Relativity Fest is sneaking up on us this year (it’s in September, after all!) and with that excitement comes the spirited, affirmation-filled energy of our annual Innovation Awards. Since the inaugural awards hit the stage 10 years ago, our entire team at Relativity has just fizzed with joy to see how the community steps up to recognize each other.
Year after year, you send your peers to the stage to recognize their exceptional work and truly wonderful humanness. Thank you for playing a crucial role in something that’s become a truly quintessential component of our annual celebrations in Chicago.
The people categories are the perfect place for lifting others up and calling out their awesomeness, and this year’s group of finalists certainly fit that bill. Read on to get to know our nominees in each category, and don’t forget to vote for those you most admire by Friday, August 25!
The Innovation Award for Artificial Intelligence
Richard Finkelman, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group
Rich Finkelman is the leader of BRG’s AI legal discovery practice. His pioneering work in AI includes building machine learning models to predict document characteristics, and he is working with TextIQ to integrate his modeling workflow into the future release of TextIQ’s DIY product. In conjunction with Relativity, Rich created the industry's first AI/ML report for e-discovery and document review.
Matthew Golab, Director, Legal Informatics & R+D, Gilbert + Tobin
Matthew is the director of legal informatics and R&D at law firm Gilbert + Tobin, where he has been using forms of machine learning for more than a decade and loves using AI to help solve complex, large-scale problems. Matthew’s approach to AI is to be pragmatic, to undersell, and to ensure that all participants are aware that it can take effort and commitment to review documents and code the responsiveness before you can see any return in the model. Matthew has become the go-to person within G+T to discuss the use of AI and is very passionate about helping people understand how technology can help.
Chris Haley, Managing Director of Technology, Troutman Pepper eMerge
In his role as managing director of technology at Troutman Pepper eMerge, Chris Haley has demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation in AI. He encourages participation in early adopter opportunities to test and improve new AI solutions. His involvement in the AI Task Force and R&D leadership at the firm helps them stay at the forefront of AI advancements. His vision in creating AI applications to solve client needs, including the award-winning Xtractor that uses AI to extract information from form documents, highlights his transformative contributions to legal technology.
The Innovation Award for Customer Experience
Stu Craft, Managing Director, FTI Technology
Stu is an innovator, e-discovery leader, and Relativity Master who believes in the power of people and technology together to solve any problem. He offers clients collaborative partnership, expert advice, and decades of experience developing and deploying solutions within Relativity. Among corporate and legal clients, Stu is known as a trusted partner who takes the time needed to truly understand the nuances of their needs, so he can identify optimal solutions.
Adam Rubinger, Chief Client Experience Officer, HaystackID
Adam Rubinger, chief client experience officer at HaystackID, sets a high bar in exceeding customer expectations by skillfully merging technological adeptness with a client-centric focus. With over 25 years in e-discovery, Adam leverages his extensive knowledge of the Relativity platform to pioneer innovative workflows and deliver high-impact results for legal departments and law firms.
Jeanne Somma, General Counsel, Lineal
Jeanne Somma has been innovating solutions for 15 years, mostly to protect her own sanity. As a client-centric expert, she helps clients solve difficult challenges, and to make her life easier she collaborates with her team to build new solutions. She was the brains behind Lineal’s 2021 & 2022 Relativity Innovation Award-winning apps, and before that created unique solutions at Ayfie and DiscoverReady. In her free time, she teaches law students about e-discovery.
The Innovation Award for Education & Mentorship
Megan Daviduke, Sr. Manager, Sr. Counsel, Capital One
Megan is senior discovery counsel at Capital One. She created and now leads the company’s in-house document review program. She has taught hundreds of attorneys how to execute discovery from identification through production, and holds weekly Relativity training sessions for company associates and contractors. She controls risk and costs by leveraging Relativity and her discovery expertise. Megan is Capital One's key e-discovery educator, trainer, and evangelist.
William Hamilton, Senior Legal Skills Professor, e-discovery project Director, University of Florida Law
William Hamilton is a senior legal skills professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Over the past 17 years, he's taught e-discovery every term, educating 1,500+ students in e-discovery rules, case law, software platforms, and best practices. Hamilton also leads UF's annual e-discovery conference, engaging 3,000+ global practitioners.
Ari Mandel, Vice President of eDiscovery Services, Gulfstream Legal Group
As an e-discovery expert at Gulfstream Legal, Ariyah Mandel is the perfect candidate for Relativity’s Education & Mentorship Innovation Award. Ari has a passion for transforming learning techniques and implementing unique educational approaches to benefit clients, students, and mentors. He has introduced personalized learning journeys that include experiential programs, mentorship initiatives, gamification, and collaborative learning communities.
