CEDS Certification: What a Difference a Certification Makes – Part 2

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with a manager of practice support and a paralegal, both who obtained their CEDS for different reasons. Fascinating discussions ensued so let’s dive in.

I first spoke with R.P. Smith, the Manager of Practice Support at Jones Walker LLP in New Orleans, LA.  With over 15 years of experience in the legal industry, he now successfully manages a team responsible for the development and implementation of cost-effective technology solutions for a myriad of practice groups across 19 offices nationwide. R.P. obtained his CEDS in March 2012.

R.P. came from humble beginnings starting out as an office assistant at Watkins and Eager in Mississippi. He then then moved on to a paralegal position at Greenberg Traurig after two and a half years. Next on the rung of the ladder of success was a stint as Practice Technology Support Specialist at Carlton Fields, P.A. where he stayed for over three years. He finally landed his dream job as Manager of Practice Support/eDiscovery at Jones Walker in New Orleans and has been with them since November 2010.

In 2012, R.P. was invited to be part of the Advisory Board at ACEDS for the second testing and helped evaluate the entire procedure. Was the CEDS exam current, relevant and beneficial? Did he learn anything while there? These were challenges he faced in the evaluation process and the answer was a definitive yes. R.P.’s also had his eye toward making sure the CEDS exam also included everything related to best practices in eDiscovery. He was one of the second batch of people to take the test and in 2012, he got his CEDS certification.

Prior to getting his CEDS, when different projects come up in his job, they could be quite scattered and there wasn’t really a process in place. Post CEDS, he is now fully prepared to address each challenge with a wealth of knowledge and an immediate action plan to put into place. Oh, and by the way, if you need someone to talk to about collection of data, R.P. is the man!

As a side, R.P. received the Distinguished Peer Award: Young Professional of the Year from ILTA in 2013.

I then spoke with Sheila Grela with the firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP in San Diego working as a litigation paralegal. Sheila has both a Certified eDiscovery specialist (CEDS) and an Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP®) as well as an extensive legal background spanning over two decades. Sheila is experienced in all aspects of litigation. She has assisted attorneys on matters ranging from the analysis of value engineering change orders on government contracts, to multi-million-dollar contract litigation, as well as class action suits and construction litigation matters. Sheila’s computer expertise includes Microsoft® Office applications, Relativity®, Ipro Eclipse®, Concordance®, and TextMap®.

She received her paralegal certificate with honors from the ABA-approved USD Paralegal program and earned a Contract Management Certificate from San Diego State University.  Her document management skills have been furthered through the Litigation Technology Management Certificate program, offered through the UC San Diego | Extension Studies program.  She is an active member of the Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists, San Diego Paralegal Association, National Association of Legal Assistants, San Diego Legal Secretaries Association, and the San Diego Chapter of Women in eDiscovery, for which she previously served as the Membership Director. Whoa! Lots to cover there. Impressive, eh?

I asked her to share her thoughts on the certification training, exam and how it has benefitted her and ACEDS community as a whole. She indicated that she first heard about ACEDS from Meg Marksberry, the instructor of an eDiscovery course through UC San Diego Extension.  Meg discussed education during that course including her goal of obtaining a CEDS. It was the beginning of an important change in Sheila’s career.

It was at a 2013 San Diego eDiscovery Retreat when Sheila had her “Aha” moment.  She realized the importance of eDiscovery and how it related to her role as a litigation paralegal. She was listening to several key members in the San Diego eDiscovery community including Browning Marean (RIP) and Justine Phillips with Sheppard Mullen and thought to herself that if she wanted to properly serve both the attorneys and clients, it was critical that she needed to understand the concepts involved in eDiscovery. It became clear that she had to learn to correctly apply the knowledge, skill and techniques involved in both the procedural and technical aspects of eDiscovery – and quick!

Many ACEDS members encouraged her to study for the CEDS examination.  In particular, Andy Alcindor, CEDS of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, took the time to explain some of the technical concepts that she needed help in understanding and Sheila indicated that he was a great ACEDS mentor.  She made me laugh when she told me that she used to walk around with both the CEDS handbook and the Sedona Glossary and wore out more than 15 highlighters in the study process. The icing on the “study” cake was the ACEDS eDiscovery Essentials online course and tests.

