I have known Scott Gillard of FTI Consulting for many years, mainly from brief annual conversations at Legaltech in New York. At Relativity Fest in Chicago, I had the opportunity to talk to him properly about electronic discovery in Australia and FTI’s role in it.
The investigatory and regulatory market in Australia is very busy, Scott Gillard says. The banking Royal Commission and its aftermath have consumed the entire market, with newly-invigorated regulators going after the banks, and considerable knock-on litigation.
Regulators have played a big part in this (which is not true in all jurisdictions). They approached FTI early and have shown willingness to understand the implications of technology use. The chief pressures on clients are those of time and accuracy as regulators demand early access to key documents.
A side-effect of the Royal Commission is that many law firms have gone back to keeping work in house, partly as a result of the skills and confidence they acquired dealing with banking regulation.
Law firms and general counsel have been taking a lead in this respect. FTI has benefited by having both Relativity and other platforms at its disposal. Relativity has made big advances in Australia partly because of the product itself and partly because of the work which Relativity has done with the community.
One of the big issues in the Australian eDiscovery market is recruitment – there are not enough staff to deal with the very great volumes of work. This is being addressed partly by giving people new skills – the universities have been doing some of that – and by reaching overseas for staff. The overall mood is one of optimism with ever-increasing interest being shown in technology.
There is a new article by Sam Bock on the Relativity blog called Why Australia is a hot spot for legal innovation which has more about the increased use of technology in Australia.