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3 e-Discovery Lessons from 2018 You Should Revisit

Sam Bock

Never stop learning. That’s one of our mottos here at The Relativity Blog, and for good reason—there is a never-ending list of new and changing lessons to keep track of, which is why blogs like this one are up and running.

But while the breaking news stories and top-notch innovations are fascinating and need attention, the ongoing lessons—the lasting ones—are critical, too.

Relativity Fest is our favorite way of not just delivering lessons that have an impact on our community’s day-to-day work (and inspire the ideas of tomorrow), but of making them stick.

Relativity Fest London is happening next month and registration for Relativity Fest Chicago opens today. So prepare for these events by taking a peek at what lessons stuck last year—and gear up to soak in the ones you’ll take away from 2019.

#1: Give the people what they want: analytics.

If you’ve been in e-discovery for more than a few years, surely you’re tired of hearing about analytics as a “trend” by now. You know why? Because it’s not a trend anymore. It’s common sense.

A majority of the most-attended sessions at Relativity Fest last year featured some sort of analytics lesson, ranging from active learning overviews to international applications of the technology. In short, analytics is here to stay.

If you aren’t using these tools on every case, you’re falling behind. Get started with these resources:

#2: Don’t overlook the necessity of going back to basics.

The e-discovery market is growing and the practice of law is evolving, so new professionals are entering the space all the time. Plus, more companies are bringing e-discovery know-how in-house, working in tandem with outside counsel and service providers instead of staying upstream. And on top of that, ever-evolving technology means e-discovery expertise is a moving target.

There’s always a need to explore the basics of this field—from every angle.

This was apparent in Relativity Fest session statistics for 2018. “Beer and Basics”—a conversational session focused on Q&A between panelists and attendees—remained a popular session last year. We also saw “Beginner’s Guide to Regular Expressions for dtSearch and Analytics” among the top-ranked sessions.

Even if you’re quite familiar with these basics by now, you can advance your career and accelerate your projects by exploring new subjects and helping your peers get up to speed:

  • Beginner: Educate yourself and your teammates on why ongoing training is crucial in an industry like e-discovery with this article. These lessons will give you and your team the organizational support and budget you need to develop your skills.
  • Intermediate: Be a voice for what’s on the horizon by learning about the basics of emerging technologies (like blockchain) and their effects on e-discovery.
  • Advanced: Build your very own Relativity training to bring your teammates or clients up to speed on the latest and greatest in the software—but to make the lessons last, be sure to make it fun.

#3: Creativity is critical—on projects and career paths.

With evolving case law and data sources, intense competition, and high stakes being markers of litigation and e-discovery, creativity helps the brightest minds stay ahead of stress and set themselves apart from the pack.

Relativity Fest London attendees last year took a deep dive into how dynamic objects in Relativity can help them create custom workflows to meet the needs of each case. In Chicago, a session on law school innovation was one of the most highly ranked—with insights on how educators are getting creative to help better prepare the next generation of lawyers.

For experienced professionals, too, creative thinking can be a boon to traveling the right career paths. For example, an attitude of empowerment and the right personal brand can go a long way.

Here are some tips for bringing more creativity to your day-to-day:

  • Beginner: Think about what new skill set you’d like to pursue to make your LinkedIn profile stand out. Lawyer technologists are doing this already and reaping the benefits. What kind of expert would you like to become?
  • Intermediate: Set a goal for your team to create an application for Relativity and enter it into the 2019 Innovation Awards this year. It’s a great exercise in development—and it might develop your business, too. (Need inspiration? You can see last year’s entries here and here.)
  • Advanced: Looking for ways to innovate your law firm’s business strategy? Rethink the way you look at e-discovery expenses. More law firms are getting innovative—and disruptive—with cost recovery models.

Building the Foundation for What’s Next

Speaking of innovation, the brightest minds in our community contribute plenty of it—and it’s how they grasp for success in a shifting space.

You can find rewards in their expertise, too.

Networking is the ultimate ongoing lesson. The benefit of joining the conversation with other creative thinkers is simple but profound: you’ll gather ideas and inspiration that will improve your workflows, reduce the time and cost your team spends on e-discovery, and help you make a name for yourself in crowded marketplace.

Achieve this goal by attending conferences like ILTACON and Relativity Fest, attending local user groups, and becoming an active member of the Relativity Community. You won’t regret it.

Don't Miss Relativity Fest 2019 for More Lessons

Sam Bock is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, and serves as editor of The Relativity Blog.