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Strength in Numbers: Community's Role in e-Discovery

Keely McKee

The theory has been hypothesized in poetry and proven through science: no man is an island. Not only are social connections as important for humans as food and water, but psychologists have found that social interaction can improve learning as well as effective leadership. It’s only natural that we build relationships and look to others to learn, grow, and solve problems.

Since this is how our brains are wired, community plays a critical role in every part of our lives, including our careers. With constant changes to the law, technology, and the way we conduct business, e-discovery is no exception. As we work toward our common goal to discover the truth, we seek out others to not only resolve disputes, but to learn and find more efficient ways to do our jobs.

To mark the launch of the new Relativity Community site, we asked a few e-discovery pros for their thoughts on the importance of their network.

LLau_headshot_100x100.pngLester Lau, Manager of Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, EY

“Community is how we advance ourselves and empower each other to be better. I’ve been fortunate to interact with brilliant professionals throughout the e-discovery space, and that community has enabled me to keep pace with a changing industry and to be a trusted advisor to clients.”

blog_tips-icon-community.pngCommunity Tip: To follow in Lester’s footsteps, check out the groups area of the Community site to interact with and learn from other e-discovery professionals. Join groups to continue user group conversations, stay up to date on the latest in e-discovery news, and more.

joan-washburn_120x120.pngJoan Washburn, Director of Litigation and e-Discovery Services, Holland & Knight

“To paraphrase Margaret Mead, never doubt that a small group of committed people can affect great change. Most successful people didn't get there alone, but were formed by a community of mentors, peers, and friends. This is no different in e-discovery, an ever-evolving, disruptive, and fast-moving industry. The challenges we face are not necessarily well served by a singular vision. In fact, that vision can become myopic, which is why a strong community, with a diversity of experience and opinion, is so central to success. Whatever your focus in the industry, legal or technical, the knowledge, inspiration, connections, and support that come from active participation in a community are invaluable.”

blog_tips-icon-community.pngCommunity Tip: We agree that connecting and supporting one another is important to be successful. One way to build your knowledge in the Community is to ask questions relating to various topics—whatever’s on your mind—and discuss your thoughts, tips, and experiences with other members. It’s a great way to share experiences and get a new perspective.

cristin-traylor_100x100.pngCristin Traylor, Counsel, McGuire Woods

“We are all in this together—attorneys, paralegals, litigation support personnel, service providers, and judges. I am often amazed at the level of collegiality among this diverse group of professionals. Although everyone has different perspectives, they are open to new ideas since someone else’s brainstorm could improve their own efficiencies and promote cost savings for their clients. By continuing to collaborate, the e-discovery community can devise new and innovative ways to solve problems for everyone.”

blog_tips-icon-community.pngCommunity Tip: The Community is not only a great place for Relativity users and e-discovery professionals to share ideas with each other, it’s also a venue for you to share ideas for how we can improve Relativity. In the ideas section, you can browse ideas from other users, vote for the ones you want to see implemented, and submit new ideas.

sandra-gensmer_100x100.pngSandy Gensmer, Esq., Senior Product Analyst, KrolLDiscovery

“I love being a part of the e-discovery community. We work in a niche industry and it’s great being able to talk to others that have a common understanding about the work we do. As the e-discovery landscape continues to change, it’s essential to be connected to each other to discuss legal and technological advancements, share ideas, and learn from each other!”

blog_tips-icon-community.pngCommunity Tip: As the industry and technology evolves, Community members can make sure they have a common understanding in the Education Center. In addition to monitoring their Relativity trainings and certification exams, Community members can track Relativity Continuing Education (RCE) credits.

barbara-bennett_100x100.pngBarbara Bennett, Litigation Support Manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

“Relativity’s community of users is an invaluable resource. I rely on feedback from rich and varied backgrounds to help me identify best practices and provide a level of validation to my business partners.”

blog_tips-icon-community.pngCommunity Tip: To get opinions and thoughts from professionals with a variety of backgrounds, have events and news updates sent directly to your inbox by customizing your Community digest settings. You can discuss the latest news with Community members and find events in your area to chat with other e-discovery professionals in person.

jed-garfunkel_100x100.pngJed Garfunkel, e-Discovery Project Manager at a law firm

“The Relativity community encourages progress by providing a network of support and by helping to standardize the user experience in the complex and ever evolving e-discovery industry. Participation in the community and dependence on the cumulative knowledge and experience of its participants has helped me to find answers and solutions that otherwise would have cost endless hours to achieve on my own. When the industry works together to solve problems, innovate, and build on earlier achievements, as facilitated by the community, real progress can be made. As the Beatles said, I get by with a little help from my friends.”

It’s clear that Relativity users and e-discovery practitioners are invested in the community—and many consider it essential in a constantly evolving industry. In a Blue Hill Research report, David Houlihan noted that the law firms he profiled believe Relativity’s “large and engaged user base expanded options to seek advice from the user community.”

With such knowledgeable and enthusiastic users, it’s about time the community had an online venue to host and enable these conversations. As the industry continues to grow, the new Relativity Community site—which offers resources for both members and non-members looking to learn more about the software and its user community—aims to nurture these interactions and connect the expanding network. This is a place where diverse experiences and ideas from all corners of e-discovery can come together to grow and strengthen the community.

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