Confessions from an Attorney and Relativity Fest-goer

by Keely McKee on August 28, 2015

Community , Law Firm , Legal & Industry Education


Relativity Fest is right around the corner, and this year’s show will offer more attorney-focused (and CLE-pending) content than ever.

We wanted to share some pointers with attorneys attending this year's conference. This year, Relativity Fest is offering 22 sessions built for attorneys, many of which have been submitted for CLE accreditation consideration.

While we at kCura can talk about our sessions all day long, we thought it would be helpful to ask someone who has been in your shoes: How should an attorney plan their trip to Relativity Fest?

To learn more, I sat down with Geoffrey Vance, a partner at Perkins Coie, serving as the firmwide chair of their e-Discovery Services & Strategy practice as well as a litigator and an experienced, three-time Relativity Fest attendee. 

Keely: From your past experiences at Relativity Fest, what tips would you give attorneys attending this year’s conference?

Geof: In the past, it’s seemed like most of my attorney colleagues assumed that Relativity Fest was almost exclusively for technology professionals—if they did attend, it was primarily for the networking opportunities and they avoided the sessions during the day. Relativity Fest has blossomed into a conference that is as valuable to attorneys as it is to technology professionals.

I strongly encourage attorneys to take the time to schedule the particular sessions that will mean the most to them and their practices. Make these classes a priority. Putting some thought into your schedule will allow you to get the most out of your trip.

What are a few examples of “can’t-miss” sessions for attorneys?

I highly recommend any and all of the sessions involving judges, including the judicial panel. Additional sessions such as e-Mediation: The Seventh Circuit Pilot Program with Judge Fischer, A Conversation with Judge Andrew Peck on Computer-assisted Review, and Bridging the Gap Between Judges and Corporate Counsel with Judge Rodriguez are also ones worth adding to your agenda. 

I also think any session on technology-assisted review is worth an attorney’s while, including the half-day Assisted Review Workshop. These sessions are great for attorneys who want to see what a real-world computer-assisted review matter looks like. 

Do you think any other tracks—such as those for litigation support and IT professionals—might be useful for attorneys?

I think every attorney should identify an area in which they are not too familiar and attend a class that addresses it. It’s always good to meet the non-attorney professionals who help us in our everyday legal life and learn what a day in their life looks like. This could include attending a session for more of a technical audience to get a taste of their work and gain a better understanding of how everything fits together.

Are there any speakers you’ve seen at Relativity Fest in the past and are excited to see again this year?

I’m looking forward to Andrew Sieja’s keynote, which in the past has been incredibly helpful in presenting his vision for the future of Relativity as well as his goals for improving what has already become a standard in the industry.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m excited to see the judicial panel and the various sessions where the judges will be sharing their insights. In addition, I find Kevin Clark, David Horrigan, and Bennett Borden to be particularly inspiring and informative speakers. I’m looking forward to attending some of their presentations.

What about new speakers you are excited to hear from this year?

I am looking forward to attending Cybersecurity and e-Discovery: The Downstream Effects of Upstream Security Decisions with Edward McAndrew from the U.S. Department of Justice; How to Get Your Law Firm or Business Noticed by the Legal Media and Industry Analysts with Erin Harrison, the new and impressive editor-in-chief of Legaltech News; and How to Sell Analytics to Your Internal Case Team with Angela Green, deputy director of the Mega Litigation Support Team at Leidos. All three have terrific reputations and are sure to be rock stars at Relativity Fest.

From my experience, there’s more for attorneys at Relativity Fest than networking opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you should go straight to your hotel room and go back to work after the day sessions. You don’t want to miss the social events. They’re fun and unique, and a great way to meet new people and connect with other colleagues in our e-discovery industry.

Geoffrey A. Vance is a partner and the firmwide chair of the e-Discovery Services & Strategy practice at Perkins Coie, where he leads an impressive team of attorneys and litigation support professionals in assisting clients in leveraging state-of-the-art technologies and strategies to improve outcomes and reduce the cost of legal services.

Keely McKee is a member of the marketing communications team at Relativity, specializing in content development.




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