Earlier this year, Relativity said that they intended to make RelativityOne available in 14 different geographical areas by the end of 2021. I have not noted all of them as they have been rolled out, in part because the story is much the same everywhere – increasing data volumes, enhanced regulatory requirements, the privacy and data protection implications of the GDPR and other data safeguards, and the need to service staff working from home, have all contributed to a need to locate data where it is secure, where it can be accessed from everywhere and quickly, and where someone else takes responsibility for the backend.
The latest jurisdiction to benefit from the RelativityOne roll-out is Ireland, where there is a new Relativity data centre and a partnership with BSI, whose consulting services team is Relativity’s official launch partner. There is a press release here which tells the story and describes the benefits which Relativity and BSI can now deliver to clients. These include secure access to all Relativity’s functionality, and the release of BSI’s resources for giving attention to clients rather than for maintaining the infrastructure.
The main requirement, of course, is to make use of the functionality to review data as quickly as possible and get through to analysis, conclusions and insights. Steve Couling, Managing Director and Vice President Sales, EMEA, at Relativity, is quoted in the press release as saying that “users can work seamlessly and securely around the world to discover the truth in data”. That is what all this invention is for.
I spoke to Steve Couling, not so much about the technical capabilities of RelativityOne which are well rehearsed elsewhere, but about the choice of Ireland as a market for it.
As it happens, Ireland was the first place I ever went to for international commercial litigation in the early 1980s. Having never travelled further than the Kidderminster County Court, I was sent at short notice to Dublin and then to Madrid to work with one of Ireland’s major law firms on a matter whose details now escape me. I remember only that my role involved unearthing documents and interviewing people about them. In those days, the documents were on paper and the only way to see them was to get on a plane and start opening filing cabinets.
Every aspect of this has changed beyond recognition. The volumes of documents involved in an international case of that significance would now be enormous, but thanks to software like RelativityOne, they would be available online more or less instantly from anywhere. We did not have to think about spreading disease by travelling and meeting people. We had the telephone if we needed to talk – at vast expense per minute – to opposite numbers in other countries, and the telex for sending messages (you may need Google to help you with “telex”).
The biggest change, however, has been in Ireland’s place in international disputes. This is due to several factors: it is a significant technology hub, the European home to many of the big technology companies; there is fierce competition between large top-flight law firms; Brexit has given Ireland a great deal of business which would otherwise have gone to London; it remains in the EU, and is an English-speaking jurisdiction with courts and rules which are recognisably similar to those in both London and in the US; its government, courts, and lawyers have worked hard to make Ireland an attractive place to do business, with courts which are recognised as both brisk and just, and lawyers who have grasped the significance of technology as an aid to the management of disputes.
Adding all these things together, Steve Couling said, it was easy for Relativity to decide that Ireland was the next place to take RelativityOne. Perhaps scalability is the main feature which matters. My reminiscences in this article about filing cabinets and telexes go back 40 years. Go back only four years and consider how far we have travelled in that time. RelativityOne is both a reflection of the rapid expansion of legal business in Ireland and an enabler of the next round.