Jonathan Maas has joined Ernst & Young as an Assistant Director in its Forensic Technology & Discovery Services team in London. This is good news for both of them. It is also good news for the development of electronic Disclosure in the UK – Jonathan is one of the best advocates for the subject, and the conjunction of his ability and experience with the team which Paul Walker and Sanjay Bhandari have built up at Ernst & Young is a force for good in the market which it is my job to promote.
I first met Jonathan in 1993 when he managed the litigation support team at Lovells when I went there to demonstrate some litigation support software which I had written. I did not manage to persuade Lovells to buy it, but Simmons & Simmons took it, and it was in use there when Jonathan moved to Simmons in 1994 as their first litigation support manager. He was a demanding task-master on the projects which we did together before he moved to DLA Piper as their Head of Litigation Technology in 2006, but those were the years when I developed my skills as a hands-on litigation support consultant, and S&S was a good client to have.
Jonathan is best known, though, for his role in the LiST Group, a high-level think tank of London-based litigation support managers. He was in the LiST working groups which, between 2004 and 2008, drafted a Practice Direction for the use of IT in Civil Proceedings, a Data Exchange Protocol, a Technology Questionnaire and a revised form of Disclosure Statement. It is LiST’s work which got me interested in the rules as the best mechanism for encouraging the take-up of electronic methods for handling electronic data. As a supplier, which I then was, I was disqualified from membership of LiST and its working groups, but was actively involved in the consultation phases. That experience led in due course to my membership of Senior Master Whitaker’s working party whose draft Practice Direction and ESI Questionnaire owe much to the earlier work of LiST (not least because three other LiST veterans were also members and Master Whitaker is that group’s honorary president).
Jonathan’s role at DLA Piper curtailed his ability to spend time on LiST and on the development of court-driven ways of managing e-Disclosure. He disappeared from the conference scene in which he had been an active player on both sides of the Atlantic, which was DLA Piper’s loss as well as ours. What is remarkable, however, is that his name persisted in the market as one of the key people to make contact with over the four years for which he was effectively off the field.
It seems unlikely that his talents as one of the most recognisable faces of international e-Discovery will be wasted at Ernst & Young. The team there has been built up steadily over the three years since Paul and Sanjay joined E&Y, and my outsider’s perception has been that the team was ready for an outward facing, client-getting big name to help promote E&Y’s strengths in investigations and dispute services. There are not many faces in the market which stand out in the crowd.