Ed Spencer is the associate at Taylor Wessing who took the initiative in proposing the use of predictive coding in the Pyrrho case. He took part in a panel which I moderated at Relativity Fest in Chicago, and I took the opportunity to interview him.
I have already interviewed him about the Pyrrho case itself and used this interview to follow up a slightly different point – how did he find out about the technology in the first place and how easy was it to persuade others, such as partners and clients, to use it? The focus hitherto has been on his discussions with the other side, but there was presumably a hearts and minds exercise to be conducted first with within the firm and with the client.
Ed Spencer said that he first learnt about predictive coding at a lunchtime discussion from a provider and then went on a training course. When he first got involved in the Pyrrho case, he realised the potential for using predictive coding to cut through the volumes and get to the documents which mattered in a cost-effective way.
He said that his firm, Taylor Wessing, is good at seeking out new technologies that make them more cost-effective and is receptive to new ideas. He explained his reasoning internally and was, quite properly, made to explain and justify his suggestions. The department was then happy to go forward with the idea.
I asked Ed Spencer what he had learnt at Relativity Fest that was useful to him. The main new thing, he said, was the fact that people are using Relativity for other things beyond disputes discovery, for example for contract review. He had, he said, actually been discussing such a project internally and was interested to find that others were already doing it.