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Keynote roundup: SuperConference day 2

GC panel focuses on lobbying for government policy, judicial roundtable discusses e-discovery dilemmas

The second day of SuperConference kicked off with a keynote panel on how general counsel can shape government policy. Panelists Christine Jones, GC of Go Daddy; Andrew Tavi, GC of Nissan; and Alan Tse, GC of Churchill Downs all  gave valuable insights into lobbying and the benefits it can bring a business.

Tse spoke about illegal online gambling companies and how they take money away from legitimate gambling companies like Churchill Downs. After Churchill Downs lobbied  in Washington D.C. to crack down on these sites, the Department of Justice ended up indicting several illegal poker sites and seizing the domain names of sites located overseas.

Tavi found success by treating greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency regulations proposed by the White House like an M&A transaction. Rather than fighting the Obama administration on every detail, they treated it like a negotiation and came away with credits for electric vehicles—which just  happen to be one of Nissan’s primary areas of investment.

At Go Daddy, Jones found a hole in the law and took it upon herself to fill it. She successfully lobbied to get laws passed that help internet service providers take down websites that endanger children and sell unauthorized pharmaceuticals.

“Lawyers are often in the best position to influence government policymakers because of their skill as negotiators,” Tavi said.

After the GC panel, SuperConference attendees heard a lively discussion on e-discovery between the very people in-house counsel need to convince of their discovery diligence—judges. The judicial roundtable on e-discovery was moderated by Patrick Oot, special counsel for electronic discovery for the Securities and Exchange Commission and featured judges from four federal district courts and the chancery court of Cook County, Ill.

Panelists discussed recent e-discovery cases such as Pippins v. KPMG and Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe, as well as offering some advice for e-discovery best practices. Here are some of their tips:

  • Don’t run away from e-discovery because most information relevant to any case is now stored electronically. “I wonder if it isn’t malpractice for lawyers to avoid ESI (electronically stored information),” said Peter Flynn, judge for the Cook County Circuit Court  Chancery Division.
  • Don’t forget about your client’s privacy. “It is just as key as the traditional concept of privilege,” said Lorenzo Garcia, judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.
  • Err on the side of too much preservation, rather than too little. “That which is not preserved is forever lost,” said James Francis, judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Own up to your mistakes. “When you’ve screwed up your preservation, the worst thing you can do is cover it up,” said David Waxse, judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.
  • Embrace technology, even if it you’re not sure how the court will receive it. “The last thing we want to do is prevent the use of useful technology on the grounds that it hasn’t been used yet,” Flynn said.

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