issues of the day.

Legaltech at Legalweek is no exception.

Now in its thirty-eighth year, when the venerable legal technology conference kicks off next week for its 2019 edition, Relativity will have the honor of having four current and retired judges participating in our educational sessions on Wednesday: Access to Justice: Substantial Challenges and How You, the Law, and Technology Can Help and The State of the e-Discovery Union: A Roundtable on the Industry and the Profession. (Find more details on those sessions below.)

The four jurists speaking in educational sessions produced by Relativity will be retired U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis IV, who is now distinguished lecturer at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, New York State Supreme Court Justice Tanya Kennedy, retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, who is now senior counsel at DLA Piper, and U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez.

Ahead of seeing them at the conference, we asked these judicial experts what they’re looking forward to hearing—and interested in seeing—at Legaltech 2019.

Globalized Data Meets Parochial Regulation

Judge Francis told us he believes a theme of Legalweek 2019 could be “Globalized data meets parochial regulation.”

Francis, who issued the initial decision in the matter that would become United States v. Microsoft, known commonly as the Dublin Warrant Case, sees local laws hindering the international handling of data.

“While the technological ability to mine and share data and thereby increase knowledge is expanding, we have the French data authority fining Google 50 million euros for inadequate transparency, we have California passing its own consumer privacy act, we have Illinois regulating biometrics, and, of course, we have Max Schrems initiating new proceedings against the tech companies,” Judge Francis noted.

He called for international standards rather than a “balkanized” system of competing—and sometimes contradictory—local laws.

“Such a balkanized system threatens to impede the exchange of data, as the relevant players will be forced to conform to the most restrictive regulation. The challenge will be to try to reconcile competing views of privacy and other values in order to establish at least national, and ideally international, standards to provide the legal certainty necessary for continued growth in data technology.”

With these data considerations in mind, Judge Francis says he’s looking forward to the following Legaltech at Legalweek sessions:

  • the Tuesday keynote with former U.S. attorneys general Alberto Gonzales and Loretta Lynch,
  • the Thursday session, GDPR 8 Months Later: Trends in Litigation and Regulation,
  • and another Thursday session, 2018 CA Consumer Privacy Act: The Big Tail Wagging the U.S.

Peck on Panels and Polls

In addition to his role in the State of the e-Discovery Union, Judge Peck will be speaking on two judicial panels and a session for the launch of this year’s Exterro judges’ survey.

One of the judicial panels is Wednesday’s Legaltech Judicial Panel Keynote. Beginning after the Access to Justice session and moderated by Patrick Oot of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, joining Judge Peck on the panel will be Chief U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti (W.D. Pa.), U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte (N.D. Cal.), and U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson (E.D. Tex.)

Judge Peck will also be speaking on a judicial panel at Rockefeller Center sponsored by Driven Inc. Organized by Driven’s Tara Emory and Philip Favro and moderated by Emory, the Driven panel will include Judge Peck, Judge Rodriguez, Judge Laporte, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart Aaron (S.D.N.Y.), and U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre (D.N.J.)

Not unlike Relativity’s State of the e-Discovery Union—where participants will have buzzers to indicate their assent or dissent—the Driven judicial panel will be interactive.

“Driven’s panel is going to be a series of hypothetical cases, and we will let the audience ‘rule’ on the case by voting with their phones,” Emory said. “After each vote, we will then have our judges discuss how they would opine on each case.”

Don’t be surprised if you hear Judge Peck continue his evangelism for Fed. R. Evid. 502(d), which provides for court orders to protect the attorney-client privilege if privileged materials are disclosed in litigation.

Rule 502 is now over a decade old, and Peck is probably the rule’s most vocal proponent, having advocated for the rule at legal conferences, including Relativity Fest, where Judge Peck has gone as far as saying the failure to obtain a 502(d) order could be legal malpractice in certain circumstances.

“I’ll be continuing to proselytize for lawyers to use Rule 502(d),” Peck said.

Justice for All

Joining Justice Kennedy and Judge Rodriguez on the Access to Justice panel will be Professor Maura Grossman of the University of Waterloo, Zabrina Jenkins of Starbucks, and James Sandman of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

Grossman will discuss how artificial intelligence can aid access to justice efforts, Jenkins will outline corporate efforts, including those in Washington State and at Starbucks, and Sandman will discuss the challenges facing equal access to justice and the LSC’s work as the nonprofit corporation that is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation.

Justice Kennedy has noted that—although courts can’t raise funds for access to justice—they can create partnerships with organizations to affect change.

However, Rodriguez joins Sandman in seeing challenges.

Boycott by the Bar?

Although the Access to Justice session will address many of the ways the legal community can improve legal services for people from all walks of life, Judge Rodriguez is a realist.

“There is sometimes resistance from the bar to access to justice programs,” the judge said. “For instance, in San Antonio, there was a proposal to have kiosks to provide legal assistance on family law matters. There was opposition from lawyers who thought such programs would affect their practices and their livelihoods.”

“The problem with the lawyers’ argument is that most of the people using these programs don’t have the money to pay legal fees anyway, so these lawyers really aren’t losing any business,” Rodriguez added.

The Great Debate: Where You’ll See the Judges at Legaltech

On Wednesday, January 30, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, New York State Supreme Court Justice Tanya Kennedy and U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez (W.D. Tex.) will be speaking at the program, Access to Justice: Substantial Challenges and How You, the Law, and Technology Can Help.

Early in the day, at 1:30 p.m., retired U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis IV (S.D.N.Y.), who now serves as distinguished lecturer at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, and retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck (S.D.N.Y.), who is now senior counsel at DLA Piper, will participate in The State of the e-Discovery Union: A Roundtable on the Industry and the Profession.

Both of these sessions will take place at the Hilton’s Sutton North Room on the second floor.

Judges Francis and Peck will be “expert adjudicators” at the State of the e-Discovery Union Roundtable, where teams of panelists will debate the vital issues of the day affecting e-discovery, including the technological competence of legal teams, data privacy and data protection, industry consolidation and careers in e-discovery, and emerging technologies, such as blockchain.

The judges will adjudicate two teams of e-discovery industry leaders. “Team Data” will consist of Bob Ambrogi of LawSites and LexBlog, Ari Kaplan of Ari Kaplan Advisors, and Mary Mack of ACEDS. “Team Discovery” will include Ryan O’Leary of IDC, Kelly Twigger of ESI Attorneys and Above the Law, and Zach Warren of Legaltech News. Relativity’s David Horrigan will serve as moderator.

Joining the judges as expert adjudicators will be HaystackID chief revenue officer Mike Bryant and Phillips Nizer partner Patrick Burke, who serves also as chair of the firm’s Data Technology and Cybersecurity functions.

With HaystackID’s recent acquisition of eTERA Consulting, Bryant provides expert insight into e-discovery consolidation. Meanwhile Burke provides blockchain expertise, calling upon his experience as deputy superintendent at the New York State Department of Financial Services before his move to Philips Nizer.

Whether it's weighty issues affecting access to justice, our morning panel on the International Cloud, or some substantive educational fun with buzzers at the e-Discovery State of the Union, please join us in New York on Wednesday. After all, it may be the last state of the union you’ll see this year.

David Horrigan is Relativity’s discovery counsel and legal education director. An attorney, law school guest lecturer, e-discovery industry analyst, and award-winning journalist, David has served as counsel at the Entertainment Software Association, reporter and assistant editor at The National Law Journal, and analyst and counsel at 451 Research. 


Watch the Relativity Fest 2018 Judicial Panel for More Legal Lessons


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