When asked about advice for others who may be contemplating taking the exam, Sheila was adamant that it is a necessity for any litigation paralegal serious about their professionalism and the future of their job. She listed the five basic steps for the entire process:

  1. Sign-up as an ACEDS member as well as their preparatory course.
  2. Speak to someone who has taken the exam over the phone.
  3. Find a mentor to help oversee your course of study.
  4. Sign-up for the ACEDS eDiscovery Essential course and take the tests for each module.
  5. Take the CEDS exam.

As Sheila stated, just follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to the top of the salary range, the top of the list of job applicants for that dream position and R-E-S-P-E-C-T from the litigation partners as well. Thank you for your enthusiasm and time, Sheila.

Please share this blog as these great CEDS members are ROCK STARS!

Next week we’ll be delving into that SCOTUS ruling about police needing a pesky little search warrant to track your cell phone location, Carpenter v. United States, decided June 22, 2018. See you then and have a fabulous and productive week. Happy 4th of July!

eDiscovery Strategies to Reduce GDPR Risk

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) poses significant new risks in copying, transferring and using EU-based data in US legal matters. The problem is acute for US companies with employees in Europe. The GDPR’s expansive definition of “personal” data to mean any identifying information – even a person’s name – makes it virtually inevitable that the regulation will apply. The good news is that proven eDiscovery strategies can be repurposed to minimize the post-GDPR risks of conducting discovery in EU countries.

Key provisions of the GDPR relating to US discovery

The GDPR, which took effect on May 25, governs the use and handling of “Personal Data” of EU residents. It applies to any company that falls within the definition of a “Data Controller” or “Data Processor.” Controllers determine the purpose and means of the processing; Processors perform the processing.

The similarity to eDiscovery terminology is purely coincidental. GDPR processing is far broader in scope than eDiscovery processing. In fact, it covers effectively all uses of data throughout the litigation lifecycle. This includes the EDRM stages of collection through production (inclusive of review), ongoing data storage and data destruction at matter close. In effect, litigants, law firms and service providers all come under the GDPR.

There are several GDPR requirements of particular relevance to discovery. Processing is only allowed within specific legal grounds defined by the GDPR. It cannot go outside the scope of the initial purpose. The data must be kept secure. There are restrictions on data transfer within the EU and additional restrictions on transfers to countries outside the EU. Finally, the GDPR has an extremely broad definition of personal data, even including name and work email address.

The intersection of eDiscovery and GDPR goals

The GDPR collides head on with US discovery in the context of matters requiring EU-based document collections. There are three main avenues to reducing risk in this situation. First, collect less data. Second, transfer less data to the US. And third, implement heightened restrictions around data disclosure during and after litigation.

These three points dovetail with several familiar eDiscovery goals. Reducing data volume is a prime strategy to cut costs. Transferring only the smallest possible subset of records from the home country to the US limits exposure of company data in other unrelated legal matters. Cybersecurity is of course always essential. Finally, privileged and sensitive information is redacted prior to production.

The ideal way to avoid GDPR issues is to not collect EU residents’ personal data. Unfortunately, given the GDPR’s expansive definition, not collecting any personal data is virtually impossible. (This article presupposes that the personal data is not itself the subject matter of the legal proceeding.) However, there are legal and technological strategies available to keep collection, transfer and production of personal data to a minimum.


Five eDiscovery strategies to reduce risk under the GDPR

These five proven eDiscovery strategies can be deployed to reduce risk under the GDPR.

1. Take full advantage of legal tools to limit the scope of discovery.

The first strategy is to deploy the full battery of legal tools for limiting the scope of discovery:

  • Raise the GDPR as an issue in the meet and confer, scheduling conference and initial disclosures. In state courts that don’t present similar procedural opportunities, proactively raise GDPR issues as early as possible. Lay the groundwork for your argument to the judge.
  • Seek an agreement to limit EU-based discovery. This approach will be most fruitful when both parties are operating under the GDPR.
  • Make specific objections to requests for production on the basis of undue burden, cost and other proportionality factors based on the GDPR. Where available, agree to produce alternative sources of the data from US custodians instead.
  • Invest extra time and effort in EU custodian interviews to identify responsive files, leveraging identification to prepare a highly targeted collection plan. Don’t take on unnecessary risks by collecting non-responsive files.
  • Seek a protective order limiting the scope of discovery to minimize or even avoid EU-based collections. The costs and risks associated with GDPR compliance can be powerful facts in support of a proportionality argument.

