“A system of justice cannot spend $300,000 on an email and hope to survive,” said the Honorable John M. Facciola, Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in remarks to a sizable audience in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on Widener Law’s Delaware campus on the evening of January 10, 2010.
Judge Facciola was the featured speaker at a Continuing Legal Education event entitled “eDiscovery Superstars: Perspectives from the Federal Bench.” The Richard K. Herrmann Technology Inn of Court and the Widener University School of Law jointly sponsored the event.
A 1966 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, John M. Facciola earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1969. From 1969 to 1973, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, and from 1974 to 1982, he worked in private practice in the District of Columbia. In 1982, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working in the Appellate and Civil Divisions and then as Chief of the Special Proceedings section from 1989 until his appointment as Magistrate Judge in 1997. A fellow of the American Bar Foundation, he has served as an adjunct professor at both Catholic University and the Georgetown University Law Center. A leader in the field of electronic discovery, he has written several important opinions on the subject and also lectures frequently on the topic.
The CLE program opened with a quick welcome from Widener Law visiting professor Richard K. Herrmann
, who then turned the program over to the president of the Inn, Kevin Brady ‘82. “He is truly an eDiscovery rock star,” said Brady as he introduced Judge Facciola.
Judge Facciola sprinkled his remarks with lively anecdotes and jokes as he offered a critical and engaging look at the issue of electronic discovery and the need for the law to engage with “an increasingly technological society.” He noted the disproportionate availability of data, saying, “Storage capacity is almost beyond comprehension,” before joking, “I still refuse to believe that my iPod has more memory than my first computer.” He noted that lawyers too often seem to be behind the curve regarding technology and that a better job needs to be done to train the next generation of lawyers on how to conduct efficient searches.
He also addressed ethical considerations, particularly ones related to electronic discovery, saying, “When I became a lawyer – when I became a judge – I didn’t check my conscience at the door.” He closed by taking a few questions from the audience.
A second “eDiscovery Superstars: Perspectives from the Federal Bench” event will follow on March 10th featuring the Honorable Paul W. Grimm, Chief Magistrate of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.