Thanksgiving time is one for reflection. I have been thinking about Judge John Facciola’s impact on the world of eDiscovery with his upcoming retirement. I am very thankful we had such a dedicated judge who has been such a leader in electronic discovery.
Judge Facciola had his share big cases, but the important ones are the cases that give a nuts and bolts framework on how to actually litigate issues surrounding electronically stored information.
Judge Facciola excelled at these cases and showed a profound willingness to be hands on in solving issues, from search term efficiency to hosted repositories. The Judge’s commanding use of language is second to none, with many memorable quotes.
The good Judge is a profoundly thoughtful individual, whose interests include sailing, baseball, history, and a strong dedication to our justice system. I wanted to share a couple of stories I had with the Judge over the years.
First Time I Met the Judge
I met Judge Facciola on Super Tuesday 2008 in Washington, DC. I was in DC for a conference and had a webinar planned with him later in the month. I wanted to take the opportunity to meet him in person since I was in town.
After going through security at the Federal Courthouse, I eventually found the waiting room for his department’s chambers. Observing large format photos of boats on the wall (one was a dory) and magazine on the America’s Cup, I thought, “Cool, we can talk about sailing.”
The Judge greeted me in one of his signature bow ties. Ironically, I did not know he wore bow ties at that time. My react was simply, “Awesome.”
We had lunch in the judges’ dining room that overlooks the US Capital Building. It is still surreal to remember, seeing other judges eating lunch and discussing matters of importance. To this date it is still one of the most memorable events in my career so far.
Judge Facciola and I discussed search terms and discovery requests. I shared with him my concern that “text speak” such as “LOL” type acronyms should be included when conducting searches of text messages and instant messages. He actually sat-up and said, “I had not thought of that.”
After leaving the Courthouse, I met up with some attorney friends. We watched the Super Tuesday results at different campaign parties at some of DC’s more entertaining pubs, but that adventure is another story.
An Evening at the Cosmos Club
I visited DC in 2013 for a business trip. I contacted the Judge if he had time to meet for lunch or coffee while I was in town. He offered to meet for dinner at the Cosmos Club.
I am normally well versed in history, but I had to look up the Cosmos Club. The Club was founded in 1878 dedicated to the advancement of art, science, and literature. Its members included Alexander Graham Bell, Woodrow Wilson, and virtually every Secretary of State.
There is no question the Cosmos Club was the most regal institution I have ever entered. For me, it represented those dedicated to knowledge with a true sense of class. The library was simply majestic, where one could be lost for hours in study.
The Judge and I enjoyed a good meal, discussing the law, film, boats, and of course US History. At a prior dinner before Legal Tech 2009, we discussed the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the unfair court martial of Captain Charles McVay III, leaving the others looking at us in respectful confusion.
While we were discussing topics from eDiscovery to President Garfield, another dinner party walked by our table. The person in the lead looked familiar, but I could not identify the dinner guest.
Once the other party was seated, the Judge said, “That’s General Petraeus.”
A True Statesman
Jessica Mederson and I invited Judge Facciola to record an Independence Day podcast for our blog The Legal Geeks. Judge Facciola truly loves the United States. The Judge shared his thoughts on the 4th of July, the meaning of Independence, and the role of the Judiciary in upholding the promise of the Declaration of Independence. Jess and I were clearly in awe of what the Judge had to say about our country and freedom.
Legacy on the Court
Judge Facciola leaves a powerful legacy of civic duty, honor, and a strong work ethic. I wish him well in his future adventures, whether they are out sailing or well-earned time with family. Thank you for your service, Your Honor.
Moreover, thank you for the tip about Beau Ties Ltd of Vermont. Wonderful collection of bow ties.
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg from 2013 to 2016, the Web 100 from 2017 to 2018, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.