E-Discovery Education Is In Jeopardy! But Not At This Law School

Most law schools are not good at equipping lawyers of the future with practical technology skills — skills needed to meet the Model Rules’ competence requirements. To be fair, some are better than others, and clinical programs are more common today. Law school leaders will likely say that law school helps you learn how to think like a lawyer. Okay, but thinking and doing are clearly two different things.

So, it’s refreshing to see a law school program that’s taking it to the next level. The University of Florida Levin College of Law, led by Dean Laura Rosenbury, is not only making strides in experiential learning, they’ve dedicated full-time faculty to teaching electronic discovery.

And next month, on Thursday, March 19, the school will host its 8th Annual UF Law E-Discovery Conference. Led by Professor William “Bill” Hamilton, Executive Director of the UF Law E-Discovery Project and Legal Skills Professor, this one-day conference is unlike any other.

First of all, it’s affordable. In-person attendance on the UF Law campus in Gainesville, Florida, is just $199. If you are unable to attend, the entire day’s events are streamed live online for $99. And I’m happy to be able to offer a discount for ATL readers. Use code ATL20 at registration, and you’ll receive a 25% discount on the already low price. The conference is free to students, university faculty, the judiciary, and government. Readers can register here.

Unlike other heavily sponsored events, the UF Law E-Discovery Conference is mostly underwritten by the law school and focuses purely on education. No gimmicks, no politics, and no sales pitches. Just sincere camaraderie blended with the highest-quality content delivered by speakers and presenters from across the legal technology industry.

The theme this year is “Work Smarter, Not Harder” and the conference kicks off Thursday at 8 a.m. with an informal dialogue between Allison Stanton, Director and Associate General Counsel at Facebook, and the Honorable Anthony E. Porcelli, US Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Florida. They will discuss the latest in e-discovery, privacy, and data security, and set the stage for the day’s events.

Other presentations in the conference lineup include:

    • Guide to Advanced Legal Technologies for Every Budget
    • From Slack to Snapchat: Tackling Discovery Beyond Email
    • INDUSTRY UPDATE: Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS)
    • Recent Developments in Data Discovery Case Law and Legislation
    • E-Discovery Nuts and Bolts
    • INDUSTRY UPDATE: Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM)
    • Leveraging Search to Find What Matters Most
    • Judges and E-Discovery: A View from the Bench

In addition, at 1 p.m., in what is sure to be a spirited and fun-filled, yet informative, new addition to the conference this year, renowned e-discovery and computer forensics expert Craig Ball will host E-Discovery Jeopardy, which is sure to be a battle of wits and wisdom (full disclosure: I’ve agreed to be a contestant in this e-discovery game show).

Rounding out the conference is a panel of some of the most dignified and brilliant federal and state judges. Led by Relativity’s David Horrigan, Judges and E-Discovery: A View from the Bench is always an enlightening experience as the jurists share their insights and recommendations.

But that’s not all! Don’t overlook that on Wednesday, the day before the conference, the law school hosts E-Discovery CareerFest, a day-long program that focuses on career development for law students. This year, Prof. Hamilton will lead a discussion entitled Finding the North Star of Your Legal Career, together with a panel of star-studded leaders in e-discovery and legal technology.

I don’t know what will become of e-discovery education at the other 200 or so law schools in the United States. My optimistic side tells me that each school will eventually offer more than passing reference to e-discovery in civil procedure classes, that e-discovery and technology in general will become a more substantive part of learning how to think like a lawyer, and that lawyers in the future will think about electronic documents and databases in the same way that lawyers in past generations have thought about paper and file cabinets.

In the meantime, tune in for the UF Law E-Discovery Conference — we may be playing Jeopardy during lunch that day, but e-discovery education is not in jeopardy at UF Law.

Mike Quartararo

Mike Quartararo is the President of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), a professional member association providing training and certification in e-discovery. He is also the author of the 2016 book Project Management in Electronic Discovery and a consultant providing e-discovery, project management and legal technology advisory and training services to law firms and Fortune 500 corporations across the globe. You can reach him via email at mquartararo@aceds.org. Follow him on Twitter @mikequartararo.

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