2. Use eDiscovery technology tools to limit the scope of collection.

The second strategy is to limit the scope of collection using forensically sound collection software and methodology. A defensible collection plan can include using eDiscovery technology to apply date restrictions, file type filtering or keyword searches during the collection.

Use the legal tools outlined above to lay the groundwork for this strategy. When improperly designed or implemented, filtering during collection can open the door to an eDiscovery challenge. Prior agreement with opposing counsel or court approval for your collection plan goes a long way to reducing eDiscovery risk.

Companies with ongoing, large-scale EU-based discovery needs may want to evaluate enterprise discovery solutions such as Encase. While enterprise solutions are a significant investment, the GDPR has changed the cost-benefit analysis.

3. Review in the country of origin to limit data transfers.

Data transfer is a significant GDPR risk factor, especially to countries outside the EU. The third strategy is to use a local service provider for eDiscovery processing and hosting of the EU collection data. Review can be done remotely by the case team or by local contract attorneys (a well-established option for reviewing foreign language documents). Under this approach, only the documents actually produced in the case are transferred to the US.

Whether local review makes sense in your case is a fact-specific determination. The benefits are directly proportional to the total collection volume and the amount (actual or suspected) of personal data of EU employees and customers. Also relevant, and perhaps most important, is the type of personal data at issue. The GDPR provides heightened protections – and associated penalties – for sensitive data such as medical records and financial information.

4. Use the protective order to limit further disclosure of produced documents.

When designing the discovery plan at the start of the case, you should assume that some portion of the EU-based collection will ultimately be produced. Use the protective order to erect barriers against further disclosure of EU residents’ personal data in produced documents.

First, designate documents that originated in the EU as attorneys’ eyes only. The receiving party may always seek a change in classification for a particular file that does not include any GDPR-covered information.

Second, agree on a procedure for making and challenging redactions and pseudonymisation. Pseudonymisation – consistent substitution of a pseudonym for the real name throughout the dataset – has been recommended by many commentators as a GDPR compliance strategy in both the business operations and discovery contexts.

Third, consider alternative, more secure means of production. For example, you can make designated records available in a firewalled, locked-down review database. This can be especially useful in limiting the risk of production to expert witnesses, as they often have inadequate data security measures.

Last but not least, include robust requirements for data destruction at matter close.

5. Repurpose existing eDiscovery redaction solutions.

Redaction will be a key tool of GDPR compliance. All litigators are familiar with redacting privileged information and many have experience with redacting personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI). Good workflows and technology tools already exist to identify and redact privileged or sensitive information.

The fifth strategy is to repurpose existing eDiscovery redaction solutions to redact non-relevant personal data of EU residents from business documents prior to production. It’s true that personal data as defined by the GDPR is far broader in scope than PII/PHI and is different in kind from privileged information. However, there’s no need to reinvent the process wheel.

There are many good eDiscovery strategies for cutting costs, reducing risk and keeping data secure. Some of those strategies can readily be pressed into service to meet the similar, sometimes overlapping requirements of the GDPR.

CEDS Spotlight – John Randall, CEDS

One of the things I love is hearing the stories of fellow CEDS members and the journey that lead to getting e-discovery certified. For quite some time the default answer I had back to others would be, I do not need to be certified. As an e-discovery consultant who is well versed in all areas of the EDRM model what was the point? Was there really a need to get myself certified? The question one may ask is this: Why Did I Think That?

To answer that, let’s go ten years back in time. 2007 was entirely different than it is now, processing was seen then as the most important aspect of e-discovery. Just about all vendors were getting into this from the small to large companies. From third party solutions to proprietary, on the day that the new FRCP rules went into effect on December 1st, 2006 I also released the first comprehensive comparison report on third party e-discovery applications.

