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Recognize Our Community & Get Voting for the 2021 Individual Innovation Awards

Mary Rechtoris

Every year in early fall, our industry comes together to share best practices, forge new connections, and celebrate individuals making an impact at Relativity Fest. Recognizing these individuals is at the crux of our Innovation Awards, which takes place on day three of our event.

Our persona Innovation Awards are in their fourth year, and this year’s finalists continue to raise the bar in what constitutes excellence in legal tech. Whether championing new technology or elevating the next generation of future leaders, all these individuals go beyond their job descriptions to positively influence our industry.

This recognition is meaningful for finalists; as 2018 Stellar Women finalist Judy Torres said, “The aftermath of congratulatory messages and recognition is an example of the great support we have for each other in the world of e-discovery.”

We’re excited to present 2021’s finalists across our persona categories. Please join us in congratulating all the nominees who are striving to improve our industry and build our community.

Attorney Tech Evangelist

A technology champion who moves an organization forward with an innovative approach combining legal, technical, and human strategies to improve the legal process.

Alicia Hawley, Discovery Counsel, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

In 2020, Alicia built Taft Discovery from the ground up due to the increasing need for law firms to have end-to-end e-discovery practices. In her ongoing quest for technology’s wide-sweeping acceptance by the courts, Alicia argued for and won the use of technology-assisted review (TAR) and Relativity’s active learning workflow in Livingston v. City of Chicago, leading her to be a frequent presenter on TAR and industry innovation. Alicia routinely teams up with other departments and firms to find creative solutions to both unique and routine problems and to answer the transformative question, “What else is possible?” At Taft, Alicia cross-collaborated with several departments to develop and take to market a first-of-its-kind, patent-pending LIBOR remediation solution.

Eoghan Kenny, Head of Data Projects, A&L Goodbody

Since joining his firm four years ago, Eoghan has built an e-discovery team of 29 professionals who have delivered over 70 productions in 18 months since onboarding RelativityOne. Eoghan has spoken at Relativity Fest on the need to push the boundaries in the industry, and some recent successes of Eoghan and his team include:

  • Convincing Ireland’s largest regulator to allow their client to use active learning in an investigation, which allowed A&L to meet a statutory deadline on time and saved their client $2 million.
  • Working with his firm’s environmental team to design, build, and launch a custom application in Relativity to manage all stakeholder comments on all environmental reports for Ireland’s first subway system project.

Scott Milner, Partner, eData Practice, Deputy Practice Group Leader, Morgan Lewis & Bockius

With almost two decades of e-discovery experience, Scott is co-leader and one of the original attorneys in Morgan Lewis’ eData practice. Scott has continued to push the innovation envelope, leading a team who developed an artificial intelligence-based identification tool that automated the identification and extraction of various types of personally identifiable information (PII). His custom application, LATHOS, won the National Law Journal’s “Legal Technology Trailblazer” award. Embracing Morgan Lewis’s commitment to giving back and supporting social justice issues, for a pro bono matter Scott led a team who developed a workflow aggregating disparate data sourcesincluding hard copy, structured data exports, audio, video, and Office filesto help tell the story. A frequent panelist at Relativity Fest, Scott has participated in Relativity’s Uncivil Procedure podcast and collaborates with the Relativity community on various development initiatives

Corporate Tech Evangelist

A corporate team member who keeps a pulse on emerging trends, finds new ways to use technology, and drives change within the company.

Benjamin DeWitt, Cyber Insider Threat & Technical Investigations, eDiscovery Lead, Capital One

Alongside his team, Benjamin has expanded Capital One’s Relativity use beyond legal to support cases across the enterprise and for the office of corporate investigations, human resources, and multiple cyber investigation teams. Benjamin and his team have collaborated with their litigation and investigative partners to demonstrate Relativity’s functionality and usability, thereby increasing adoption by 60 percent in year one and 80 percent in year two. His team created a quarterly newsletter for their internal Relativity users and leadership featuring Relativity updates, feature highlights, success stories, and use cases, among other topics. Benjamin is dedicated to sharing his knowledge both internally and externally; he has participated in industry groups—including the ILTA Corporate Law Department Peer Group and Microsoft’s client advisory group—and had speaking engagements for the CDS PIIP conference, ILTA Corporate Peer Group, and others.

