Metadata: Technological, Ethical and Legal Consequences

Understanding the Hidden Threat - Best Practices to Manage the Risks

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will prepare attorneys to manage the ethical and malpractice risks of metadata. The panel will outline best practices for controlling and managing metadata and meeting related ethical and legal obligations.


Metadata lurks beneath the surface of every electronic document. Every computer application and platform generates metadata. Electronic communication and the ability to download a copy of any document electronically filed in any federal court greatly magnifies the consequences of human error.

All attorneys and clients are susceptible to breach of confidentiality and malpractice traps. Counsel can protect clients and their law firm or law department by avoiding common but critical mistakes involving track changes, pdf conversions, redaction and electronic discovery (eDiscovery).

Counsel must plan and implement proper metadata and redaction procedures and tools to ensure they don't repeat the well-publicized blunders such as those made by opposing counsel or co-counsel in proceedings involving the National Security Agency, General Electric, Whole Foods and others.

Listen as our authoritative panel offers clear guidance for attorneys, law firms and companies to act immediately to understand, control and manage metadata when using track changes, pdf conversions and redaction—and avoid related malpractice exposure and ethics violations.



  1. Day-to-Day Metadata Issues for Lawyers and Others
    1. Definitions
    2. Demonstrations of file-system data and embedded data
    3. Track changes
    4. Mitigation — scrubbing/cleaning and mining via same software
    5. Redactions
  2. Lawyer ethics of inadvertent disclosures day-to-day and in litigation
  3. E Discovery — exchange of client-created files in native format with metadata intact
    1. Overview of law
    2. Demonstrations of frequently arising issues
      1. Metadata could have been altered and/or otherwise be misleading
      2. When, up front, you negotiate to exchange in native, be aware of what you are getting into


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What can companies and counsel do to reduce or eliminate the risk of inadvertent disclosures, particularly when using track changes, converting to pdfs or redacting documents?
  • What ethical obligations does counsel have upon receipt from opposing counsel of documents that include revealing metadata?
  • How are state bars, bar associations and courts treating inadvertent disclosure of metadata?
  • What are the key legal and computer-forensics issues that arise in eDiscovery when client-created files are exchanged in native formats?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Brownstone, Robert
Robert D. Brownstone

Technology & eDiscovery Counsel
Fenwick & West

Mr. Brownstone advises clients on information-security, data-privacy, electronic discovery, electronic information...  |  Read More

Kris Haworth
Kris Haworth

The Forensics Group

She has more than 17 years of professional experience in the technology industry. Her cases have established national...  |  Read More

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