Friday, March 1, 2013

Musing on the First Day of the Third Annual ACEDS Conference

Last evening, while pondering such existential questions as who would win in a fight between the Retrivika pink elephant and the Megaputer sphinx, or who would dominate a closed ring wrestling match between Charles Itriago and Patrick Oot, my mind slowly turned to the panels and participants from the first day of the third annual ACEDS eDiscovery conference.

Speaking with attendees, it seems the conference delivered on educational content (panels included predictive coding, malpractice, data retention and project management) and creative delivery format – the most interesting format included a parade of 20-30 experts who each provided a best practice tip in one to two minutes.  ACEDS’ genuine effort put into developing new content and formats is commendable and something that the participants stated leads to an enjoyable conference experience.

The predictive coding panel, like most of its kind, focused very much on the future and what will be next with that technology.  Somewhat conversely, the malpractice session offered advice and tips for preventing and preparing for malpractice and obtaining malpractice insurance today.   Essentially the message was: get your ducks in a row before the issue arises or before an event occurs.  The other panels delivered everyday tips for pragmatic application and use.

One interesting observation came from a vendor attendee.  This individual noted that there were fewer sponsors at the conference this year compared to the previous year.  Interestingly this individual said this is a trend they are seeing across the eDiscovery conference industry.  What does this indicate?  Is the conference scene too saturated?  Is the ROI for attending a conference the past few years no longer attractive?  Are the conferences not bringing value from the vendor perspective?  More importantly, what is the impact if this trend of fewer sponsors continues, and will it have a negative impact on the knowledge base and discussion in the eDiscovery field?  I certainly hope that is not the case and that this trend does not have a negative impact on the eDiscovery industry.

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