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7 Expert Tips on Getting Started in e-Discovery

Shana Kirchner

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my career in e-discovery, it’s that this industry is full of exceptionally smart people. Though the nature of litigation and legal technology has changed significantly over the years, the professionals behind e-discovery have not only kept up with the demands—they’ve innovated every step of the way.

For this year’s Relativity Fest, we’re working with more of these experts than ever to build educational content that attendees can act on immediately. Ahead of the conference, I wanted to gather some tips from a few of our presenters and their colleagues for folks who are just joining the field. Here’s what they told us.


william wilkinsonWilliam Wilkinson, head of technology forensics at BDO LLP

“Perhaps my most useful piece of advice would be this: Know what is expected of you and your role within every project. Establish the expectations of those around you and be prepared to adapt accordingly. I’ve seen projects nearly collapse because someone assumed they knew what was wanted—but missed what was needed.”

James DaleJames Daley, senior counsel at Seyfarth Shaw’s e-discovery and information governance group

“I recommend that new practitioners obtain some practical exposure to an organization’s information management lifecycle. Understanding the way data is created, stored, used, and destroyed in an organization—a “big picture” perspective—will prepare practitioners to advise clients in all areas of the EDRM framework.”

Cinthia Motley

Cinthia Motley, partner at Sedgwick LLP

“Pay attention to TAR. This and other analytics options are tools to help us better and more efficiently manage the e-discovery process. Also keep up with case law; it’s constantly developing.”


Kathleen McConnellKathleen McConnell, counsel at Seyfarth Shaw LLP

“Common sense is critical in e-discovery. It’s one of the areas of law where the standard is reasonableness, and that’s one of my favorite things about it. Focus on practical and efficient ways to tackle your data and productions. Recognize the potential for exceptions, pursue reasonable solutions, and you’ll do well.”

Jon M. Stephens

Jon M. Stephens, senior manager at Deloitte’s Electronic Discovery Solutions Center

“This industry is full of constant change. This change runs from the nature of the data itself all the way to how we put it in front of a review team. What was normal yesterday may not be normal tomorrow. Be prepared to reinvent ‘normal’ on a weekly basis.”

Karlena SchwingKarlena Schwing, counsel at Dentons LLP

“It is critical for new professionals to ‘cross train’ on legal and technological concepts. For technologists, it is key to understand the legalities at play to recommend the best technology for a specific matter. Similarly, attorneys should endeavor to understand the science of e-discovery, including its advantages and limitations.”

David Horrigan

David Horrigan, e-discovery counsel and legal content director at kCura

“Learning legal technology can seem like a daunting task, but the materials are out there if you take advantage of them—often at no cost. Resources such as Bloomberg Law, Corporate Counsel, Legaltech News, The National Law Journal, the Relativity blog, and live webinars provide an important—and free—way to keep up with the latest developments in e-discovery.”