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David Horrigan's Front-row Seat for e-Discovery

Nick Robertson

Last week, we welcomed David Horrigan to the kCura team. As a former e-discovery analyst and counsel at 451 Research and an experienced technology attorney, he’s been around the e-discovery block, so it was my pleasure to sit down with him to introduce our newest Relativity blog contributor to our readers.

In addition to regularly contributing articles to our blog, David will support our content development while participating in industry events and discussions that support our community. As he settles into his new role, I asked him to describe what he’s seen of the e-discovery industry’s progress from the front-row seat he’s had for over a decade, and what excites him about his new role.

Nick: Tell us about your legal and e-discovery experience. What changes have you seen in e-discovery over the years?

David: I went to law school at the University of Florida, and—as many law students do—I got my start working on litigation discovery productions. We like to think it wasn’t that long ago—and it was only the 1990s—but discovery was very different from what we see today. We had to deal with a lot of paper, and paper made productions a challenge. In one case, we saw team members carried out on stretchers because the client’s boxes of documents were home to poisonous brown recluse spiders. On another project, my fellow law students and I spent hours trapped in an elevator because we had overloaded it with boxes of discovery documents.

My real introduction to legal technology came when I was a reporter and assistant editor at The National Law Journal, assigned to cover the attacks on the World Trade Center along with Monica Bay, who was editor-in-chief of our sibling publication, Law Technology News. As we interviewed lawyers escaping the Twin Towers for our LTN article, “A Sea of Paper,” we learned the law firms’ practices were based largely on paper. When the towers fell, the paper was gone.

That experience resulted in the launch of our long-running column, Technology on Trial, where we examined the use of technology in litigation. I later reported for The National Law Journal from Frankfurt, Germany, where I received a crash course in just how different U.S. litigation and data privacy are from most of the rest of the world. That’s still true today.

After returning to the States, I practiced media, technology, and intellectual property litigation law in Washington DC, focusing on many of the information privacy and governance challenges now affecting us all. Working on an intellectual property matter in 2008, an e-discovery service provider recommended we try a relatively unknown e-discovery software application called Relativity. And after I joined 451 Research in 2011, my first conference briefing happened to be with kCura. 

What were the most interesting takeaways from your time as an industry analyst?

Having experience in the trenches actually doing e-discovery was a tremendous advantage when analyzing the industry. At 451, I was analyst and counsel for information governance and compliance. My work evolved that way due to one industry-specific takeaway: e-discovery is integral to both the critical legal and business issues of data governance, including data privacy and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Some of the other takeaways are more basic, and they have almost nothing to do with the law or e-discovery, but they’re of interest to anyone in business. Being an industry analyst gives you incredible access and insight into what makes companies tick. It may sound trite, but it’s almost always true: companies with happy employees succeed. Why? Happy employees make customers happy. I think a certain level of energy and enthusiasm is important in an industry such as e-discovery where you’re always up against tight timelines and difficult projects.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new role?

As kCura’s e-discovery counsel and legal content director, my role is to be a communications and educational resource on legal issues affecting technology for the entire Relativity community—including the many Relativity customers, partners, and internal kCura team members who work together to make the Relativity community one of the fastest growing groups in e-discovery.

We’ll be developing more legally focused content to complement the technical resources already in place. I’m excited to get started because of the educational platform the enthusiastic Relativity community provides. I think we have a unique opportunity to serve the industry.

In addition to events such as Relativity Fest—where we’ll be reprising our well-received Judges’ Panel this October with Judges Nora Barry Fischer, Andrew Peck, Xavier Rodriguez, and David Waxse—the Relativity community today encompasses more than 120,000 active users from more than 7,000 unique organizations around the globe; 118 channel partners, including the world’s top service providers for our industry; and 36 development partners that extend the capabilities of the software. Their passion for the space is driving innovation.

For instance, Josh Gilliland, the well-respected e-discovery lawyer behind Bow Tie Law, recently started a discussion on the Relativity blog about lawyers’ ethical duty for technical competence in California. Josh’s post inspired commentary from another accomplished veteran of the legal technology community, Tom O’Connor, senior e-discovery consultant to Relativity Premium Hosting Partner, Advanced Discovery.

The discussion between Josh and Tom is exactly what we want to facilitate. As e-discovery has transformed from a boutique business for document productions into the explosive growth industry of data discovery, this community can create a helpful forum for sharing ideas.

We’re also looking forward to having these future discussions with some of the leading experts in legal technology, including those already on the Relativity Fest agenda, such as Judges Fisher, Peck, Rodriguez, and Waxse; Barclay Blair and Maribel Rivera of the Information Governance Initiative; Chris Dale of the eDisclosure Information Project; Ari Kaplan of Ari Kaplan Advisors, and many more.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re always going to agree. In fact, I’m looking forward to moderating some great debates on the data law issues of the day. In the meantime, we’re getting started on our mission to demystify e-discovery with my upcoming blog post, “Discovering Deflategate: What Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, and the NFL Can Teach Us About e-Discovery.”

Please join us as we embark on our journey to provide practical, tangible, and remarkable content for attorneys, legalists, and anyone involved in e-discovery in any way, shape, or form.