E-Discovery training was typically software specific. These software companies would give certification training but only on their software. It did not do much for those wanting and needing to know more about e-discovery. In my opinion there was a huge need in the industry for software neutral e-discovery training. Due to that void, I created and taught e-discovery classes nationally. A beginner one-day class on e-discovery, a two-day intermediate class, and a four-day lab intensive graduate level class. I would get responses from one extreme to the other. Some owners of vendors did not see the value in e-discovery training. Or they did not want their employees gaining those additional skills and then bolting off to a new company with a higher pay rate. On the other side would be responses such as “Does it come with a certification?” At this time, it was a whisper that was about to become gaudy? in the foreseeable future.

2007 brought about a huge shift in the industry and this can be directly tied back to the FRCP rules going into effect. For law firms to be able to review documents natively was a game changer. Concordance and Summation were dominating yet weaknesses of the software itself, became more apparent when the switch came to reviewing tiffs to native. As well as the shift from desktop application to an online one. This opened the market for other companies to create and market review tools. So, there was this move that began a decade ago from the processing function dominating to online review. It was a time where vendors were also coming out with their own proprietary programs. Some were better than others, yet many were bare bones with no forward movement. A true lack of scalability and customization were apparent in many of these tools. Where would the next leap come? Who had the vision to see the future of online review?

Numerous friends in DC came up to me and said there was this one application I had to see and wanted to know my thoughts on it. At the time it was also just a whisper. This was not a review tool but a platform. An application that had forward movement, unlimited customization and yes scalability. After seeing the demo I was blown away with the first word out of my mouth being “Whoa”! The name of the application was called Relativity.

By the time Legal Tech 2008 came around the oversaturation of online review tools was apparent. 80% of all booths there had some type of review tool. It was insane how many jumped on the online tool bandwagon just as they had done with processing. Many processing third party applications still had issues with being able to read all embedded items and deep nesting to a lack of true Lotus Notes support.

The need for e-discovery training was also growing along with the word certification. By late 2009 the recession had its full grasp on this industry. With that the need for e-discovery training bottomed out. Within a year a few organizations came to the forefront with e-discovery certifications. At first, I was involved with one of these organizations but soon I took a step back and watched this all unfold. Who would rise from this e-discovery certification battle? I will be honest as I thought none would make it through. A few years later I still believed the best type of certification was through a full training program, something like what Georgetown training academy was doing.

ACEDS as everyone knows did come out on top. However, I was still skeptical wondering if it was the top certification for the industry? Does it have true value? Is it more than just a piece of paper? By 2016 at least for myself the answer was a resounding yes. A few friends of mine in the industry, who I trained years back, have received their CEDS and the question I asked was the same. Is this certification worth it? The answer was also yes.

This was my journey to becoming CEDS certified. Hesitation for a few years was caused by part ego and part not fully understanding how mainstream this had become in the industry. Saying rhetoric with phrases “As an E-Discovery consultant I am well versed in this area.” “I used to teach classes nationally what do I need a certification for?” Upon reflection though, the ACEDS certification is everything I had hoped a certification would be back in 2010. That there is inherent value in having it, a greater amount of respect in the industry for going through the process and knowing e-discovery from the early stages all the way through production. The ability to articulate to others potential pitfalls. Offering advice to a few attorneys is one thing where they may or may not listen. Offering advice with a CEDS attached to your name means the greater likelihood of those same attorneys paying more attention to what you may have to say.

There were a few takeaways I had once completing the certification process. The first is that it is a challenging exam. One that goes over all aspects of electronic discovery. The second is after watching the certification prep videos done by Mary Mack I believe all attorneys dealing with e-discovery should watch them. The industry is at the point where attorneys need to be more technical and this is a great way to getting there and fully understanding the process. Not everyone will have time to go through the full certification process but I have confidence that the prep videos are a must watch.

