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A Very eDiscovery Christmas Carol - Part 2

Cat Casey
December 20, 2022

15 min read

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We again join the wayward eDiscovery Scrooge, fast asleep after a first visit from the Ghost of Paper … bearing a warning of apparitions to come in part one…

The Ghost of eDiscovery Past

eDiscovery Scrooge woke with a start and was perplexed by the deep darkness still shrouding his bedchamber. The neighboring church bell began to tole before eDiscovery Scrooge could fully awake. But, by the time the bell rang for the twelfth time eDiscovery Scrooge was wide awake and trying to understand how he had slept through an entire day since the Paper’s ghost had left him.

eDiscovery Scrooge wondered aloud, “was it all a dream.” Before realizing with a start, the prior evening’s unwelcome visitor had promised yet another intrusion this evening when the clock struck one.

The quarter was so long, that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a dozen unconsciously and missed the clock. At length it broke upon his listening ear.

“Ding, dong!”

“A quarter past,” said eDiscovery Scrooge, counting.

“Ding, dong!”

“Half-past!” said eDiscovery Scrooge.

“Ding, dong!”

“A quarter to it,” said eDiscovery Scrooge.

“Ding, dong!”

“The hour itself,” said eDiscovery Scrooge, triumphantly, “and nothing else!”

Before eDiscovery Scrooge could finish, a bright light filled his bed chamber. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside, I tell you, by a hand. eDiscovery Scrooge found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you.

Frail and withered, with a beard like Gandolf, the apparition wore a crown of light and held in his hand a single Bates stamp bond with a sprig of Holly.

“Are you the Spirit, sir, who’s coming was foretold to me?” asked eDiscovery Scrooge.

“I am!”

“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.

“I am the Ghost of eDiscovery-Mas Past. Rise! and walk with me!” commanded the ghost of eDiscovery past while extending his weathered hand for eDiscovery scrooge to grasp.

Please about the time, temperature and risk of death were all ignored as the strange being drew eDiscovery scrooge out his chamber window far above the building and city he called home for so many years.

In time the pair came to rest beyond the city, in front of a warehouse that eDiscovery Scrooge knew well. “Good Heaven!” said eDiscovery Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. “I was a baby associate in this place!”

Taking his hand again, the Ghost of eDiscovery past took Scrooge through the winding deserted halls and labyrinth of cubes normally filled with murmurs and laughter, past the legal secretaries’ stations so often rife with chatting and typing furiously heads hunched over their keyboards. Past the dark rooms with normally whirring machines blowing back last-minute production sets in the millions of pages.

“The firm is not quite deserted,” said the Ghost. “A solitary Associate, neglected by his friends, is left there still.”

eDiscovery Scrooge said he knew it. And he sobbed.

At the end of the labyrinth of hallways a massive and darkened conference room opened before them, and disclosed a long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by the walls lined with banker’s boxes, redwelds spread across the table and the single CRT monitor and CPU in front of the solitary occupant of the room. The lonely boy was coding near a rattling radiator; and Scrooge wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be.

Hours yet of manual review lay before the young associate, and the relentless billable hour loomed large. Stale holiday cookies left by a friendly Litigation Service provider served as the only meal for the eDiscovery Scrooge of long ago.

The Ghost smiled thoughtfully and waved its hand: saying as it did so, “Let us see another eDiscovery-Mas!”

eDiscovery Scrooge’s former self grew older at the words, and the room became a little darker and more strewn with documents and legacy hardware. The screens shrunk, the banker’s boxes spilled out yellowing pages of depositions and case files; coffee mugs and take out containers littered the table; but how all this was brought about, Scrooge knew no more than you do. He only knew that there he was, alone again, when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays.

“Spirit!” said Scrooge, “show me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?” eDiscovery Scrooge implored.

“One shadow more!” exclaimed the Ghost.

Next the apparition brought eDiscovery Scrooge to a scene of laughter and mirth, the case team had long since departed the office after using new Document Review legal tech to quickly find relevant evidence. Rather than Bah Humbug eyes on every doc if the gold standard, they had parsed millions of documents long before the bells tolled on eDiscovery-Mas eve.

“Torment me no more with these images of what could have been” eDiscovery Scrooge plead. and felt his eyes and body getting heavy with sleep. Before he could speak again, he was fast asleep in his own bed chamber.

The Ghost of eDiscovery Present

AWAKING in the middle of a prodigiously loud snore and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together, Scrooge had no reason to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One. When the clock ceased chiming and one, and then quarter past one, eDiscovery Scrooge found himself shuffling from his warm bed about to grasp the door of his own bed chamber.

When a voice of deep baritone rang out and beckoned him by name to enter. eDiscovery Scrooge complied with a trembling hand.

Before eDiscovery Scrooge stood a man of amazing size and clad in green flowing robes wearing a white fur mantle and holding a small whirring laptop in one thick opened palm.

“Behold, I am the ghost of eDiscovery Present” the ghost rang out. Hi visage was youthful, and his long rich auburn locks fell below his shoulders.

The Ghost beckoned eDiscovery Scrooge forward and extended the hem of his flowing robe for the dazed man to hold fast. As soon as eDiscovery Scrooge’s fingers closed around the fur trim, he felt himself again transported far above his sleep home and village.

As the two creatures, one man one ethereal again stood with bare feet on the snowy pavement, eDiscovery Scrooge looked up to the Law Firm he had so painstakingly built over his decades of sacrifice. Marley & Scrooge, now MS LAW for the young folks, rose high above the skyline and cast a long and imposing shadow,

The ghost first took his wayward companion to the Firm’s holiday bedecked top floor. Young associates and paralegals, partners and support staff all mingled and laughed. Sipping wine from small plastic flutes and eating holiday favorites from small cocktail plates. They danced and laughed and were grateful to have logged out for the day.

One young associate, raised a cheer “for eDiscovery Scrooge, may he finally take a moment to enjoy all that he has built.”

The banker’s boxes and millions of documents facing this team had long since been culled and parsed and visualized using AI-Powered legal tech and even the grinchiest of Partners had wished their teams happy holidays and stopped billing for the day.

With a single quick flourish, the Ghost of eDiscovery present brought eDiscovery scrooge from the laughter and festivities too deep below in the sub-basement of MS LAW. The room was dank and windowless, nothing but the rhythmic clicking of a keyboard, frantic mouse flicking and a string of softly muttered profanities filled the air.

The large war room was windowless, and lit solely by flickering fluorescent lights, long overdue for replacement. The team of 50 document review attorneys sat at their bare desks 3 foot apart, with a double monitor before them and a Thinclient whirring at their feet. Half-finished soda bottles and coffee mugs and Styrofoam containers of yesterday’s dinner dot each desk.

“What place is this?” asked eDiscovery Scrooge.

“A place where Doc Reviewers live, who labor in the bowels of the earth,” returned the Spirit.

“No TAR of CAL, not Data vis... just manual linear review keeps these souls chained for days and weeks coding and tagging and redacting, oh my.”

The bell struck twelve.

eDiscovery Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost and saw it not.

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