Laura Kibbe, Assistant General Counsel, IQVIA

Laura has 20 years’ experience using innovative technology and currently leverages artificial intelligence to eliminate the need for human review. Laura is one of the first to use Text IQ on a document review and production, allowing her team to do a 2.3-million-document review without the need for contract attorneys. In addition to working with her colleagues on ways to automate their processes, Laura also speaks and writes on industry trends and participants on industry advisory boards and corporate benchmarking groups. She is continually looking at new technologies and hosts technology vendors two days each month to share their new features with her team.

Siva Palepu, Lead eDiscovery Engineer, University of Southern California

Siva joined USC to implement an e-discovery program and assist the university in responding to legal and regulatory requests in an efficient and cost-effective manner. To stay updated on the latest e-discovery trends, Siva regularly attends webinars and builds his network in the forensics and e-discovery spaces. Because he works at one of the world’s oldest and largest research universities, Siva handles every type of data source available. Along with his team, Siva has implemented a fully automated e-discovery process with very minimal human effort with tools like RelativityOne.

Inclusion Breakthrough 

An individual who is working to create a more equitable industry, organization, and/or local community where everyone feels like they belong.

Christopher Campbell, Senior Counsel – Litigation, Baker Hughes

Chris prioritizes making his professional and personal spaces a reflection of the world. He has mentored at least two students or younger practitioners with diverse backgrounds every year since law school, in addition to serving as an active member of Baker Hughes’s African American employee resource group. He also hosts a podcast, Tales of the Tribunal, which aims to make international dispute resolution more inclusive and connected. He is a member of the board advisors of the Columbia, South Carolina Youth Corps and works to develop the next generation of professionals from the Midlands of South Carolina. For the South Carolina Judicial Department, Chris assisted in the design and made contributions to Black History Month celebrations. Additionally, Chris has worked with the University of South Carolina Black Alumni Association to host programs to call for social justice, as well as leads an effort with former University of South Carolina Black athletes to remove statues and rename buildings that honored racist and dishonored figures from the state’s history.

Jon Chan, Senior Managing Director, FTI Technology

In addition to his leadership role within FTI Technology’s e-Discovery and Investigations practice, Jon serves as a leader in the group’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. His efforts include supporting The Talent Tap, the FTI Technology London office’s charity partner, and running internal and external educational events covering senior female leadership, LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace, neurodiversity awareness, and in-depth race discussions. Jon serves as a mentor to colleagues and external contacts and has helped develop a reverse mentoring scheme that connects junior and senior colleagues to provide support and create safe spaces for the leadership team to truly understand the perception of the business at all levels. As an innovative leader in our field, he believes that diversity and inclusion benefit everyone, including FTI Technology’s clients, and are essential to solving problems and creating new solutions.

Cindu Thomas-George, Founder and Principal Trainer, Shakti Diversity and Equity Training 

As a DEI and anti-racism practitioner, Cindu has worked with law firms and organizations across industries over the last 16 years to create agents of change who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to cultivate inclusive, equitable, interculturally competent, and anti-racist workplace cultures. Cindu is also a tenured professor of communication studies at the College of Lake County (CLC), where she has been heavily involved in DEI initiatives and programming. Cindu co-founded the Diversity and Equity Infusion Project at CLC, a training program committed to developing the inclusion and equity lens of education professionals. She also recently designed a graduate level course for CLC faculty that is dedicated to increasing inclusion and academic achievement for the college’s Black student population. Cindu is a nationally recognized speaker with engagements focused on encouraging cross-racial allyship, disrupting anti-Asian hate, moving beyond color-blindness to color consciousness, and creating inclusion for women of color in the workplace. Cindu is also committed to fostering inclusivity in her own South Indian American community and is a co-founder of Malayalees for Black Lives Matter and Malayalees for Social Justice.

Lit Support All-Star

A power user who not only strives to hone their expertise on what Relativity can do, but looks for ways to push it even further—and brings their team along with them.

