AstroGrep is an open source grep utility, that you can use to run regular expression searches on multiple text files. It's a good alternative to an advanced grep utility such as PowerGrep (see the Tip of the Night for August 4, 2018) but it has some limitations.

AstroGrep has a simpler layout than PowerGrep, and may be easier to use for beginners. Simply select the search path to the folder containing the files you want to review, and then enter the search or regular expression search in the 'Search Text' box. [Be sure to select the 'Regular Expressions' check box.] I tested this evening, and confirmed that it can run complex regex searches accurately.

Unfortunately, AstroGrep will not run searches through PDFs.

Another drawback of using AstroGrep is that it apparently will not export search results which only include the searched for pattern results. The user only has the option of exporting the full line of text on which the search result appears.

Don't miss that you can use Excel's COUNTIF formula to find how many entries in a given range of cells do not match a given value. So, in this example we have used VLOOKUP to find where the values in column A appear in column F.

COUNTIF can be used to find how many values were found that match the inventory in column F by entering the criteria "#N/A" preceded by '<>' to indicate the search is for anything other than this given value. So, the formula:


. . . adds up the 9 occurrences of Apple and Pear in column B.

The use of conformed signatures, with '/s/' followed by a typed name, e.g., '/s/ John R. Smith', has been common for a long time, and will be more widespread now than ever with so many attorneys working from home. Be sure to know the correct term to use for this form of signing. 'Electronic signature' can describe a digital image of a handwritten signature, but should also be a method that allows for the detection of any changes to a document after the signature is applied, and provide a key the signer can use to verify his or her identity. A 'digital signature' is a type of electronic signature that uses encryption to confirm the identity of the signer.

Some courts specify that a conformed signature can substitute for an actual signature on a legal filing. The Northern District of California on its website states that, "A conformed signature is used to indicate that a 'real' signature is in place of an original.", but requires a signature attestation for conformed signatures used on documents filed by another attorney. The attestation can be added at the end of the filing, or be appended as a separate document.

Delaware law allows filings for businesses to use conformed signatures. "Any signature on any certificate authorized to be filed with the Secretary of State under any provision of this chapter may be a facsimile, a conformed signature or an electronically transmitted signature." 6 Del. C. § 17-206.

Sean O'Shea has more than 15 years of experience in the litigation support field with major law firms in New York and San Francisco.   He is an ACEDS Certified eDiscovery Specialist and a Relativity Certified Administrator.

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