New Georgetown E-Discovery Training Academy Featuring EnCase “Crossed The Bridge…I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This” Says Judge Facciola

Patrick Burke It is difficult to overestimate the impact of last week’s ambitious week-long Georgetown eDiscovery Training Academy (see my earlier blog post for more details.)

Some are calling it a turning point in e-discovery training. US Magistrate Judge John Facciola (D.D.C.), a member of the all-star faculty, believes it may have changed the paradigm for future e-discovery training for the bench and bar. “We of the faculty,” said Judge Facciola, “think this conference crossed the bridge. I for one can’t go back to superficial lectures any more. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s been a terribly exciting experience for me.”

What was different about the academy? E-discovery technology received an equal amount of attention as legal issues. This meant that discussions of realistic case scenarios were layered with realistic understandable technical details. The first three days of the Academy were dominated by detailed technical training, primarily by Craig Ball, assisted by Guidance Software’s David Neal and Andy Spruill. Each attendee received a copy of Guidance Software’s EnCase® Forensic software, which was used by the faculty to explore the characteristics of Electronically Stored Information and how it can be found and preserved.

On the legal side, topics were explored in thorough and entertaining detail by e-discovery legends including Judge Facciola, Chief Judge Paul Grimm (D. Md.), Michael Arkfeld (whose excellent treatise served as the basis for legal reading), Tom O’Connor, Maura Grossman, and Jason Baron. The Academy culminated in mock 26(f) meet-and-confer sessions conducted by teams of attendees, each observed and critiqued by Judges Facciola and Grimm. In a final session, Judges Grimm and Facciola faced off for an epic (and hilarious) evidentiary hearing in which Paul Doyle served admirably as the technical expert.

The buzz is that Georgetown Law’s Larry Center – who produced the program – has hit on an exceptionally smart program that provides a well-balanced view of e-discovery technical and legal challenges. Discussions are sure to follow on how this program might be expanded and offered to a broader audience.

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