CEDS Spotlight – South Africa

Ilse Grobler, CEDS
Chief Administrative Officer
Lextrado EDS

Please share your thoughts on the certification training, how long it took you to prepare for the exam, thoughts on the exam and how it has benefitted you- both the knowledge gained from training and certification and being part of the ACEDS community as a whole. (Whole experience)

Being from a different jurisdiction where E-Discovery is not as well defined as in the US, I first had to familiarize myself with some of the terminology as well as legislative processes. I worked through all the training (more than once)- the E-Discovery Essentials was excellent- especially the questions at the end of each module- assisting with understanding the format of the examination.

Why did you decide to get certified? Do you have any other certifications?

South Africa is at the beginning of the E-Discovery journey, but also part of the global market, with many of our clients being International Corporations and or linked to International Corporations. Working for a company that is one of only a few offering the services locally, we investigated E-Discovery Certifications which would give us an overview of the international best practice and off course a competitive edge. This is where legal practices are going!

Please share your background of eDiscovery experience:

As a former State Advocate, we started to deal with ESI more and more in court and having to often utilize limited enabling legislation to have ESI admitted in court (this was somewhat remedied by various pieces of legislation and rule amendments during the 2000’s). We are still very dependent on properly constructed court orders and applications for which we are fortunately mostly approached prior to the lawyers approaching court. These include high stakes Intellectual property cases, labour matters, regulatory and criminal matters. Our current court rules are still limited and not as extensive as the US and UK enabling legislation and is still a very adversarial system where lawyers hold their cards very close to their chests as long as they can- certainly not as pro-active as the States. We deal with ESi (and converted hard copies), from collection (mostly in the forensic collection space for litigation purposes) through to production and court prep, followed by expert testimony. We are still in some instances educating the system on correct collections to ensure admissibility. Still very much reliant on common law.

Would you recommend our CEDS training/certification to others?

Definitely – I see an increase in the number of CEDS from SA in the very near future and would recommend it to any person active in this field or part thereof as it encompasses the end-to-end process for identification, preservation through  to production. All lawyers, E-discovery vendors, Investigators will benefit to understand the bigger picture of where they operate in the field.

Advice to others looking to take the exam?

On one of your webinars (Which I might add are excellent training sources, especially for a “foreigner” like me), you indicated- JUST SET THE DATE. Once this was set, I had no choice but to work through the material and am so glad I pinned it down. Time gets in the way too easily. Go through ALL the material offered. Definitely the exam Q and A’s and the prep course and off course Helen Moure ‘s training (between her an “Hi, I am Amy”, and the material, I believe I had everything to be well prepared.

Any other thoughts to share?

The examination was tough, as there are some areas I was very unfamiliar with, but was wiling to seek out an expert in the particular field to explain. You do not have to be a subject matter expert on all areas to pass. The exam prep clarified what areas I need to focus on not only to pass, but also in relation to future knowledge focus.