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5 Tips On How To Avoid Your Own Wells Fargo Moment

Wednesday, August 2, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ACEDS Marketing Team
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Extract from Kelly Twigger's article "5 Tips On How To Avoid Your Own Wells Fargo Moment" posted on abovethelaw.com

If you need a reason to get your ducks in a row with the handling of electronic information, here's your wake-up call.

It’s been a week since a lawyer disclosed the names of 50,000 of Wells Fargo’s customers and some of their personal financial information, in response to a subpoena. And ever since I first saw the story in the New York Times, I have had one question: what kind of jackass calls the New York Times and shows them the information AFTER the lawyer has recognized the issue and asked for the data back?

I mean, if the lawyer blew off the significance of the issue, okay. And yes, there are some confidentiality protections that could have been implemented more effectively, but she didn’t skip that issue entirely. You would risk ruining a lawyer’s career for what? Fifteen minutes of fame?  I sincerely hope that you never make a mistake or need someone to give you a break in the future, because chances are good that you just blew it.

Now that is off my chest, let’s be real. If ever there was a time to use the word “epic” with “blunder,” this would be it. This is a lawyer’s worst nightmare. And, while it’s easy to sit back and criticize what happened here, I am quite sure that every single lawyer and legal support professional who has read about it had the same “there but for the grace of god go I” moment.

Every mistake has its built-in lesson, so here it is: if you need a reason to get your ducks in a row with how you are handling electronic information, here’s your wake-up call.

This situation could have been easily avoided with better processes and communication. I’ve had it happen with outside counsel recently — they didn’t realize there were still 200+ documents to review, and our PM let them know there was a set left to review. It wasn’t an issue because we were constantly monitoring the review. No one is perfect here.

So, how could this be avoided?  I reached out to a few experts in the field to help me put together a list of 5 Tips on How to Avoid Your Wells Fargo Moment:

  1. Remember, you get what you pay for. Now it may not be the case here, but clients always want to save on ediscovery-related costs, and rarely understand what takes so much time. Shawn Huston, of LSP Data Solutions, noted that these inadvertent production situations are not uncommon and often happen when a party is trying to cut corners. It takes time to review and re-review for QC, and time is money. This was a third-party subpoena, not a response by a party to litigation, so cost pressures might have been stronger here. Everyone in ediscovery knows and feels the weight of cost pressures. “Do the perfect job, and do it as inexpensively as possible” seems to be the mantra. Nothing like asking the impossible. And then asking for it to be even less expensive next time.

Read the full article here


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