So much for Thanksgiving vacation plans for the lawyers and consultants who advise Hewlett-Packard Co. and Autonomy. The legal technology community has been abuzz since November 20 about HP's startling revelation that it was taking a $8.8 billion write down related to its purchase of Autonomy, while accusing its executives of accounting fraud. If you've been in Antarctica and missed all the action, HP is accusing its acquisition of "accounting improprieties, misrepresentation, and disclosure failures," complete with alleged whistle-blowers and other mayhem. LTN will be following all the nuances as this story develops. You can't make this stuff up I'll bet the movie rights have already been sold.
>> Men in High Places: Frisky Nigel Murray checks in to let us know about his latest adventure, all for a good cause: he is joining the "2 Mile Club." Murray, managing director at Huron Legal in London, elaborates about his December 1 plans: "I have rather foolishly planned to do a parachute jump." He will jump from a plane at 13,000 feet and free fall for 12,000 (strapped to a member of the "Red Devil" parachute regiment). The jump will benefit Help for Heroes a charity that supports injured soldiers, to help them "get their lives and confidence back together, so that they can look forward to a worthwhile future." You can cheer him on with a donation here.
Update: Here's the video of his jump, with his caveat: "For anyone wondering about my Michelin-Man impression I was wearing multiple layers of clothes!"
>> Attention Headhunters: After 13 years at Sidley & Austin, including five as CIO, Chicago-based David Otte has left the firm to explore new professional opportunities. "I'm looking for a senior executive leadership role with the professional services industry," Otte told LTN. He wants to "leverage his strategic planning, financial management, and organizational leadership skills to deliver best-in-class service that transcends traditional IT functions by partnering with all elements of the business and executive management." Otte, a former member of LTN's Editorial Advisory Board, offers a bonus trifecta: he's a certified public accountant, and has masters degrees in business administration and information science.
>> Fios 2 FiOS: Daniel Pelc has left Merrill Corp. to join Plymouth, Minn.-based Verizon Enterprise as its principal of e-discovery. Pelc says he's excited to be "rejoining my Fios colleague, Vikas Pall, referring not to the Verizon high-speed internet service, but to their former employer, Portland-based Fios (sold Thursday to DTI). In his new job, his unit's focus is "on delivering pre-litigation and litigation assistance with a clear focus on security. I am consulting with clients on active matters as well as heading up our thought leadership and marketing efforts." Fios is the Gaelic word for knowledge.
>> More Musical Chairs: Robert Eisenberg has joined iDiscovery Solutions Inc., as its director of intelligent discovery solutions. The company operates from New York City and Washington, D.C., and offers e-discovery, expert testimony, and enterprise security consulting. The company, he says, focuses on creating "budget-conscious long-term" EDD regimens for corporate clients. Karen Schuler is the new COO at Pittsburg, Pa.-based bit-x-bit. She will be handling e-discovery and forensics, and directing the companies continued growth, said vice president and general counsel Joseph Decker.
>> Location, Location, Location: Those of us who create and attend conferences are acutely aware that southern states have a very strong lure between December and March, when northern states are frigid and windy. Attendees may not be excited about a January meeting in Minneapolis, but they count the days until they can get on a plane for New Orleans, Florida, or Arizona. So it's not surprising to find two prestigious electronic data discovery events in Phoenix, almost back to back.
U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin has just signed on for The Sedona Conference's first eDiscovery Cooperation Training Program, February 21-22, at the WigWam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. The event will be limited to 50 "invitation only" participants. (Sedona wants to control the mix of plaintiff and defense lawyers.) Those selected will be eligible for 11 hours of continuing legal education credit (including an hour of ethics). The cost is $1,195, with some discounts available. It's co-chaired by Sedona's director of judicial education, Kenneth Withers, and retired judge Ralph Artigliere. Other usual suspects on the faculty roster include U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola, Austin lawyer Craig Ball; Jennifer Hamilton, senior and global e-discovery counsel of Deere & Co. (recipient of last year's LTN Innovation Award for corporate counsel), among others.
The Cactus League spring training crowd will be happy to see the March 13-15 dates for the second annual Arizona State University-[Michael] Arkfeld eDiscovery and Digital Evidence Conference, in Tempe. "The conference is dedicated to providing practical, structured, and cutting-edge CLE instruction on electronic discovery issues," says Arkfeld, a former federal prosecutor who is now principal at Arkfeld & Associates. Keynote speaker: Paul Grimm, chief U.S. magistrate judge (Maryland). Other speakers include Facciola, Littler's Cecil Lynn, and Maura Grossman, of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. For registration details, see law.asu.edu/ediscovery.
>> Hot Apps: Baker & McKenzie has launched "cross-border listings apps" for Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The apps help investment bankers, CFOs, in-house counsel, and other mangers consider global listing options, the firm notes. "Companies are no longer defaulting solely to their home market for [initial public offerings]. Working with their financial and legal advisors, they are thinking more creatively, and the need to compare the requirements and benefits of each exchange has grown," the firm says. "And despite a decline in overall global IPO volume over the past year, top exchanges around the world are seeing an increase in listings and more capital raised by issuers based in outside jurisdictions."
>> Fire & Ice: Our community lost two giants: Jay Jaffe, president and CEO at Jaffe PR and Gary Munneke, professor of law at Pace Law School and a 38-year activist with the American Bar Association's Law Practice Management section.
Robert Ambrogi knew both men, "Two friends died at too-young ages," he said. "Jay was a true trailblazer and pioneer in legal marketing," wrote Ambrogi on his LawSites blog. Ambrogi worked with Jay for two years, and recalls an inspiring moment: "Once early in my time working with Jay, when I was uncertain about my approach to something, Jay said, "Trust your instincts. They are better than you realize." With that simple remark, Jay gave me a much-appreciated boost of confidence, and I often recall it, even today, it when I have doubts about something I am doing."
Munneke died on Thanksgiving day. Here is a link to his obituary in our sister publication, The New York Law Journal.
"Gary had one of the biggest, warmest hearts of anyone I've ever met, "observed Ross Kodner, president and CEO of MicroLaw Inc., also a steady presence at the ABA/LPM. "Gary was a warm, intelligent, capable, and thoroughly kind human being. It was a pleasure to work with him. He is sorely missed," observed Daniel Coolidge, another a long-time LPM denizen.
I met Gary when I was a part-time law student at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and he quickly became a treasured and supportive mentor. I was the first "night" student to become a national officer of the ABA's Law Student Division (and one of the few women). I will always keenly cherish how Gary was a guide, advocate, and friend and helped me navigate difficult waters.
We all will miss him very, very much. Our hearts go out to his family.
Monica Bay is editor-in-chief of Law Technology News and a member of the California Bar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lawtechnews @LTNMonicaBay