Lauren Doucette, Senior Practice Technology & e-Discovery Project Manager, Sheppard Mullin

Lauren is the southwestern regional director for Women in eDiscovery, as well as an active member of her local San Diego ESI Forum. In addition to being on Relativity’s San Diego Steering Committee, Lauren has earned her RCA and Relativity Analytics Specialist certification. In 2020, she testified in support of her firm’s client to compel parties to produce original folder path metadata within production load files as it related to the parties proving trade secret materials were properly secured. The judge overseeing the case ruled in the firm’s client’s favor, citing that he heavily relied upon Lauren’s testimony to make his determination and order.

Deepak Karmakar, Assistant Manager, Deloitte

Deepak is a Relativity Master who earned his master status in September 2020. Deepak stays updated with the latest trends shaping the e-discovery industry by following news from ACEDS, Relativity webinars, the Relativity Community, and Law 360. Deepak endeavors to make an impact by encouraging aspirants to join the legal industry. According to Deepak, he has seen many of them fall in love with legal technology and ready to guide clients on all their e-discovery needs. Deepak’s keys to success include a "never stop trying" attitude, embracing rejections, and sharing knowledge to those who crave it.

Nikolai Pozdniakov, e-Discovery Production Manager, vdiscovery

In addition to his role at vdiscovery, Nikolai is the owner of HashtagLegal, a programming initiative that brings ideas from top minds in litigation support to tools that everyone can use. Nikolai creates video content that covers a range of topics related to e-discovery, such as whether someone should perform targeted data collections to ways to have fun on E-Discovery Day. Nikolai earned his RCA in May 2011 and has innovated on Relativity, building an application that facilitates text message review. This tool allows user to generate text message conversations for production based on the text messages that clients wanted to produce.

Stellar Women

A leader who elevates women in technology: breaks barriers, mentors others, makes learning a priority, and embodies a spirit of paying it forward.

Heena Bhambhlani, Executive Director & Managed Document Review Leader, EY Global Delivery Services

Starting her e-discovery career in 2007, Heena currently runs a department of hundreds of attorneys in India. She has excelled in her role as a female leader passionately working to address gender norms. She has open conversations with her female team members to pursue their dreams, ensuring that colleagues and apprentices have the necessary tools to perform their jobs. Because e-discovery is a niche industry, Heena educates the next generation of legal professionals in India by providing managers and team members personalized, substantive platform training exercises in addition to the core subject matter, including communications with clients and team management. Heena attends law school campuses each year to introduce students to e-discovery, coaches and mentors groups of potential candidates and future leaders in the industry, and hosts workshops amongst the many roles she has held throughout her career.

Rebecca Grant, Executive Director, icourts

Rebecca's dedication to championing others extends to and beyond her icourts team. She fanatically believes in open conversations about what people need for their balanced professional and personal development and devotes her own time to help the team achieve this. She fosters healthy ambition and reflection cycles to help grow her team to their potential and loudly celebrates their successes. She has mentored multiple female icourts leaders to earning their Relativity Masters designation whilst finetuning their own leadership path and opportunities. Outside of icourts, she’s devoted energy as the inaugural ambassador for VICT4W’s Mentoring Program, which offers one-to-one mentorship for women in technology. Rebecca is also dedicated to pro bono work; icourts is working in Relativity’s Justice for Change program to provide pro bono hosting and consulting to the Environmental Defenders Office. Rebecca is currently a member of the New South Wales Law Society Member Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

Kamaka Martin, SVP, Client Services, Legility

Kamaka firmly believes it is imperative to mentor emerging junior leaders and sponsors up-and-coming leaders in the technology field. She created a leadership workshop—Lead the Way, Positively—which provides training for new, seasoned, and aspirational female managers looking to enhance their leadership skills. In addition to being a founding member of Legility’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, Kamaka leads a discussion, Diversity in the Legal Profession: From Rhetoric to Reality, where she focuses on the state of the legal profession and what organizations can do to recruit, retain, and advance diverse talent.

Artwork for this article was created by Sarah Vachlon.

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Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the brand team at Relativity, where she's always collaborating and looking for new ways to develop and socialize stories.