Sunday, October 12, 2008

litsupport summary for the week ending on 10/12/08

A lot of important and useful information is posted to litsupport each week. The following is a distilled summary, in the form of questions and answers.

Q. What are the pros and cons of producing emails in MSG format (continued)?
Pro: MSG files are what you want and as a requesting party what you should request. This type of file coupled with a product that will automatically pick up the metadata and allow you to use it to search and review and find stuff along with free text search will save tons of time and money. This is not the case with TIF's of emails;

Con: With regards to delivery of single-page tiffs, that is common place when using a document review tool such as Summation or Concordance. Particular information, including begdoc, enddoc, begattach, endattach is delivered along with the images to allow the lawyers to know the document boundaries and family groupings. A benefit to having an image file is to allow redactions as well. You can't redact a native file in general.

Synthesis: convert native files to tiff, extract the text and metadata and then load the TIFF, native file, metadata and extracted text giving the attorneys everything they might need in one place - thus have the best of both worlds.

Q. Are attorneys entitled to take their work-product when they leave the firm?
A. The answer was summarized by the author of the question, and thus required little editing work. However, it was too valuable to be left out for this reason.

Observations from in-house counsel and staff assert that as a matter of corporate policy attorneys' work-product belongs to the company. Consequently, corporate counsels' offices do not provide departing attorneys copies of the attorneys e-mails and other documents, not even those which relate to personal business or even benefits.

By contrast, observations from private law firms' attorneys and staff take the opposite position: firms normally deliver to departing attorneys "their" work-product and other documents. Naturally, if the client to whom the documents relate request the documents, then the firm must tender the documents. Yet, to protect their own interests as "firm of record," some firms withhold the documents—or at least retain copies of them--until a formal Withdrawal and Substitution order is approved. Yet even absent that client request, in many jurisdictions the work-product belongs to the attorney, not the firm. All this seems to be addressed state-by-state.

As always, interesting complications were identified. Please see the original post for details.

This summary from the Litsupport Group postings created by the wonderful and talented members of the group has been culled by Mark Kerzner ( and edited by Aline Bernstein (

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