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The Best of Relativity Fest 2022: Our Favorite Commentary

David Horrigan

We have many traditions at Relativity Fest—and one of them comes after Fest. We call it the Best of Fest,” and it’s our annual compilation of great commentary from the people in sessions, restaurants, lobbies, and taxis.

Of course, it is impossible to capture every great moment of Relativity Fest—and this compilation is always a little skewed toward people who happened to cross paths with this author. Thanks to all of the 2,160 attendees who made Relativity Fest 2022 an enjoyable, educational experience with wit and wisdom not captured on this page.

With that, we give you the Best of Fest 2022:

Jonathan Armstrong, partner, Cordery, on the growing maturity of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

“I think babies are a bit boring, and when the GDPR was a baby, it was a bit boring; but now, as a four-year-old, like a four-year-old baby, the GDPR is getting interesting, doing interesting and unpredictable things.”

Chris Brown, Relativity’s chief product officer, on productivity and procurement during our keynote:

“How many of you are asked to do more—and given fewer resources to do it?”

Paula Fearon, Head of Project Services, McCann FitzGerland, with a musical approach to the future of data law enforcement:

“The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is Helen Dixon, and I like to think of her as the Whitney Houston of data protection commissioners because she believes the children are our future and wants to teach them about the data they possess inside.”

Honorable Nora Barry Fischer, Senior U.S. District Judge (W.D. Pa.), agreeing with the Honorable Tanya R. Kennedy on how allowing cameras in the courtroom in the interest of greater transparency of the judicial system could encourage more positive engagement from the public:

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked a jury and gotten to a verdict, to then have a juror come up to me afterward to say: ‘Gee, I did not want to do this, but having done it, I learned so much.’ I even had one gal who called chambers after the fact wanting to know how she could get to do it again.”

Matthew Griffin, vice president and general counsel of Lactalis Heritage Dairy, Lactalis Group, on general counsel refraining from sounding the alarm on every data privacy and data protection incident no matter how minor:

“You don’t want to be Chicken Little. For instance, in Chicago, they have signs warning you of falling ice in the winter. What are you supposed to do? Not walk down the streets?”

Chris Haley, director of legal technology, Troutman Pepper eMerge, accepting the firm’s Relativity Fest Innovation Award for Best Innovation: Enterprise for Troutman Pepper’s eMerge Xtractor:

“Thank you to our clients for having problems.”

Professor William “Bill” Hamilton of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, noting the different colored boxes in his statistics in the law demonstration:

“No politics here, but the blue boxes are the good documents, and the red boxes are the bad documents.”

Honorable Tanya R. Kennedy, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, New York Supreme Court, on the link between education, the courts, and society:

“Civics is often no longer taught in schools, and I think that some of the—can I just say, ‘craziness’—that’s going on is because people do not really understand the role of the judiciary.”

Henry Link, chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel, Meta, on the expanding technology infrastructure:

“Putting more lanes on a road doesn’t make you go faster—it just means more people are driving.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman (S.D. Fla.), discussing the potential dangers of social media to high school students from Corliss STEM High School of Chicago during the Meet the Judges program:

“If you’re going to post on social media, post about puppies.”

Judge Victoria McCloud, Master of the High Court, King’s Bench Division, noticing Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men on the screen, and opining on the source of the leak of the draft US Supreme Court Opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Woman’s Health Org.:

“Perhaps they do know what person did it, but perhaps they think we can’t handle the truth.”

and on the potential paradoxes in criminal matters:

“She was sentenced to 34 years for decapitating someone she met at church.”

Ryan O’Leary, Research Director, IDC, replying to a fact-specific question with choice of law issues:

“I went to law school for three years and studied and passed the bar to give you this answer: It depends.”

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez (W.D. Tex.), dissenting respectfully from his colleagues on The Judicial Panel, and noting a reason cameras in federal courts might not be a good idea:

“It may be a reflection of the type of cases that some of us have, but down along the border, I have a lot of serious drug cases involving cartels, and witnesses would be hesitant to testify in a case if they knew the cameras were trained on them.”

 

Rod Ponton, an attorney appearing in a Zoom proceeding before the Texas 394th Judicial Court, when a feline filter was applied inadvertently over his image, as seen at the 2022 Relativity Fest Judicial Panel:

“I am not a cat.”

Professor Tanya Thomas of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, and a speaker in the Fest session, Making a Difference in the Law and in Your Career through Service:

“All service matters. It doesn't have to be big or bold—it just has to serve someone who has a need.”

Kelly Twigger, Principal, ESI Attorneys, and CEO, eDiscovery Assistant, on the importance and emphasis placed on the bar exam for attorney admission:

“The bar exam is a crock.”

Stephanie Wilkins, editor-in-chief of Legaltech News, (and a lawyer), on relevant data vis-à-vis the Alex Jones text messages in the Texas litigation:

“Relevancy is not a black and white thing. Lawyers will argue the damndest to make something not relevant even if it is.”

Relativity Fest 2022

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.