In among the rules, the technology, and the stories of forensics or cyber security which dominate eDiscovery (and therefore this blog), are the many people who make it all work. They are employed in law firms, in service providers and in software companies, and their ability to do their jobs well is at least as important as the technology in their hands.
In that context, it was interesting to see the appointment of Adi Elliott as Chief Talent and Marketing Officer at NightOwl Discovery. I have known Adi Elliott a long time and in roles (at Relativity and then at Epiq) which made good use of his undoubted marketing skills. I was interested to see not merely that his new role at NightOwl involves the management of talent, but that these words appear first in his job description. I spoke to him about this at Relativity Fest in Chicago.
Adi Elliott said that eDiscovery work is about strong teams – the team is the product, and what NightOwl is selling is their outcomes.
The client experience is those teams, and it matters that they are strong and diverse. It matters also that they get on with each other. eDiscovery, Adi Elliott says, has a “hero culture”, and it is important to recognise the mutual interdependence of the team. It lessens the dependence on any one individual. It also enables a better work-life balance if individuals learn to trust each other so they can turn the phone off for a bit knowing that others will be getting the job done.
Adi Elliott gives as a parallel a sports team. They do not have to do everything together and share the same interests. What matters is that they work together as a team when it matters.