The Innovation Award for Inclusion
Charles Osche, Senior Director, Morae Global
Charles is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the head of UK discovery services at Morae, he oversees the operational and strategic aspects while committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment. In his role as the global head and founder of the LGBTQA+ ERG, Allyship, and Speaker Series programs, he raises awareness and creates a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ individuals in the workplace. Beyond his professional role, he works with Legal Prep Academy in Chicago, to support and educate the next generation of leaders from diverse backgrounds. Charles aims to create an e-discovery space that encompasses a wide range of voices.
Lily Wen, Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Lily is an e-discovery practice leader with more than 15 years’ experience supporting clients with the use of technology in discovery and electronic evidence management. Inclusivity is at the core of her leadership style, and she is known for demonstrating genuine care for her teams and clients. By giving colleagues from all walks of life, including junior employees, the opportunity to influence decisions, she helps people believe in themselves as future leaders.
Rachel Williams, Principal, Charles River Associates
Rachel has been deeply invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout her career. Holding a double major in Information Management & Technology and Women's Studies and a minor in African American Studies, she cites her educational background as a significant influence on her life and her career.
Since joining Charles River Associates, Rachel co-founded and stays actively involved in Mosaic@CRA, an employee resource group representing Black, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander employees. Rachel’s dedication to DE&I is driven by her desire to foster an inclusive environment and to create lasting change at CRA and within the e-discovery industry at large.
The Innovation Award for Security
Aneesha Gupta, Product Manager Vulnerability Management, metafinanz
Aneesha Gupta is an innovative cybersecurity professional with a passion for driving positive change and fostering an environment of growth. With her innovative mindset, she has successfully introduced automation and streamlined workflows, leading to improved efficiency and reduced turnaround times. Additionally, Aneesha is dedicated to mentoring aspiring professionals, providing guidance and support to help them navigate in this field. Her commitment to mentorship reflects her belief in the power of knowledge sharing and building a strong community of cybersecurity experts.
Simone Herbert-Lowe, Director and Founder, Law & Cyber
Simone is the founder of Law & Cyber, specialising in cyber law, risk management, and education. With a passion for empowering others to protect themselves from cybercrime, Simone creates and presents specialist online and face-to-face cyber education. Her courses have been endorsed by leading Australian professional bodies. Simone is a thought leader in legal liability and cyber risk and is proud to have educated over 10,000 people about cyber risk since founding L&C.
Linda Sheehan, Head of intelligENS, ENSafrica
As one of South Africa’s foremost experts in legal technology and e-discovery, Linda excels in compliance automation and AI-driven data management. Her passion for deploying cutting-edge technology includes leading ENSafrica to be Africa’s first law firm adopters of RelativityOne. Whilst managing a team of technologists and strategic vendor partnerships, Linda’s influence extends beyond the office as she advocates for adoption of ethical AI standards globally.
The Innovation Award for Stellar Women
Marla Crawford, General Counsel, Cimplifi
As one of the first e-discovery lawyers and with over 35 years of practice, Marla has broken barriers and confronted the status quo. She has challenged gender inequality by creating opportunities for women and underappreciated populations in legal tech, served on various boards and committees, mentoring generations of women and minorities, and is continually learning and teaching. Having enhanced the careers of so many, Marla is the epitome of a stellar woman.
Ellen Johnson, Associate Director, Deloitte Australia
Ellen’s passion for legal technology has led her to commit much of her 14 years’ experience to promoting innovation, creativity, and diversity in the industry. Having been an RCA for over six years, Ellen has overseen the rise of AI, adoption of cloud, and evolution of new data types and ways of working. She went from being the only female on the Sydney Discovery and Data Management team to helping transform the team to be almost 60 percent female. For Ellen, creating a supportive environment where people feel empowered and inspired to bring their best self to work is a priority, hence her strong relationships with women in the legal industry.
Natalie Lau, eDiscovery Consultant, Allen & Overy
Like a diamond, Natalie’s leadership can be characterised with four Cs: competent, calm, courteous, and committed. Natalie consistently delivers exceptional client service using her expertise in a vast spectrum of technologies and Relativity Master qualification. She gracefully balances her successful career with a busy family life and strives to inspire others through her dedication to knowledge sharing and cultivation of a positive working environment.
Cast Your Votes
And make sure you've booked your ticket for Relativity Fest, taking place September 26-28 in Chicago, to see the awards ceremony live and in person! (It's always pretty unforgettable.)