Providing Crucial Support and Services for Joint Defense Group
In a well-organized, skillfully led joint defense group, the collaboration among the involved parties has proven to be invaluable in providing a consistent and stable defense, while also reducing conflicts among the defendants. These groups enable multiple defendants to speak with one voice, fostering unity and projecting strength in facing legal challenges together.
A prime example of the success of joint defense groups can be seen in a complex case handled by a team of Consilio’s experienced professionals. In that matter, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a criminal complaint against multiple aerospace companies, alleging conspiracy in restraint of trade and accusing the businesses of forming “no-poach” agreements in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Understanding the gravity of such charges, the defense team knew they needed a unified approach to tackle the complex matter.
No-poach agreements are illegal agreements between competitors in which they commit to not hiring, recruiting or pursuing each other’s employees or matching offers made by competitors. There are severe consequences for organizations and individuals involved in no-poaching agreements, including significant fines and criminal prosecution. Under a 2015 DOJ memorandum on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing (the Yates Memo), individuals can face criminal liability for a company’s wrongdoing.
Consilio Expertise Brings Impactful Results
Consilio has worked on several matters for the law firm representing one of the six defendants in the case, and this was by far the most complex matter. The joint defense group included Consilio’s law firm client, five co-defendants and five co-counsel.
The DOJ made several discovery productions to each defendant in the ongoing matter. Due to the group’s varying discovery expertise and the defendants’ various objectives and litigation strategies, the joint defense group needed a shared workspace to review the productions and understand the DOJ’s case.
Taylor Hirlinger, project manager at Consilio, stepped up for the law firm client and the joint defense group. According to Jason Perkins, a regional director at Consilio, “Taylor’s accuracy, timeliness in meeting deadlines, extreme care and commitment to client services lent itself well to the client and the defense group.”
Each co-counsel in the defense group wanted different things and made further demands. But “no massive issues came up,” said Jason. However, there was a lot of juggling by Taylor and her colleagues to develop relationships with co-counsel and coordinate discovery.
Said Taylor, “The most important thing to me: I wanted to make sure I talked one-on-one with the attorneys and paralegals because many of them were new to e-discovery and they were getting frustrated looking at millions of documents, comprising 750 gigabytes of data.” Taylor felt compelled to help and teach them as much as she could to make the process smooth.
Consilio Makes a Difference
Taylor familiarized herself with what each co-counsel was looking for and the important objectives. Using document review software, she reviewed the data and knew where and how to look for relevant documents. Taylor also taught the defense group how to use the system, making them self-sufficient when they take their skills down the road. But in this case, the group needed to get down the road quickly.
Taylor helped the defense group locate documents and meet deadlines. She found the documents they were searching for and exported them for trial preparation. Taylor provided in-depth software assistance, but most importantly, she helped find the one email they were looking for.
As explained by one of the law firm attorneys in the joint defense group, “My team and I leaned on Taylor frequently for assistance to track down particular emails, often requesting quick turnaround times. Taylor was always unfailingly cheerful and helpful.”
“Without Taylor, the law firm and the joint defense group would not have found the right documents,” said Jason. With Taylor, the group was victorious over the DOJ’s case and brought a successful motion for judgment of acquittal for all the defendants.
A Critical Technology Partner
According to Jason, joint defense groups can be tricky. They involve different personalities and members who need varying levels of service. “When you have a relationship with only one firm in the group, it always makes me nervous that the opinions of one could influence the others,” said Jason. “No firm made a complaint or wanted to change things – the client was always thrilled!”