ABA Techshow

E-Discovery Can Be TMI—Even For Those Seeking It


Sometimes an e-discovery job can bring too much information, even for the people demanding it.

Sharon Nelson and John Simek, co-founders and the president and vice president, respectively, of Sensei Enterprises, a Fairfax, Va.-based computer forensics and legal technology firm, discussed a few examples Friday in an ABA Techshow presentation entitled “Tales from the Trenches of Computer Forensics and E-Discovery—and Lessons Learned.”

Laurie Weiss, a partner in Fulbright & Jaworski’s San Antonio office who co-chairs the firm’s e-discovery and information management group, joined them on the panel.

Nelson and Smith said they couldn’t say much about many of their cases. But they did say that John Allen Muhammad, executed in 2009 for the 2002 Washington, D.C. area sniper shootings that killed 10 people, had plotted the rampage on his laptop.

“We found more [evidence on his computer] than law enforcement found,” Nelson said, “so they didn’t want us there [testifying at his trial].”

Then there was the case Nelson and Simek dubbed “The Prince of Porn.”

A female employee of a nonprofit association reported finding pornography on a colleague’s computer. Nelson and Simek were hired to do a forensic examination of the accused employee’s computer, which confirmed that he had indeed been surfing the Web for porn.

The employee was put on probation, but a subsequent examination of his computer showed he was still watching porn, though this time he had tried to hide his tracks. He was placed on probation again, but a third inspection of his computer showed that he still hadn’t learned his lesson.

The company was so embarrassed it didn’t hire the firm to examine the employee’s computer a fourth time, Nelson said.

“The guy apparently was so valuable, they just decided to ignore it,” she said.

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