This industry now has online review at the forefront and modules to deal with other areas of the EDRM. Trying to compare one software program to another is a difficult process. Some e-discovery platforms started at processing and worked to the EDRM right. While a few others started at online review and worked to the EDRM left. One e-discovery application started at the far left in legal holds and worked its way right. Looking back ten years ago is interesting because in my opinion processing is dying a slow death. In the future it will be merged together in the ingestion process of online review. Analytics and predictive coding will all be done on the front end, unless AI technology becomes mainstream over predictive technology. When that happens then a new EDRM model will be needed.

CEDS Certification: What a Difference a Certification Makes – Part 1

As a relative newcomer to the whole CEDS certification process and exactly what it is, does, helps, etc., I thought that talking to a few CEDS certified members would not only help me, but also you. I figured that my readers could gain some valuable understanding as to why you may just want to check into getting your own certification. Without further ado…

I first spoke with Mike Quartararo, a name well known in legal technology. Mike is currently the founder and managing director of eDPM Advisory Services, a consulting firm providing advisory services and training in e-discovery, information governance, project management and legal technology. He is also the author of the 2016 book Project Management in Electronic Discovery, the only book in the legal industry to merge project management principles and best practices in electronic discovery. Mike has decades of experience delivering e-discovery, project management and legal technology services to law firms and Fortune 500 corporations across the globe. He has worked in legal technology and litigation support at large law firms, including ten years at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, and more recently, as the firm-wide director of litigation support at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

At the world of ACEDS. Mike was one of the originals, meaning that he was not only one of the first students to take the class and receive his CEDS certification, he helped write the program! Now keep in mind that he didn’t take the part of the exam that he wrote, but he did very well and of course, as one would expect, Mike received the certification with a score of over 80% correct.

The actual testing procedure is a four-hour test with 145 questions. As a side, the inaugural exam included the following 15 topics:

  • Information Management and Litigation Readiness
  • Project Planning
  • Litigation Hold Implementation
  • Collection Planning and Implementation
  • Data Processing
  • Data Culling
  • Review Planning
  • Document Review
  • Data Production
  • Project Management
  • Legal Framework and Obligation
  • International Discovery
  • Ethics
  • Technology
  • Budgeting

Today, the CEDS certification exam probes the exact same 15 e-discovery fields, however the content continues to be updated as various laws, rules, and cases change the eDiscovery landscape.

Because Mike was someone responsible for hiring and firing, I asked him what he thought the biggest value of a CEDS certified applicant would be. He immediately responded with, and I quote, “I know what they know!” He went on to state that being CEDS certified brings a certain baseline knowledge and skill to the table which is extremely helpful in the hiring process.

When asked which portion of the exam he finds most helpful, he responded with the cross-border portion of the test, especially now in light of the…yes, I’m going to say it, the dreaded GDPR. There, it’s out. The privacy change has already been incorporated into the CEDS materials. We’re on it! Thanks, Mike for your time.

I then spoke with Dawud Burke. Dawud has partnered with corporate and law firms for over 16 years navigating clientele through the challenges of handling electronic evidence for discovery for matters involving business and civil litigation, class actions, labor & employment, intellectual property, government investigations and other special matters.  He currently manages the Central South region of Littler Mendelson as a subject matter expert and serves the legal community as the Director of Membership of the ACEDS Houston Chapter.

Dawud was a pleasure to speak with and he had some insightful remarks as to why he took the CEDS exam. He stated that he was pursuing new career opportunities and knew that becoming CEDS certified would place his resume to the top of the heap, so to speak. Additionally, being certified increased his value amongst his colleagues and peers. He already had the experience, but the addition of the certification was key to getting the career he wanted. He also went out and obtained a Relativity Master certification. He certainly never rested on his laurels and it paid off handsomely for him.

The combination of his experience, CEDS certification, and Relativity Master certification led Dawud to his present position with Littler and his current salary is definitely reflective of the effort he had put into his profession.

When asked which portion of the exam he found most helpful, Dawud stated that he enjoyed the portion of the exam related to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as well as the actual discovery process. Personally, I truly believe it is critical for litigation support managers to fully understand the procedure as well as the terminology in the discovery process and Dawud agreed completely. Thanks to Dawud for his keen insight into the value of the CEDS certification and the time he took to speak with me.

