Is Your Company E-literate?

A Texas Lawyer Roundtable Series: E-Discovery, Part 1

MIKE ANDROVETT, moderator, attorney, journalist and owner of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing, Dallas: . . .  Panelists, would you please introduce yourself today to the folks here and to the readers of Texas Lawyer. Also, I have asked them to talk a little bit about the nature of their work so we can get a mental picture on what a day in the life of each of these panelists might be. . . .

PETER S. VOGEL, trial partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Dallas: The reason I was invited to participate in this is that I am chair of the Gardere E-Discovery group and have been for the past four years when we started it. Before I got into law, I had a career as a systems programmer on IBM mainframes for a number of years. I have a master’s in computer science, I worked on a Ph.D. in information systems and went to law school where I taught graduate and undergraduate computer courses. So I’m kind of a gizmo head who became a lawyer. But my practice for the past 30 years has been exclusively limited to representing buyers and sellers of computer technology and Internet services. So unlike the courts, which just sort of woke up a few years ago that there’s electronic evidence out there somewhere, I’ve been dealing with electronic evidence for 30 years. Every single case I’ve ever had has had electronic evidence. Notwithstanding that, I have had trials all over the U.S. dealing with misappropriation of trade secrets, failed implementation of computer systems software, trade secrets misappropriation of software, software patent infringement, and the like, and over the past 20 years I have been appointed a special master on electronic issues.

As a matter of fact, I got appointed a couple of days ago on a new case. In my professional career, when I’m not otherwise practicing, I was president of the Dallas Bar Association in 1994 and chair of the Board of Trustees in 2003 when we built the major expansion at Belo Pavilion. For the State Bar of Texas, I’ve served on a number of committees, chaired a number of committees, including MCLE, and was the founding chair of the Computer & Technology Section. When I am not otherwise practicing, I am the Chair of the Texas Supreme Court Judicial Committee on Information Technology, which is responsible for helping automate the Court system and put Internet on the desktop of all 3,200 judges. That’s what my wife likes to refer to as my “free job.” I spend about a day a week on that. And I’ve been Chair since it was created in 1997. That Supreme Court committee is responsible for the state Efiling process that you probably are aware of. Then when I’m not doing anything else in my spare time, I have been teaching a course at SMU law school on the law of E-Commerce since 2000. Notwithstanding that, I guess just sort of the day in my life begins about 3:00 every morning because I have a long day. But from the use of technology and dealing with information technology, I probably spend a disproportionate amount of my time actually dealing with computers than most lawyers. . . .

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