Baker & Hostetler partners Gilbert Keteltas and Karin Scholz Jenson have been named co-chairs of the firm's e-discovery practice, known for its role in recovering funds for victims of the Bernard Madoff scandal and for the team's Discovery Advocate blog.
The duo are replacing John Parker and frequent Law Technology News author Judy Selby who established the unit in 2009.
"After two-plus years of setting up the team from scratch, John and I were ready to hand over the reins," Selby explained. She and Parker remain team members.
Keteltas and Jenson jointly explained their plans and perspectives to LTN by email.
LTN: In what new directions will the team move under your leadership? Will you focus more, or less, on any specific legal or technology areas?
K/J: We intend to drive a greater focus on the advocacy side of discovery, while continuing to deploy leading technologies on the litigation support side. Rather than treat electronic discovery as a back-office litigation support function, we think the practice of discovery is at its best when seasoned litigators apply targeted advocacy using the latest developments in the law to address the costs, burdens, and risks of litigation.
LTN: Predictive coding is the hottest topic in our field. Now that we're beyond the stage of initial court decisions, what are your thoughts on the next steps for that technology are there specific court decisions that you feel are still needed? What about from the vendors do you see the need for any new software features?
K/J: We have been engaged in at least three major matters to help sophisticated clients assess the real benefits and costs of leading predictive coding tools. We believe we are just seeing the beginning of meaningful court decisions on TAR. No case has yet analyzed or blessed the outcome of a TAR process. If anything, the case law and the costly litigation sideshows that some of the cases suggest may be a disincentive for some to test the waters of TAR. We approach predictive coding by: (1) first assessing whether the case is appropriate for TAR, and (2) negotiating protocols with our adversaries that will avoid extended motions practice over TAR itself (which could eclipse any cost savings from the use of TAR). We think TAR is exciting and are using a variety of TAR tools. In 2013, we would like vendors to show us that TAR tools are not simply more efficient than traditional tools and processes in locating relevant documents, but are better and more efficient than traditional review tools and processes in finding the IMPORTANT relevant documents.
LTN: Readers tell us their top priorities are cost and defensibility. What does Baker & Hostetler do to help reduce e-discovery costs and to improve defensibility? What else are you hearing from your clients about their own priorities?
K/J: Again, the answer is advocacy. By focusing (often with our adversaries) on how to get to the information needed to resolve matters actually in dispute rather than all information that meets the broad definition of relevance we are often able to significantly limit the scope and volume of discovery in even the most complex litigation. Staged discovery in class actions is one example. Through substantive early discussions with our adversaries, we have been able to reduce the scope of custodian-based discovery by as much as 80 percent.