Next week, I’ll be highlighting an attorney and a paralegal who took the exam for entirely different reasons.  My intention in bringing these experiences to you is to give you an idea of what is possible, depending on where you find yourself.  Your experience may be different.  See you then.

GDPR Privacy, Cloud Act and NE Chapter Reception

Featured photo: Brian Moretti, Mary Mack, Kaylee Walstad, David Horrigan and Alan Pelz-Sharpe

Colleen Freeman, Director for FTI Consulting and President of the ACEDS New England Chapter, introduced their Summer Symposium on Wednesday, June 13 at Suffolk University Law School where David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director for Relativity, moderated an esteemed panel of legal and corporate experts to provide background on the legal issues and analysis of the business implications surrounding GDPR best practices, United States vs. Microsoft, and the CLOUD Act from an E-Discovery Perspective.

The group participated in an interactive discussion answering questions like….

  • The fines for GDPR are real, so why aren’t companies stepping up?
  • Data Privacy is a big concern……but why is it an expectation for the US?
  • What does the CLOUD Act describe/do, especially regarding requests by foreign governments for US data?
  • What happened to the Microsoft case, and what cases are pending after GDPR?
  • What are the GDPR Fine Factors to mitigate against a 4% of global turnover fine – article 83?
  • Is Discovery practice changing due to the GDPR?
  • What is the most important GDPR best practice?

The panel included John B. Koss, Special Counsel, E-Discovery for Mintz Levin, who shared his thoughts on GDPR; T. Sean Kelly, Senior Director of FTI Consulting, who provided insights into corporate e-discovery; Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder and Principal Analyst of Deep Analysis, who contributed from his experience in international business and analysis from a data privacy perspective and Mary Mack, Executive Director of ACEDS, who shared her thoughts on GDPR specific to eDiscovery workflow.

A significant portion of the discussion included a deep dive by John Koss through the litigation exception and cross border data transfer. Contrasting past practice with the present GDPR, John posited that the practice of waiting for international data until after the scheduling order, or a motion to compel, is giving way toward informal cooperation before a court order as the GDPR sets up different tracks than the Safe Harbor/Privacy Shield era.

A Chapter reception followed the event with over 50 attendees. ACEDS is so thankful to our sponsors Exterro and QDiscovery who made the event possible. ACEDS also thanks Brian Moretti of Compliance Discovery Services who added his aunt’s famous cupcakes decorated in ACEDS colors to the festivities.

ACEDS also sends a thank you to Kaylee Walstad (@kayleewalstad) and the Suffolk team for livestreaming and recording, and Katie Saylor for her contribution to this report, and photography. Thank you to the New England Chapter board and members for creating and hosting this timely symposium.


For answers to the questions above, view the event video here

View the event description here

View the live-stream here


 GDPR Best Practices Shared:

  1. Know your data
  2. Practice data protection by design and default
  3. Establish a data breach action plan, including notification procedures
  4. Retain a data protection officer – event if not required by the GDRP
  5. Retain a consumer data ombudsman for subject access requests, ect.
  6. Retain consultants for GDPR compliance
  7. If your organization is outside the EU, retain a representative in the EU
  8. Educate your team
  9. Avail yourself of resources such as the ICO, Article 29 Working Party, and IAPP
  10. Avail yourself of ACEDS resources

CEDS Spotlight – Dustin Sachs, CEDS

Dustin S. Sachs, CCE, CEDS, CFE, EnCE, CCME
Associate Director

Please share your thoughts on the certification training, how long it took you to prepare for the exam, thoughts on the exam and how it has benefited you- both the knowledge gained from training and certification and being part of the ACEDS community as a whole. (Whole experience)
I thought the certification process was straight forward. The materials provided made studying easy. The process took me about 30 days from start to finish, largely because I simply set a date for the exam and worked to accomplish everything in that time frame. During the exam, I found myself able to relate the scenarios presented to actual cases I had worked on, so answering the questions became easy. Lastly, I have found that the ACEDS community is very focused on trumpeting the successes of the members of the community and calling attention to the effort people put into their work.

Why did you decide to get certified? Do you have any other certifications?

