Karyn Harty is a partner at Dublin law firm McCann FitzGerald. It was Karyn who ran the arguments for the use of predictive coding which were successful in the Irish Bank Resolution v Quinn case and I interviewed her about that recently.
While doing that, I caught a reference to her firm’s Data Investigations Group which sounded sufficiently interesting to follow up in a separate interview. The resulting video is below.
Karyn Harty said that the Data Investigations Group was the result of a strategic plan, running across all departments, to consolidate on, and improve the quality of, all client-related data exercises.
This is not just for eDiscovery in the conventional sense – Karyn Harty gives as an example a large M&A matter to which data analytics brought a valuable element not present in the usual data rooms.
McCann Fitzgerald uses service providers and does not own its own software for this purpose. This, Karyn Harty says, allows the firm to choose the right platform for the job provided by people with relevant expertise. The lawyers have gained the experience to know what different platforms can be used for, what the strengths and weaknesses are, and what the cost implications are of using one package rather than another.
McCann Fitzgerald brings what Karyn Harty calls “light touch project management” to these tasks. The aim is to focus on client actual needs, rather than just to do things in the way they have always been done.
The Quinn case was an example of this. McCann FitzGerald might have run it in conventional ways but decided that the client deserved better than that approach.
Various things make this stand out, beyond being a practical use of technology. For one thing it is plainly a long-term strategic plan, not just an ad hoc use of technology to solve a particular problem. For another, the focus on “clients’ actual needs” differentiates this initiative from those whose sole focus is on doing the job, whatever it may be, more efficiently – that is obviously laudable, but there is something deeper and more interesting here than merely “better, cheaper, faster”.