It is noticeable that eDiscovery and the subjects which are grouped around it are becoming more interesting to those who work in it. I don’t mean merely that there is more work around, but that the participants are finding it more interesting and enjoyable as it becomes more diverse and more challenging.
I have done a lot of interviews recently (about 50 since September) and the roster of interview subjects has included some younger people who might be expected to find everything interesting. Brian Stuart of FTI Consulting is one of the elder statesmen of eDiscovery, and yet the excitement he gets from his work appears palpably from this interview.
My interview with Brian Stuart took place at Relativity Fest in Chicago, shortly after Brian joined FTI Consulting in London. As he says at the beginning of the interview, he has had various roles over the years, in law firms and latterly at EY, and has worked with Relativity for more than 11 years.
FTI is expanding its portfolio of services with RelativityOne, and Brian Stuart is one of those who has been brought in to help with that in the UK and EMEA. FTI’s focus, he says, is to add value to applications targeted at specific markets. Each market has different problems, and Relativity’s object models, scripting and APIs allow the development of a portfolio of applications addressing particular problems. RelativityOne also makes it easy to tailor applications to multiple geographies.
Relativity’s extensible models and object models allow more than simply reading documents. Brian Stuart spoke of a particular exercise in which lawyers were reading documents at one end of the corridor while accountants were looking at trading patterns at the other. Relativity allowed these different aspects to be pulled together for joint working and review, and included links between specific transactions of concern to regulators (accountants asking the what) along with the documents and correspondence that contextualised those transactions (the lawyers asking the why). This makes it easy for a reviewer to look at the overall context framed by all the documents together.
Brian Stuart was eloquent too on another area which is becoming evident wherever I look – that eDiscovery skills and tools are being repurposed and extended for purposes well beyond litigation eDiscovery and regulatory investigations. FTI, he said, is taking its core EDRM, left to right, skill set, and bringing it to new areas – wherever data is collected, he said, FTI can deliver services and applications, beginning with “lifting and shifting data” as in traditional discovery.
New regulations, specifically the GDPR, plus Brexit, are offering new and interesting opportunities for these skills and tools, not least as companies re-evaluate their contracts. Brian Stuart sees these as opportunities to be grabbed, making the broader eDiscovery business a great place to be at the moment. There is, he said, no end to the creativity which can be deployed in opening up the opportunities given by wider legal and political developments.