I decided to obtain the CEDS because it demonstrates a knowledge of E-Discovery that when presented next to my digital forensics and cyber security certifications, shows a well roundedness. It was also an affirmation to myself that I know more than I thought I did about an area that I have always thought I was only tangentially connected to.

Please share your background of eDiscovery experience

I have over 12 years of experience as a digital forensics, e-discovery, and cyber security expert.

Would you recommend our CEDS training/certification to other?

I would recommend CEDS without hesitation.

Advice to others looking to take the exam?

Don’t doubt yourself or second guess your answers. You know this stuff, so just be confident.

CEDS Spotlight – South Africa

Ilse Grobler, CEDS
Chief Administrative Officer
Lextrado EDS

Please share your thoughts on the certification training, how long it took you to prepare for the exam, thoughts on the exam and how it has benefitted you- both the knowledge gained from training and certification and being part of the ACEDS community as a whole. (Whole experience)

Being from a different jurisdiction where E-Discovery is not as well defined as in the US, I first had to familiarize myself with some of the terminology as well as legislative processes. I worked through all the training (more than once)- the E-Discovery Essentials was excellent- especially the questions at the end of each module- assisting with understanding the format of the examination.

Why did you decide to get certified? Do you have any other certifications?

South Africa is at the beginning of the E-Discovery journey, but also part of the global market, with many of our clients being International Corporations and or linked to International Corporations. Working for a company that is one of only a few offering the services locally, we investigated E-Discovery Certifications which would give us an overview of the international best practice and off course a competitive edge. This is where legal practices are going!

Please share your background of eDiscovery experience:

As a former State Advocate, we started to deal with ESI more and more in court and having to often utilize limited enabling legislation to have ESI admitted in court (this was somewhat remedied by various pieces of legislation and rule amendments during the 2000’s). We are still very dependent on properly constructed court orders and applications for which we are fortunately mostly approached prior to the lawyers approaching court. These include high stakes Intellectual property cases, labour matters, regulatory and criminal matters. Our current court rules are still limited and not as extensive as the US and UK enabling legislation and is still a very adversarial system where lawyers hold their cards very close to their chests as long as they can- certainly not as pro-active as the States. We deal with ESi (and converted hard copies), from collection (mostly in the forensic collection space for litigation purposes) through to production and court prep, followed by expert testimony. We are still in some instances educating the system on correct collections to ensure admissibility. Still very much reliant on common law.

Would you recommend our CEDS training/certification to others?

Definitely – I see an increase in the number of CEDS from SA in the very near future and would recommend it to any person active in this field or part thereof as it encompasses the end-to-end process for identification, preservation through  to production. All lawyers, E-discovery vendors, Investigators will benefit to understand the bigger picture of where they operate in the field.

Advice to others looking to take the exam?

On one of your webinars (Which I might add are excellent training sources, especially for a “foreigner” like me), you indicated- JUST SET THE DATE. Once this was set, I had no choice but to work through the material and am so glad I pinned it down. Time gets in the way too easily. Go through ALL the material offered. Definitely the exam Q and A’s and the prep course and off course Helen Moure ‘s training (between her an “Hi, I am Amy”, and the material, I believe I had everything to be well prepared.

Any other thoughts to share?

The examination was tough, as there are some areas I was very unfamiliar with, but was wiling to seek out an expert in the particular field to explain. You do not have to be a subject matter expert on all areas to pass. The exam prep clarified what areas I need to focus on not only to pass, but also in relation to future knowledge focus.

ACEDS Summer School—Complimentary Webinars on Advanced Topics by the Industry’s Leading Experts

ACEDS will be keeping you sharp this summer with a series of webinars on breaking e-discovery topics and deep dives. We’re grateful to the experts who will be sharing their insights into their specialties. ACEDS surveyed the community and found a deep desire for advanced eDiscovery, and our ACEDS faculty has delivered.

