The e-Litigation Blog Team spoke to Michael Lew, Director of Digital Forensics at Stone Forest Corporate Advisory (SFCA) who is a sponsor at the Conference. Michael started his career with a leading law firm in Singapore. Over the years he has developed specialist skills in electronic discovery, computer forensics and even starting up and managing a Legal Process Outsourcing centre in Kuala Lumpur in 2007.
QX: Why did you choose to take part in this Conference?
Michael: I consider the Conference an ideal platform to update myself with the latest developments in electronic litigation worldwide from Speakers such as Lord Justice Rupert Jackson who is delivering the keynote address on Managing Litigation Cost, and notable commentators in the field such as Chris Dale and Stephen Mason. I eagerly anticipate many insightful discussions and also look forward to feedback from litigators, in-house counsel, technology providers and e-discovery professionals who are well represented at this Conference.
QX: You’ve had more than 10 years experience in digital forensics and litigation support. In your experience, how has the landscape for electronic discovery changed over the years?
Michael: Looking back to more than a decade ago when I was working in a law firm, everyone in the industry was talking about becoming “paperless” and how case management systems were the way forward. Despite the talk, and the introduction of electronic filing by the law courts, very few firms took up the challenge to truly adopt technology into the evidence management process. Litigation was still very much paper-based then.
I believe that the turning point came in 2009 when the Supreme Court introduced PD3 to provide a framework for the discovery of evidence in digital formats. Following this, and several high court cases giving judicial guidance on the breadth and scope of parties obligations under PD3, we’ve seen a sharp rise of interest in e-discovery. The “E-Discovery Readiness” workshops by the SAL and Litigation Edge have been fully subscribed and we have seen a fair number of consulting engagements from smaller practices. The momentum is definitely building up and I forsee that 2012 will be the year that electronic evidence management takes off in Singapore.
QX: What do you see as the greatest challenges in the adoption of e-discovery by lawyers in Singapore?
Michael: The switch from traditional paper-based evidence to digital evidence can be overwhelming and even “scary” for some. For paper based evidence, what you see is what you get. With digital evidence there is always more than meets the eye – embedded metadata, for instance; and the ability to recover deleted data. Lawyers need to change their mindset and their modus operandi when dealing with digital evidence.
I believe that their greatest challenge is the lack of resources and expertise. Investment in technology is not the only hurdle. To be competent in e-discovery, litigation teams must supply the technical know-how as well as an in-depth understanding of the processes to effectively preserve, process and produce digital evidence. In this nascent stage of e-discovery readiness, Law firms may not have ready in-house expertise. Fortunately there is a growing pool of electronic discovery expertise available in Singapore who can provide outsourced litigation support services allowing Counsel to focus on advocacy in the courtroom.
About Stone Forest Corporate Advisory (SFCA) – http://www.rsmchiolim.com.sg
Stone Forest Corporate Advisory (SFCA) has a proven track record of supporting legal professionals with accurate, timely and cost effective work in diverse cases ranging from dispute resolution, forensic investigations, litigation, employee data theft, computer misuse, fraud and valuations. ?We are the choice electronic evidence recovery and discovery specialists. Our one-stop legal support capabilities include digital forensics, electronic discovery and legal process outsourcing.