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BOOK REVIEW: Zubulake’s e-Discovery: The Untold Story of My Quest for Justice
By Laura A. Zubulake | Laura A. Zubulake | $25.95 | 230 pages | 2012
By 2001, Laura Zubulake made $650,000 annually as a 20-year veteran on Wall Street. Her employer, a major Wall Street firm, fired her that same year claiming that her performance was poor. Ms. Zubulake believed that the firm discriminated against her because of her sex and then retaliated by terminating her employment after she complained.
Her lawsuit resulted in a historic jury verdict and landmark e-discovery opinions that have proven influential not just nationally but also in Tennessee, having been cited by courts across the state. While the Zubulake decisions are well known, her book — Zubulake’s e-Discovery — reveals for the first time what really happened behind the scenes and how she did what she did.
This book is recommended reading for any attorney, first and foremost, because it offers rare insight into a plaintiff’s strategy, hopes and fears in litigation from the case’s earliest stages through trial. For instance, Ms. Zubulake describes how she resisted the pressure to settle exerted by the uncertainty of her case’s outcome, her dwindling resources as the lawsuit dragged on, and her own counsel.
Though technology and the law of e-discovery have evolved since the Zubulake decisions, it perhaps goes without saying that this book offers great insight on e-discovery issues. Ms. Zubulake details her search for electronic evidence, particularly emails, that proved important in her case. Many of the emails existed only on backup tapes, and the court shifted some of the cost of restoring those tapes to Ms. Zubulake. She explains how she marshaled the proof to secure an adverse inference instruction against the defendant for failing to preserve certain emails.
The book is also worth reading because it is a fascinating story, well told by Ms. Zubulake.
In sum, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about e-discovery or a plaintiff’s perspective on litigation, or to those simply looking for an interesting book to read. The book is available on Amazon.com and Createspace.com.
W. RUSSELL TABER III, a Nashville attorney with Riley Warnock & Jacobson PLC, focuses his practice on business litigation. He is the author of the book Electronic Discovery in Tennessee: Rules, Case Law and Distinctions.