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The Best of Relativity Fest 2019: Our Favorite Quotes

David Horrigan

The tenth annual Relativity Fest is in the books. Fest 2019 set new records, including our biggest group of attendees ever—over 2,000—and that does not include the many Relativity employees at our annual celebration of legal technology.

As is our tradition, we’ve compiled some of the great quotes we heard during Relativity Fest. Although we call it “The Best of Fest,” it’s by no means a comprehensive compilation. This writer couldn’t be in every session—and it would be impossible to include all the great moments that occurred during the week.

Nevertheless, here we go. It’s The Best of Fest for 2019:

Ann Hopkins Avery, Director of Learning and Leadership-Americas, Baker McKenzie

Diversity and inclusion includes diversity of thought.

Greg Buckles, Founder, eDJ Group

There are no best practices in mobile; there are only better practices and worse practices. Discovery of mobile data still costs 8 to 12 times as much as traditional e-discovery.

Hon. James Francis IV, Distinguished Lecturer, City University of New York School of Law and Retired United States Magistrate Judge (S.D.N.Y.):

Those of you in this room are the most knowledgeable people in a cutting-edge area. With knowledge comes power, and with power comes great responsibility.

Dean Gonsowski, Chief Revenue Officer, Active Navigation, on the state of mind of some respondents to the Relativity-CTRL Data Minimization Study when David Horrigan noted over one-third of them responded that they understood their data completely:

They’re absolutely delusional.

Tracy Greer, Senior Counsel, E-Discovery, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice (Disclaimer: Tracy Greer was speaking for herself and not on behalf of the United States Department of Justice):

If you’re doing a production, and 20 percent of the documents are on a privilege log, something weird is going on.


If you’re going to try to clawback stuff, please make sure you clawback all the duplicates.

Ari Kaplan, Founder, Ari Kaplan Advisors, describing the trials and tribulations of lawyers learning technology when describing the glee of his wife (herself a lawyer) upon hearing Ari was able to replace the computer motherboard on their refrigerator:

You’re the best; I knew my mother was wrong about you.

and when asked to name the worst thing about e-discovery:

I think it’s the hyphen.

Alvin Lindsay, Partner, Hogan Lovells, on the era of linear document review employing many attorneys in e-discovery:

It’s been a Golden Age for contract lawyers, but it’s coming to an end.

Dan Linna, Senior Lecturer and Director of Law and Technology Initiatives, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, on the evolving roles of lawyers and the need to expand access to justice:

There are still plenty of opportunities for lawyers to do well by doing good.

and on the effect of technology on the law:

We lawyers have to keep the machines accountable.

Mary Mack, Chief Executive Officer, The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) and David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director, Relativity, on Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

Mary: The GDPR is a blessing.

David: I’ve heard the GDPR called a lot of things. “Blessing” is not one of them.

Ed McAndrew, Partner, DLA Piper, and former U.S. Department of Justice Cybercrime Coordinator, on the limits of encryption:

Ask the Three Amigos of the Ukraine matter how well encrypted messaging apps work when investigators have a cooperating witness with an unencrypted device.

Tom O’Connor, Director, Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center, when asked about the lack of discovery sanctions in Small v. United Med Ctr., Inc.:

After the 2015 amendments, being stupid is not the same as being evil.

Ryan O’Leary, Senior Research Analyst, Legal, Risk, and Compliance, IDC:

Data privacy is a personal cost-benefit choice that we all make. However, if you’re using your face to open your phone and also sending pictures of your face to a Russian face app, then I don’t know how to help you.

Hon. Andrew Peck, Senior Counsel, DLA Piper, and former United States Magistrate Judge (S.D.N.Y.), asked to name the worst thing about e-discovery:

Asymmetric litigation, where the defendant has all the data, and the plaintiff has virtually nothing except a few Facebook posts. Then, there’s plaintiff counsels’ lack of knowledge of e-discovery and torturing the defendant because of that—or being very knowledgeable and torturing the defendant with that because that’s a way to get cases to settle favorably.

United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez (W.D. Tex.):

There’s no such thing as a good privilege log. If a judge has to see it, it’s not good.

Ines Rubio, Head of Information Management and Incident Response, BSI:

It’s important to have a proper cybersecurity program, but you can’t be too stringent—if you are, people will just find another way and disregard the program completely.

State of the e-Discovery Union Audience Member when asked to name the worst thing about e-discovery:

The 80 percent of lawyers who think they’re in the 20 percent [referring to data indicating only 20 percent of lawyers are competent technologically].

Tropheo, Mascot, Relativity Innovation Awards:

Angie Ocasek [a member of Relativity’s partner marketing team and creator of the Tropheo costume] is the best person in the world. She is brilliant and funny, and her exquisite baked goods are arguably the most delicious things on the planet.

Kelly Twigger, Founder, ESI Attorneys law firm and eDiscovery Assistant software company and columnist, Above the Law, on lawyers’ technological competence:

We still have an awful lot of lawyers who don’t know what they don’t know even though we’ve been dealing with these issues since before the rules changed in 2006. A lot of folks haven’t dipped their toes into knowledge no matter how many of us are there putting that knowledge out there.

Zach Warren, Editor-in-Chief, Legaltech News, on the technical competence of lawyers:

If you’re defining competence as not getting spoliation sanctions, sure, there’s a lot of competence out there.

Winnie the Pooh, Literary Character, being quoted by two people going downstairs to take Relativity certification exams:

Just remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

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David Horrigan is Relativity’s discovery counsel and legal education director. An attorney, law school guest lecturer, e-discovery industry analyst, and award-winning journalist, David has served as counsel at the Entertainment Software Association, reporter and assistant editor at The National Law Journal, and analyst and counsel at 451 Research. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Legaltech News, the Data Law Board of Advisors at the Yeshiva University Cardozo Law School, the Global Advisory Board of ACEDS, and the Faculty and Planning Committee of the University of Florida E-Discovery Conference. David was First Runner-Up for Best Legal Analysis in the 2019 Lexblog Excellence Awards, and he is the author of the annual Data Discovery Legal Year in Review. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida, and he studied international law at Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. He is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.