Jeff Fowler, O'Melveny & Myers
New organization adopts mission to establish global standards and certification through collaboration and education
A group of highly respected e-discovery and litigation professionals — widely acknowledged as the top minds in the field — have formed The Organization of Legal Professionals. This recently incorporated nonprofit organization is dedicated to advancing the profession and contributing to the career development of practitioners around the world. Just a few of the Board of Governors include Jeff Fowler, O’Melveny & Myers; Browning Marean, DLA Piper; Tom O’Connor, consultant; Ron Friedmann, Integreon; Peter Del Valle, Seyfarth Shaw LLP; Anne Kershaw, attorney; Eddie Sheehy, Nuix; Professor Jay Grenig, Marquette University School of Law; Patrick Oot, Verizon Communications; Linda A. Klein, Past-President, State Bar of Georgia and the Hon. Mark Cavanagh, Michigan Court of Appeals.
“OLP’s programs will provide the legal community with a means of assuring clients that its e-discovery professionals possess the requisite level of competence and understanding of e-discovery principles,” says Jeff Fowler of the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers and member of the Board of Governors. “In this respect, The OLP intends to crack open the e-discovery black box.”
OLP is the only organization whose members represent all sectors of the e-discovery profession: attorneys, paralegals, technical support staff, litigation support professionals, consultants, vendors, software developers and judiciary.
When brokerage firm Morgan Stanley claimed it had lost all of the email correspondence stored on its servers in the World Trade Center attack, it ended up facing disciplinary charges of $12.5 million.
Tackling electronic discovery is not an easy proposition. The fast rise of e-discovery in the legal and corporate worlds has brought about a severe shortage of formally trained experts, according to the 2009 Annual Socha-Gelbmann Report. “Providers continue to question the qualifications of their competitors, and point to a lack of an unbiased central certifying body to confirm qualifications. In a crowded, noisy market, too many providers are making unsubstantiated claims and creating consumer confusion, while consumers lack effective means to compare technologies and methods.”
Further, the report states, there is a continuing shortfall in qualified EDD staff attorneys, paralegals and litigation support IT staff. “As e-discovery continues to grow and evolve, so too does the complexity of requirements and demands placed on the substantive and technical abilities of e-discovery professionals,” said Chere Estrin, OLP co-founding member and Chair of the Board of Directors. “The profession has yet to develop a coalition of cross-functional e-discovery teams supporting globally accepted standards and certification, mentoring and community-building. But that’s all about to change.”
“We have already established The OLP as a 501©(6) organization, launched our Web site, and activated key individuals in the legal community to serve on The OLP’s Board of Governors and Advisory Council to assist in guiding our committees,” said OLP’s Executive Director, Harriet Cohen. “But we have quite a bit to accomplish between now and the end of 2009. Our first objectives are to drive membership growth, as well as OLP’s Charter Sponsor program, which will fund important initiatives such as education and certification development.”
For more information about The OLP membership and the Charter Sponsor program, visit the association’s Web site at www.theolp.org. About The Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP)
The OLP is the only organization whose members represent all sectors of the e-discovery profession: attorneys, paralegals, technical support staff, litigation support professionals, consultants, vendors, software developers and judiciary.