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The Best of Relativity Fest 2018: Our Favorite Quotes from the Conference

David Horrigan

Relativity Fest 2018 is in the books. We crossed a milestone this year, surpassing 2,000 attendees from across the globe. From Australia to Ireland, Relativity Fest has become one of the most important annual events on the e-discovery calendar.

Many Relativity Fest traditions continued this year: exciting keynotes, the annual Judicial Panel, extensive hands-on opportunities to take Relativity for a test drive, and the social excursion to a famous Chicago tourist attraction.

Another tradition is our annual compilation of memorable moments on The Relativity Blog. Although it’s impossible for us to capture every great moment at Relativity Fest, here’s a small sampling of some of the moments that made Relativity Fest 2018 special.

Doug Austin, Vice President, CloudNine

on the recent attention to ephemeral apps in e-discovery: 

“We’ve had ephemeral communication for decades—it’s called a phone call.”

Barbara Bennett, Senior Manager, Litigation Support, FCA US LLC

on some of the product announcements at Relativity Fest:

“I absolutely love the new ‘entities’ feature that was revealed at Fest, along with the ability to combine multi-channel conversations ... can't wait to get my hands on those features!”

Greg Buckles, Co-Founder and Principal Analyst, eDJ Group

on the challenges of compliance under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and of defensible deletion in general:

“Data stores are not designed for deletion of data—systems are designed as electronic mousetraps, and it’s hard to find a system that lets you truly wipe everything. There are copies and copies of copies of corporate data everywhere on their networks.”

Jon Chan, Director of Technical Services, Anexsys

on buzzwords and their necessity:

“‘Innovate’ is such an overused word—yet the pressure to do it is still there.”

Jannie Chang, Data Scientist, Heretik

on the evolution of the legal profession:

“As platforms like Relativity move beyond litigation use cases, ‘lit support professionals’ will become ‘data professionals.’ And we’ll find there’s a massive shortage of talent.”

Chris Dale, Founder, eDisclosure Information Project

on optimism in the face of change:

“People forget that Richard Susskind’s book, The End of Lawyers?, has a question mark.”

Kenya Dixon, Assistant Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, U.S. Federal Trade Commission

on overproducing to the government in e-discovery:

“Data dumps are a really bad idea—you don’t want the government finding things it wasn’t looking for.”

Hon. Nora Barry Fischer, U.S. District Judge (W.D. Pa.), who was appointed to the bench by a Republican president

showing that—even in 2018—federal judges can still be impartial and apolitical:

“One of the reasons I selected Carpenter v. United States for discussion on the Judicial Panel was that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said it was the best case of the Supreme Court’s term.”

Gail Gottehrer, Partner, Akerman LLP

on data from autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT):

“The evidence you need is not in the standard places.”

Tracy Greer, Senior Litigation Counsel, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

on over-retention of data:

“Packrats in the government are a problem, and packrats in your world are a problem, too.”

Karyn Harty, Partner, McCann FitzGerald

on the fear of European data protection authorities:

“Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has actually been very helpful and pragmatic.”

Karl Hennessee, Senior Vice President, Litigation, Investigations & Regulatory Affairs, Airbus

on the EU General Data Protection Regulation:

“The GDPR is not anti-business; there’s a lot of money to be made by protecting people’s individual rights.”

Hon. Tanya Kennedy, Justice, New York State Supreme Court, New York County

citing SEC v. Adams on diversity in the courts:

“Justice is a search for truth. That search will fail if a court does not incorporate a wide array of experiences, facts, and perspectives into its decision-making process.”

David Kilgore, Corporate Counsel, Rackspace

comparing the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) with the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Indentifier Law:  

“About the only thing they have in common is that they both have the word ‘biometric’ in the name.”

Johnny Lee, Principal and National Practice Leader, Forensic Technology Services, Grant Thornton LLP

on the positive effects of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

“There’s nothing like compulsion to change the culture.”

And on why good relationships with regulators are important:

Crossing a regulator is like living with an angry in-law.”

