Raves for Two New EDD Books
Albert Barsocchini and Craig Ball
Law Technology News
"Electronic Discovery and Evidence"
by Michael Arkfeld
2003 Law Partner Publishing
Reviewed by Albert Barsocchini
Attorneys are scrambling to learn the skills necessary to master the art of the discovery and disclosure of electronic information. The process of EDD is not understood by many practitioners and therefore a good book on the subject is welcomed.
This new book by Michael Arkfeld is a great resource for litigators taking on the challenges of electronic discovery. "Electronic Discovery and Evidence" is divided into eight chapters. It covers the importance of understanding electronic information in litigation, the creation and storage of electronic information, the structure and type of electronic information, computer forensics, experts and service bureaus, the collecting and processing of electronic information, the production process, court procedures and rules, and the admissibility of electronic evidence.
The chapter on the structure and type of electronic information lays out in detail the types of evidence available in software applications, how to get it, supporting law and discovery pointers. The section on e-mail is a must-read for all attorneys because e-mail is the centerpiece of most electronic discovery. I also found the chapter on the collecting, processing and searching of electronic information to be especially important because of the potential for discovery costs getting out of control in electronic discovery. It is a good overview of how to keep costs down and get the information you need quickly and efficiently.
The publisher offers a free six-month subscription for content updates and access to a members-only password-protected Web site with helpful practice forms, case summaries and other electronic discovery resources. Priced at $149, this is a book that every litigator should keep on their desk. For more information and helpful material on electronic discovery visit Michael Arkfeld's Web site at www.arkfeld.com.
Albert Barsocchini is a member of the LTN Editorial Advisory Board and is principal of The Lawtek Group, based in San Rafael, Calif.
"Essentials of Electronic Discovery: Finding and Using Cyber Evidence"
by Joan Feldman
Reviewed by Craig Ball
In this book, e-discovery uberguru Joan Feldman, president of Computer Forensics Inc., shares her extensive knowledge of how to find and manage what is fast becoming the most important and perilous challenge of modern litigation: electronic evidence.
Recognizing that non-technical readers can become mired in the argot and aracana of computer forensics, the book favors breadth over depth, lucidly touching upon a broad range of key issues relating to why and how to seek discovery of digital evidence. It's an effective, accessible way for an attorney or IT professional new to the topic to quickly become comfortable with the concepts, issues and terminology of electronic discovery.
Feldman's writing shines in its description of how to select and work with computer forensics experts. By helping lawyers work more effectively and efficiently with computer forensics consultants, the book can easily pay for itself.
Apt analogies are used to describe computer functions, and Feldman makes the case for moving swiftly to secure the assistance of a computer forensics specialist. The need to manage information practices to be ready for e-discovery before a lawsuit can't be overemphasized, and the book offers sound principles for electronic risk management.
It also suggests areas that must be addressed by organizational policy and practice, and offers guidelines for systems administrators. Readers will come to understand that archiving everything, while increasingly feasible, is not often desirable.
Alternatively, there are enormous risks attendant to destruction of data outside a sound and faithfully implemented electronic records retention program. A CD-ROM contains the book's full text in Adobe .pdf format, easily searched for keywords. While handy, and more compact than its clunky three-ring print counterpart, the CD seems a lost opportunity. It easily could have provided photos of computer hardware, illustrations, PowerPoint presentations, shareware utilities for simple computer forensics tasks, etc.
Craig Ball, a member of the LTN Editorial Advisory Board, is a Texas trial lawyer and serves as a computer forensics special master and consultant.