A breaking news story earlier today starkly outlines lawyers’ growing significant concerns over how law firms are dealing with a dangerous form of nascent metadata. Nascent metadata is data that does not yet exist but could exist if the right conditions develop. It is often referred to as fn-metadata. Attorneys, however, more commonly refer to it as “effin” metadata or even effin data. If you have not yet heard of effin data, pay attention. It is the next big thing. Ignorance of effin data can lead to problems within your firm, can negatively affect your effin data bottomline, and will likely confuse you at tech shows where effin ediscovery vendors maintain exhibits. Here’s what to know.
Effin Data Is Everywhere
Because effin data does not yet exist but could develop rapidly if you take certain unknown actions, you should view effin data as omnipresent and potentially dangerous. Given that perspective, and given the easy mistakes you can make with effin data, we recommend that you retain an effin data expert to help develop your law firm’s effin data policy. While you can attempt yourself to deal with all of the effin data out there, the potential for mishandling effin data is immense and could easily overwhelm your firm and your staff. Bottom line: don’t cut corners, hire an effin data vendor.
Isolate Your Effin Client Data
If you do anything, isolate all effin data from your clients and keep the data separate from other normal effin data. While not easy to do, increasing concerns with effin data — as well as anticipated regulations in this area– will require you to address nonexistent and potentially harmful effin data. Again, effin data vendors can help. Typically, an effin data vendor will set up “Burmese Walls” between regular metadata and the more harmful effin data.
Store Your Effin Data in the Troposphere
Effin data is hard to store on your office computer system, for the obvious reason that it does not yet exist. Hire a vendor to help you with this common conundrum. Typically, a legitimate effin data vendor will set up a “tropospheric” storage device to hold all of your effin data. Puzzled? Don’t ask. Just trust the troposphere.
We admit that effin data is a tough challenge for most law firms. But with proper planning, a good effin data consultant, and some blind metaphysical luck, you should come out unscathed from this effin data crisis. Let us know how things work out for you.
little richard john says
For the owner of a diminuitive(formerly small) law firm every day presents yet another new challenge. Never was I so grateful for my strong grounding in legal theory. Having devoted untold hours counting angels on heads of pins I feel especially qualified to deal with the theoretical effin data problem.
But I must confess my solution came from my client base and a remark you made in an earlier column. I represent several companies who export recycled typewriter ribbons. In responding to some poseur named john richard you proudly exclaimed ” we look backward to look forward.”
I discussed this theoretical problem with my staff( Enoch my dog) and we arrived at an elegant counterintuitive solution. We are scrapping our computers and smartphones. Instead we plan to immediately convert to IBM Selectric typewriters. With Smith Corona manual typewriters for backup.
Rotary dial phones. And a party line( subject to bar association approval).
Talk about being ahead of the curve! However, as you know only too well, no solution is perfect. We are also purchasing Bose noise cancelling headphones for everyone in the office. Why? Because I anticipate that as we adjust to the electric typewriters we will be faced with comments like
” this effin typewriter is a WORTHLESS PIECE OF _____”
Hopefully the headphones will allow us to maintain our high levels of productivity. Or we may be faced with a different effin problem.
As the owner of a diminuitive( formerly small) law firm I am reminded every day of the famous Chinese proverb: ” may you be interested in living in accursed times”
C. Hank Peters says
You are well ahead of many ultra-decimated large law firms and have obviously adopted some great strategies to deal with this issue. Thanks for letting us know. We will also keep a look out for this “Richard” you mention. Sounds like he may be a hacker or something.