We’re not your typical law firm. Hutcherson Law essentially evolved from a single case that epitomizes the firm’s entire existence. In a nutshell, the case was a classic David and Goliath type of situation, and David (Hutcherson) came out on top. The stone in the slingshot: electronic discovery. It was the pioneering breakthroughs in electronic discovery technologies and methods that won the case and put Hutcherson Sbaiti LLP on the map. Read on…
Our story is a long one. But the short version is that while working at another law firm, Mr. Hutcherson was put in charge of what was largely considered a hopeless case. We’ll spare you the gory details of the case, but suffice it to say, Mr. Hutcherson’s firm represented a tiny company when compared to the Defendant: a Fortune 500 firm (the name of which we are of course not allowed to disclose.) Anyway, this firm’s lawyers employed the classic big-firm tactics: to overwhelm and intimidate the Plaintiff in hopes that the Plaintiff would either lose hope or run out of money trying to pursue the suit. The frustrating part is that this tactic has historically worked pretty well. But that was before the age of electronic discovery.
Sidebar: To understand what it is we do and why it’s so important, it’s important that you know what electronic discovery is. In short, electronic discovery is a new area of law concerning the disclosure of evidence in which lawyers sift through mountains of electronic documents pertaining to a case. Think about how many emails a Fortune 500 company may generate over the course of months or years. How on Earth do you find the smoking gun emails in that pile of data? Or more importantly, how do you know if opposing counsel has left out those key documents when handing them over to you? Without giving away too much of the ending, we figured out how—a practice we call critical electronic discovery.
Back to our story…
So anyway, the big, bad Fortune 500 firm opposing us was required to produce electronic documents to us. But we had a suspicion that something was missing—that the smoking gun we were looking for was intentionally withheld and that opposing counsel wasn’t playing by the rules. But without proof, there wasn’t much we could do about it.
Here comes the neat part: Mr. Hutcherson was able to develop (what are now patent-pending) methods and technologies to sift through this mountain of electronic data and extract the content and the metadata (the computer mumbo jumbo behind every electronic document that tells computers, among other things, when the document was created, who created the document, where the document is stored in the computer’s file architecture, and how the document is related to other documents) to illustrate how the other side’s electronic document productions were flawed and in his opinion, constituted discovery misconduct. We call this new practice we developed of being critical of electronic document productions critical electronic discovery. By compiling a full picture of all the content and metadata from each document set, Mr. Hutcherson was able to show the court in no uncertain terms that documents were being withheld (and not only that they were being withheld, but he could show exactly which documents they were and where they were located, electronically speaking.)
Needless to say, courts do not look favorably upon litigants caught red-handed withholding evidence. And as a result, the case had to be settled for terms that were substantially in the Plaintiff’s favor—all because Mr. Hutcherson’s critical electronic discovery methods were able to bring down Goliath.
Fast forward a few years. Mr. Hutcherson took his technology and methods and spun off his own firm: Hutcherson Law—concentrating on all sorts of electronic discovery law-based cases. Of course, the practice is not limited to electronic discovery cases. For that matter, electronic discovery is not a case type, but critical electronic discovery is a tool that Hutcherson Law pioneered and perfected. And in any cases where electronic information can be used as evidence, this is a tool you cannot afford to be without.