Mary Mack, Executive Director, Association of Certified e-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS)

on their lessons for Relativity Fest attendees:

“Networking is an important career skill for legal technology professionals, so ACEDS did a Relativity Fest panel on networking tips for introverts with industry luminaries Barb Bennett, David Greetham, Judge Peck, and George Socha—and then we had a happy hour where people could use their new skills.”

Ed McAndrew, Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP

on investigation in the IoT:

“‘Near-perfect surveillance’ is the term the Supreme Court is using to describe IoT data. We have to change our mindset on how we investigate facts, and we have to admit the fallibility of human beings as witnesses.”

Joy Murao, Founder and CEO, Practice Aligned Resources, and Relativity Innovation Award Winner

on being your own advocate:

“Being in the right place at the right time isn’t about luck. It’s about strategy.”

Cory Nugent, Information Technology Specialist, New York State Office of the Attorney General

on technology-assisted review (TAR) protocols:

“A lot of people approach us with their TAR protocols, but they have to be combed over very carefully because there can be a lot of weird stuff in them.  The protocols can actually make the results worse.”

Hon. Andrew Peck, Senior Counsel, DLA Piper, and Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge

on the difficulty in avoiding legalese in legal writing:

“It’s most important in jury instructions—you want the jury to understand what the law is. The thing pushing against that is that certain jury instructions have been approved by the circuit courts, and you don’t want to get reversed on something as silly as rewriting a jury instruction. On the other hand, the legal gobbledygook in it is not necessarily friendly to the average juror.”

Wendy Collins Perdue, Dean, University of Richmond School of Law, and President, Association of American Law Schools (AALS)

on the challenge of socio-economic diversity in law school students:

“Fifty percent of students surveyed who were interested in a law degree had at least one parent with an advanced degree—only 20 percent had parents without higher education.”

John Pletz, Senior Technology and Venture Capital Reporter, Crain’s Chicago Business

on crisis communications:

“Boeing did this well during a crisis—their response in one example was “Hang on, were looking into this.” Sometimes it’s smart to wait until you have all the information before you respond.”

Debbie Reynolds, Director and Data Privacy Officer, EimerStahl Discovery Solutions, LLC

on the ironies of U.S. data privacy laws:

“In the United States, your Social Security number has more privacy protection than you do.”

Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, U.S. District Judge (W.D. Tex.)

on data privacy and the limits of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter v. United States:

“The government can get a complete cell phone dump from the tower—all its contents. If we’re worried about government intrusion, why aren’t we worried about a complete dump?”

James Sandman, President, Legal Services Corporation

with a symptom of the access to justice problem:

“In the United States, there is less money spent on civil legal aid than the amount of money spent on Halloween costumes … for our pets.

Andrew Sieja, Founder and CEO, Relativity

on the future of this space:

“Our industry is going through some significant change, and we’re just the toolmakers. Given the tools, this community will do some amazing things.”

Kelly Twigger, Principal at ESI Attorneys, Columnist at Above the Law, and Relativity Innovation Awards Judge

on the business of being human:

“To make cooperation work in e-discovery, stop being lawyers and start being humans.”

Follow Along with Relativity Fest All Year Long

David Horrigan is Relativity’s discovery counsel and legal education director. An attorney, award-winning journalist, law school guest lecturer, and former e-discovery industry analyst, 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. The author and co-author of law review articles as well as the annual Data Discovery Legal Year in Review, David is a frequent contributor to Legaltech News, and he was First Runner-Up for Best Legal Analysis in the LexBlog Excellence Awards. His articles have appeared also in The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The New York Law Journal, Texas Lawyer, The Washington Examiner, and others, and he has been cited by media, including American Public Media’s Marketplace, TechRepublic, and The Wall Street Journal. David serves on the Global Advisory Board of ACEDS, the Planning Committee of the University of Florida E-Discovery Conference, and the Resource Board of the National Association of Women Judges. David is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, and he is an IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional/US.