June 26 – Jared Coseglia, CEO of the award winning TRU Staffing Partners will speak on e-discovery, cybersecurity and privacy. Learn more and register for the webinar here: The State of the Industry: e-Discovery, Cybersecurity (and Privacy)

July 10 – Shannon Bales, Practice Leader for Trial Technology at FTI Consulting, will discuss his new book “Trial Presentation Companion.” Learn more and register for the webinar here: Why Firms that Do Trial Technology Wrong are Destined to Lose

July 11 – Thomas C. Gricks III, Managing Director of Professional Services at Catalyst, and Andrew Bye, Director of Machine Learning & Analytics at Catalyst host a Q&A on technology assisted review (TAR) and continuous active learning (CAL)—all the questions you want answered—in a candid discussion with leading TAR/CAL experts. Learn more and register for the webinar here: TAR Unplugged – Live Q&A with the Experts

July 12 – Ralph Losey, whose e-discovery team blog is a weekly must read will join us as well. Ralph, creator of the Hybrid Multi-Modal method of review, has also published another book, “e-Discovery for the Rest of Us.” Ralph is a Principal and National E-Discovery Counsel and will be developing a special presentation. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Judge Goes Where Angels Fear To Tread: Tells the Parties What Keyword Searches to Use

July 17 – Sharon Nelson, President of Sensi Enterprises and author of “Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers” will join Judy Selby, Principal of Judy Selby Consulting LLC, to bring the latest on cyber insurance. Register for their webinar here: CyberInsurance: Necessary, Expensive and Confusing As Hell.

July 19 – Claude Ducloux, Attorney at Law and Director of Education for Law Pay, will discuss implicit bias. Claude Ducloux’s presentations are richly cited and full of spicy anecdotes. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Biased? Me? How Lawyers Can Recognize and Improve Interpersonal Skills

July 25 – Tiffany McLauchlin-Kingsley, CEDS, will be talking about electronic medical records and eDiscovery. Tiffany is certified in forensics, HIPAA security, HIPAA privacy, Digital Forensics and Electronic Evidence and Cerner Millennium Fundamentals. Register for the webinar here: Demystifying EMRs and eDiscovery: A Day in the Life of

July 26 – Amie Tall, consultant with the UK’s Strategem Tech Solutions and former VP of Deutsche Bank is an internationally regarded expert in Forensic Investigations, Cyber Security, eDiscovery, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence and will be sharing her expertise with us. Register for the webinar here: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: The Future of eDiscovery

August 7 – David Greetham, expert witness, patent holder and eDiscovery Business Unit Leader at Ricoh America will discuss the Internet of Things (IOT). Learn more and register for the webinar here: School’s out – Let’s stay connected – the IoT

August 9 – Tom O’Connor and Gayle O’Connor will discuss the landmine of ethical concerns that swarms the marketing landscape that you need to be aware of in order to be technically competent to address them. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Ethics & Social Media: Walking the Fine Line

August 8 –Cybersecurity expert, CEO and author of Hacked Again, Scott Schober, takes the audience through best security practices without overwhelming technical minutiae. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Importance of Good Cyber Hygiene

August 15 – Kelly Griffith will discuss the resources needed to practice more efficiently, improve client service, and add more value. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Managing the Minutiae of Document Productions

August 28 – During this webinar, attorney, forensics expert and special master, Craig Ball will talk about the goals and needed protections attendant to a computer forensic examination and some of the crucial terms and conditions that should be resolved by a thoughtful examination protocol. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Negotiating a Forensic Examination Protocol

August 29 – Hon. Judge Ron Hedges will cover an overview of the 2015 amendments, cooperation and proportionality, the duty to preserve and the litigation hold, and spoliation of physical evidence and spoliation of ESI under amended Rule 37(e). Learn more and register for the webinar here: When Things Go Wrong: Avoiding Loss of ESI

August 30 – Mike Quartararo, Founder and Managing Director of eDPM Advisory Services, will be in the ACEDS webinar studio for an Ask the Expert. Learn more and register for the webinar here: Ask the Expert: Mike Quartararo on the eDiscovery Project Management Landscape – Tools Overview

All sessions qualify for CEDS credits and are reciprocal with AIIM’s continuing education credits to maintain the CIP certification. Many of the sessions above will qualify for ISC2 CPE credits, with the non-security sessions eligible as professional development.

If you are interested in a topic that we haven’t covered, or would like to be considered as a speaker, please reach out.