Innovate Conference Report: Are Ethical Dilemmas in the Information Age Keeping You Up at Night?


This is the second in a series of special reports about our upcoming Innovate Conference in Orlando, Florida this Thursday and Friday.


For those of you who saw yesterday’s post addressing how a conference with the name of Innovate would handle the topic of predicative coding, we’re sure you spent the evening agonizing over the attendant ethical concerns that come with these newfangled electronic thingamajigs you keep hearing about–predicative coding, data security, the infamous (and sometimes ominous) “cloud,” and social media websites, just to name a few.  (We assume, of course, that you carved five minutes out of your fret-filled evening to sign up for Innovate).  Well Friend of IT-Lex, you’re in luck; we have assembled a “Who’s Who” panel of ediscovery specialists to address your questions and discuss the complex intersection of ethics and ediscovery at the upcoming Innovate conference on October 17th and 18th.

grossman_maurahamiltonhedgesThe panel consists of Maura R. Grossman, Bill Hamilton, and, last but certainly not least, former Magistrate Judge Ron Hedges (not to be confused with the Ron Hedges who manages an Ann Taylor in Boston and comes up third on LinkedIn if you search for “Ron Hedges”). This panel will provide an insightful mixture of analysis from the perspective of the bench and the bar alike. Although we do not have the benefit of predictive coding to tell us all the topics these panelists will address at Innovate, the moderator, Jason Pill, has given us a sneak peek.

Among other things, the panelists will tangle with the ever-evolving, yet entirely amorphous concept of competency in the digital age. Quite simply, what does it take for an attorney to be competent under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct? Must an attorney possess competence in all aspects of ediscovery: interviewing custodians; collecting documents; erasing Google search history (sorry, that’s a personal concern); searching and analyzing ESI… etc?  Or, if all else fails, can an attorney claim computer illiteracy and throw him or herself at the mercy of the court?


What about that hip new fad all the kids are talking about these days-no, not Snapchat and dubstep-we’re talking about social media. What are the rules for ethically navigating archaic MySpace pages, all-too-personal Facebook profiles, and the ever-elusive Twitter Beef (please note that neither Kanye West nor Jimmy Kimmel have agreed to be panelists for this year’s Innovate). Can attorneys advise clients to “clean up” their Facebook page? Can attorneys research witnesses and jury members through Facebook? Can they friend them? Will Bill Hamilton ever show us his Facebook vacation photos from France? (We were able to hack this one photo, and the rumors seem to be true. He does always wear a suit and tie. Come on Professor Hamilton, relax!)

These are but a few of the topics in store for the ethics panel at Innovate, but you will have to attend to find out what else is on the agenda.  Now that you have the who, what, when, where, and why, it’s in your hands to sign up and attend in person, lest you want to spend your days in an ethically-ambiguous electronic wasteland filled with pitfalls and traps for the unwary. So really, it’s between an ethically-ambiguous electronic wasteland or Innovate . . . seems like a pretty easy choice.

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