Paul Drake was Perry Mason’s investigator. Last year, I had an opportunity to do what I suppose might be considered database investigatory work.
A legal office had me consult with them to determine how to access and use a LIMS database that was involved in a court case. I want to be clear that I was not looking at result data and giving opinions as to whether it truly was in or out of spec, but merely helping them determine how to actually get at the data and pull it out of the database.
Note: I should add that this was not for a customer with whom I had worked. If it had been, I suppose I might have been called as a witness, instead, although I have no idea how that would work as I’ve not been in the situation.
If you think that’s simple, keep in-mind that, in most LIMS (or even ELN or LES systems), the logic is in the program, not in the database. Without the program to help you understand the data’s workflow, a database is just a bunch of, well, data – I mean to say that it isn’t actually information, necessarily.
While I have known consultants who have been expert witnesses and other assorted legal-related activities, this was my first customer of this sort (I was about to say that this was “my first legal customer” but, think about it, that doesn’t come out quite the way it’s intended). It was an interesting change of pace.
Meanwhile, I doubt that Paul Drake is shaking in his boots with the fear that I’ll replace him. 😉 But, as often happens, the work that comes through consulting is varied and interesting.